Meditation for Modern Life

Mindfulness skills from a well being expert

Meditation: A Beginner's Guide to Lifelong Transformation

Follow these easy steps to make meditation a daily part of your life.

In this post, I’ll provide you meditation basics to give you a strong and easily accessible foundation for your burgeoning practice.

First off, I recommend designating a regular place to meditate. Decades of practice have taught me that routine is helpful. Our bodies seem to respond to patterns that indicate it’s time to relax, be peaceful, and to meditate. So find a place in your home that is comfortable and calm and declare it your meditation zone. It can be your bed, a couch, a corner, or a chair.

If you live in a house full of human activity, put up a sign that tells others that you’re meditating. You want people to respect your need to be alone, comfortable and have a quiet place. You may find with time that it doesn’t really matter where you meditate because you can drop into the present moment with a pair of headphones and “zone out.” You may learn to tune out the activity around you because once you get into a meditative state it doesn’t matter what’s taking place around you.

The nice thing about creating a meditation routine is that it becomes easier to do with time. So tell your loved ones what you’re doing and I believe they’ll cooperate. Also, sometimes you may need to get up a little earlier or stay up a little later than you’re accustomed in order to meditate, but those few extra minutes each day will be worth any sacrifice you must make.

Next, I suggest yoga or another form of stretching to keep you from getting restless during your meditation. It’s best if you can sit still, quietly and calmly throughout the meditation. At first, it’s okay if you cannot be still for an extended period of time, but try to reach that goal. Stretching will help your body become more relaxed for an extended period of sitting.

Eating can sometimes cause problems if you have a meal prior to meditation. You may notice your stomach gurgling and rumbling as you sit. Although it shouldn’t stop you from meditating, I’d avoid major meals before you meditate. A good routine is to meditate in the mornings before breakfast and then enjoy your morning meal. Then, in the evening, consider waiting until just before bed after allowing dinner to settle in your stomach.

Clothes are another important aspect of meditation. Comfort is part of what makes the practice pleasant. Thus wear clothes that are loose and encourage relaxation, particularly if you’re going to stretch or cross your legs during meditation.

To summarize, find a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. Stretch before you begin. Don’t mediate right after eating and always wear comfortable clothing. Combined, these steps will help you enjoy and look forward to meditation. With that said, as with any new activity, starting off can be challenging. But don’t give up. Stick with it and keep trying. I’ve made many, many adjustments in my practice throughout the years. Having flexibility and adopting new strategies is important. For example, you may enjoy a guided meditation for a few months. And then you may want to try a breath meditation. Experiment with different techniques but stick to them for a while. Follow these tips, and I’m convinced you’ll find your experience with meditation will improve over time. For free meditation resources, visit my website, www.meditationforhealthpodcast.

 

Robert Puff, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been in private practice for over 20 years.

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