Yoga blog

7 Tips for Setting up a Daily Meditation Practice

Set aside a time to meditate

Meditation is great in the morning, although equally it can help people get off to sleep. Personally, I like to meditate in the afternoon to avoid the slump and feel rejuvenated. We’re all busy and we have commitments to family, work, friends etc. etc. so choose a time that works for you and stick with it.

 

Make a place where you feel safe and will be undisturbed

We can’t all build yurts in the garden, but if you have a busy house go into your bedroom and shut the door. Be comfortable. You could use a cushion or stack of blankets to sit on, or lie down on the floor or the bed. Make your own little ritual around getting comfortable, it will trigger your mind to relax and make the meditation easier over time.

 

Ensure that you are comfortable (at least at first)

At first it can feel like your mind and body are fighting against the meditation. As soon as you close your eyes your nose itches or you start thinking about what to cook for dinner. That’s normal, don’t beat yourself up about it. But learning to sit with a moderate amount of discomfort is really valuable. In life we can’t always be comfortable, sometimes our muscles might ache from being used, or our joints might ache from wear and tear. Coping with small amounts of pain and discomfort is part of life. And the same goes for mental pain, we can’t be happy all the time and things will sometimes not go the way we want them to. When you get started with meditation sit or lie down and be comfortable, but then start to challenge yourself – try sitting crossed legged without moving. If you feel an itch don’t immediately scratch it, if there’s some slight noise in the background don’t flick your eyes open. Sit with those feelings telling you to stop and move beyond them.

 

 

Use resources to help you

Well you’ve read this far into the guide so that’s a great start using resources!! And this is really the tip of the iceberg, there are loads of books and websites with advice (please see the resources section of the guide). Different strategies work for different people so hunt around and find what works for you.

 

Connect with others trying to add this into their lifestyle

I’d love to hear how your meditation journey is progressing and for us all to bond and connect, working towards being happier, healthier individuals. So why not join my Facebook group and keep in touch. You can also use the #hollysbreathingspacemeditation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And why not start a little meditation circle with your family or friends?

 

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day

We’re human and we’re busy. Adding meditation to your life shouldn’t be a chore like taking the bins out. If you missed your time one day because any number of things intervened (or even just because that day you really did not feel like you could be present in that moment and it just didn’t happen for you) that’s ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

 

Do come back to it if you miss day

Don’t be hard on yourself, but do come back to it. Building a new habit takes time and effort, but it’s so worthwhile. Get in touch with others to help keep you motivated. Think about why you wanted to start this in the first place. And be thankful for whatever progress and positive change you’ve already seen in your life since starting.

 

Enjoy your meditation journey. If you have any questions or want to share you experiences with me, please do!

Yoga blog

Two Yoga Breathing Techniques (Pranayama) to Calm and Cool the Mind

NB: If Sukhasana (crossed legged position) is uncomfortable, you can sit on a chair, bring the legs out in front of you or make any other adjustments so that you are comfortable

 

  1. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

How to:

Sit in Sukhasana (crossed legged position). Keep the spine long, shoulders back and down. Close the eyes or soften your gaze. To perform Nadi Shodhana bring your left hand to rest on the left knee. Form Vishnu Mudra (pictured below) with your right hand by tucking your little finger under you ring finger and then bringing your middle and first fingers down to the base of your thumb. Then bringing the right hand up to the face use the thumb to close off your right nostril and inhale through the left. Then open the right nostril and close the left. Exhale through the right. Close off the left nostril and inhale through the right. Close off the right nostril and exhale through the left. Inhale through the left, close it off and exhale through the right. Repeat this.

Benefits:

Nadi Shodhana cleanses the body, focuses the mind and energizes the body.

Vishnu Mudra:

Vishnu Mudra

 

  1. Sitkari Breathing

How to:

Sit tall in Sukhasana (crossed legs) with a long spine. Slightly part your lips and have your tongue just behind your teeth. Inhale drawing the breath along your tongue and as you do this lift your chin slightly. Close your mouth. Exhale out through your nose. Try to get the inhale to a count of four and the exhale to a count of eight.

Benefits:

Sitkari is a cooling breath which will reduce body temperature, alleviate stress and can help with insomnia.