It’s a common misconception that meditation can only be done in one way, and in one specific type of place. You might think that in order to meditate properly you need to be in complete solitude or total silence or somewhere in the natural world. The truth is, there is no proper or superior way to meditate, and although some environments may be more calm-inducing than others, the most important aspect of meditation is to practice it regularly so that you become more and more familiar with your calm center and increasingly able to access it easily and deeply.
There’s no need to feel intimidated out of meditating by preoccupations about the setting in which you do it, and there’s no need to procrastinate on your practice because, as I’ve said many times, all you need to commit to is 10 minutes per day. That’s all it takes!
That’s a period of time that virtually everyone can carve out of their daily schedule; time that will bring you great rewards in your emotional, intellectual, and biological wellbeing.
What’s my best advice on meditation? Just do it. The ‘where’ and ‘how’ matter much less than the regularly of your practice, and you don’t need to be in an ashram to make it happen.
Having a packed schedule is no reason to deny yourself the opportunity to meditate. When I’ve got a very busy day, I like to meditate just after waking up to center myself before starting work, or just before going to bed to wind down and release tension. Alternatively, you can build in ten minutes for yourself to meditate during the workday. You could try meditating in a quiet place during your lunch break, in a calm spot outdoors, or even at your desk. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, and breathe deeply with a soft belly. If you are preparing for a meeting or performance of some kind, visualize yourself succeeding and allow your body to feel the sensations of your success.
Naturally, when there are people and things going on around you, it can be more difficult to quiet your mind. For these situations, I recommend planning ahead by downloading a guided meditation on your smart phone. Guided meditations remove you from the noise in your surrounding environment, and provide calming and useful reminders to focus on the breath and on letting go of troubling thoughts. Guided mediations address various themes, and are helpful if you desire support in a specific area of life. For example, the YogaLean Love Your Body meditation would be perfect for anyone looking to embrace her physical self more fully, and it runs under ten minutes!
If you don’t have a guided meditation with you, I recommend using an affirmation in your meditation, especially for beginners who may find it inviting to focus their energy on a positive statement.
Here is a list of ten powerful and concise affirmations to use in meditation. These are excellent for kickstarting your meditation practice. Try a new one each day for your first ten days:
Ten-Minute Affirmation Meditation:
Day One: I am ready for positive change.
Day Two: Today I am strong.
Day Three: I am peaceful, calm, and relaxed.
Day Four: Today is a new day.
Day Five: I feel good.
Day Six: I have the power.
Day Seven: I am shifting.
It’s important to remember that meditation is a practice. If you feel distracted or fidgety the first couple of times you try it, respect those feelings, forgive them, and simply return to your practice the next day. Remember, there is no “perfect” meditation. This is an opportunity to honor yourself exactly as you are in the present moment.
As you are starting out, remember these helpful tips and tricks:
- Use earplugs.
- Don’t expect a clear mind at first.
- Breathe your way into it.
- Be patient.
- Honor your thoughts—all of them.
- Set an alarm.
Incorporating a brief meditation practice into your daily life will transform you. With a commitment of such little time, you will begin immediately to enjoy improved energy, sleep, tranquility and focus. With a little preparation and guidance, you really can meditate any time and anywhere– in the office, at a café, in the gym, even on the subway! If your friends or coworkers find your meditation practice unusual, educate them, and invite them to join you!
For more inspiration on different ways to meditate, uplifting affirmations, and more fitness and nutrition ideas to supplement your practice, download the YogaLean smartphone app!