By: Dana Jean Costantino
The idea of starting a daily meditation practice often sends many into a state of “Oh I can’t do that, my mind if far too busy.” However, that is even more reason to get started. See the thing is, meditation is not about perfection but about finding moments in each day, where you can come back to your center and take a moment for you, which then makes you better when approaching everyone else and every task that is laid out before you. It seems that in today’s world we have oh so many distractions and media outlets that pull on our attention strings. We are constantly looking at multiple screens all the while losing site of what is right before us and what is within us. It is a great time to get back to basics, to get back to you, to start to find the calm within, that often gets lost in a hectic day.
The great thing about meditation is that you need very little to get started in the practice. You need you and a place to sit or lay. When beginning meditation, it is often said that sitting up straight in a chair while having your feet firmly planted on the ground and the palms of your hands face up on your knees is the best approach. This is a great position for many and I do encourage it as a great place to start. For some with back problems or other ailments, laying in Savasana (on your back with legs spread slightly apart and palms up towards the sky) is a better fit and the other option is cross legged on the floor with your hands at heart center or placed on your knees, palms up towards the sky.
The reason for the palms up is so that we can open ourselves up to the universe. To take a moment to “Open – Up” and allow the energy to flow in, to unblock ourselves. We also want to close our eyes. This allows us to look within and to be free of distractions that may be occurring around us.
The other misconception with meditation is that if we cannot free our minds of all thoughts for a long period right away then we have failed. Just throw that idea out the window! When beginning a meditation practice, especially if you have never tried it before, start small. Starting with one or two minutes will not only set you up for success but will also make you feel better. It sounds like such a short amount of time, but you will find that you so rarely take a full two minutes without distraction to just be with you that your mind and heart end up in a much better place. Start at two minutes and practice each night adding in one minute more. By the conclusion of the week you will achieve an eight – minute meditation. From that point you can continue with an eight – minute practice or begin to work your way up to thirty and beyond. If you have an aromatherapy diffuser it is a good idea to have that on in the background while you meditate or to place some calming Lavender essential oil on your palms and temples before beginning your practice.
Attending meditation groups and workshops is also a highly beneficial thing to do. The group element often makes people feel less intimidated and much like working out at the gym, if we feel we have people who are there to keep us on track, we are likely to find that our path to success may come easier, however that is a personal choice, but I encourage you to try it alone in your home as well as by finding a local group. If you practice Yoga already, chances are your Yoga teacher can make a great recommendation for you.
With any new adventure, half the battle is getting started. Remember that the joy is in the journey and if you have made the decision to get started, you are already doing something positive for yourself. I wish you the best of luck!