So you’ve been practicing for a while and think you’ve got this whole meditation thing pretty much sorted.
You dedicate some time each day to it and go through the motions you’ve been taught, but is there anything you can be doing better?
It may be as simple as readjusting your posture or how you end your session, says the experts. Read on for some meditation tips to help you master the art of meditation and make your next session your best one yet.
Understand the difference between meditation and mindfulness
Not all meditations are created equal, and if you want to develop mindfulness in daily life, you should start with mindfulness meditation. “Mindfulness is the act of bringing your full attention to the present moment and whatever is occurring in it,” MNDFL Meditation studio CEO Ellie Burrows explained to Amodrn. “It’s one of many kinds of meditation but there are also types of meditation that involve contemplation and visualization.” Read more about the difference, here.
Ditch your alarm
This can be hard for many many meditators—especially if you’re new to the practice, however the Vedic tradition prescribes that it’s best to use a passive timer. This essentially means using a stopwatch or watch without an alarm to bring your meditation to an end. Then you should give yourself two minutes of rest once the meditation ends.
Remind yourself of the 3 C’s
There are three C’s you should remind yourself of when practicing meditation: commitment, consistency, cumulative. Burrows explains it as: “Committing to a style and practicing consistently allowed me to experience firsthand the cumulative effects of meditation in my own life.”
Everyone—like you—finds it tough when they first start meditating. Your mind won’t instantly quiet, and that’s normal, if at times frustrating. However Burrows says simply be aware of times when your mind wanders, then bring yourself back to the breath or mantra.
“Like going to the gym or learning to play an instrument, you can’t lose 10 pounds or play Mozart after a single session. In the beginning, I felt a little bit like an infant learning how to walk,” she said. “Now that I’m committed, consistent, and deeply connected to my practice, it’s very easy to practice in public places with high potential for distraction, like subways, planes, cafes, or parks.”
Readjust your posture
Different meditation practices recommend different postures. Some require you to sit upright with any support, however that’s not possible for many of us. As a basic rule, are you using back support but keeping your head and neck free? Great, you’re doing well.
Simplify your practice
Here’s a short and sweet practice tip from MNDFL co-founder Lodro Rinzler: “Feel the weight of your body on the earth. Lift up gently through your spine. Relax the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back. Close your eyes or rest your gaze around three feet ahead of you on the ground. Connect fully with the natural cycle of your breath.
When you drift off into thought, simply acknowledge that by gently and silently saying, ‘thinking’ to yourself. Then return your attention to your breath, allowing it to anchor you in the present moment.” Meditation doesn’t have to be a complicated series of steps or take place in a silent room, on a cushion, with a fancy crystal—so don’t feel afraid to simplify your practice.
Lose the judgement
We all have egos that can get in the way of a deeper practice, but don’t pressure yourself to be the best meditator on the planet.
“The mind is designed to psyche us out on a daily basis (see: negativity bias). One of the tricks to meditating, is not beating yourself up if you skip a day, forget your mantra (in some traditions that’s a good sign) or stray from the breath (it’s a practice),” Burrows told us.
One of the Tibetan words for meditation is “gom” which means “to become familiar with.” Meditation helps us become familiar with all of who we are, so it’s wise to be gentle and soft while you’re getting to know yourself through your practice.
Fancy some further reading on meditation?
This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Meditate
Busy Week? This 12-Minute Guided Meditation Will Help Keep You Zen