Meditation can ease anxiety, promote restful sleep, relieve pain and balance the mind & body. Many of us don't give meditation a try because it seems like it will take too much time or we just can't relax enough to feel like it will be successful. Others have a very committed meditation practice and can meditate for more than an hour in one sitting if desired.
I'm a busy mom of two boys who also works part time and usually has about 10 creative
endeavors going at once. I would LOVE to meditate more but what I can incorporate into my schedule is a few minutes a day and it makes a world of difference in how I feel. My first successful mediation was guided by a meditation teacher and I was able to take home some of the instruction and put it to use. I highly recommend getting a little coaching to begin with like attending a guided meditation, but it's not necessary if you just want to dive in and get going!
Silence your phone, close the blinds and choose a quiet space to avoid disruptions or distractions. Decide if you will be more comfortable sitting up or lying down. Many meditation experts recommend sitting so you don't fall asleep but I prefer laying down. If you do fall asleep then your body obviously needs rest and you should listen to that.
If you have the time, play around with one or two enhancements listed below. Once in a while, I will do them all and consider it my 'spa night' version of my meditation practice.
Apply a relaxing essential oil like lavender, vetiver or a blend from Young Living called stress away to your temples and soles of the feet or simply do a few aromatic inhalations of the essential oil. I prefer Young Living brand for my oils as they have a 'seed to seal' guarantee so the quality of oils are therapeutic grade. If you prefer, you can light an aromatherapy candle instead of applying oils.
I relax to sounds of the rain forest, ocean waves or the flute. Do some research and see what helps you relax, just don't have the volume up too loud. You don't want anything to be distracting but acting as more of a support during your practice.
It helps me meditate when I focus on an image in my mind like a sunset, a beautiful flower garden
or a snow covered mountain. In the beginning of my practice I will hold a photo on my lap and open my eyes to quickly peak at it if my mind wonders. Most times I just choose a color and imagine I'm breathing that color in and out as my focus. For some, just focusing on breathing is all that is needed.
There are many approaches to meditation and several different styles so play around and find what works for you. The simplest approach is to start with bringing focus into your body and becoming more aware of your breathing. We first must connect our mind to our body as most often the mind and body are not connecting optimally. Once you can dial in on this easily you are ready for specialty meditation or advancing your meditation skills.
Begin by taking slow deep breaths in through your mouth and out through your nose.
Place your hands on your belly and feel your belly rise with air.
As you continue to take slow deep rhythmic breathes, take your attention to your feet. Wiggle your toes, sense into what your feet feel like. Are they tingly, sore, cold, hot? By simply 'checking in' on a part of your body you are meditating.
Continue to check in on your breathing, sensing how the slowed, deep breathes may be changing your heart rate, slowing your pulse a bit and blanketing you with a sense of overall calm.
Go through the rest of your body and 'check in' to see how it feels. Often we are so busy we are not connected to how our body is actually doing. Are we dehydrated, tired, overstimulated? The point of meditation is not to 'do anything' but rather to observe.
When you are ready to stop, take a couple more deep breaths and open your eyes. Take a few moments to have a cup of tea or glass of water before going back into the normal day.
Check out this article describing styles of meditation for beginners and this book for teaching meditation to kids. Try out a meditation apps like Head Space and Calm, or take a look around YouTube where you find many free guided meditations. Happy Meditating!