Friday, February 18, 2011

Tips for meditation from a one time skeptic

In our crazed day to day lives, we rarely, if ever take the time to stop and listen.  A New Years goal of mine was to establish a regular mediation practice.  I've always been terrible at mediating and in the past have felt like I can't stop the chatter in my head, so why try?  I started my new challenge by making myself sit still for a measly 4 min.  That may not sound like a lot, but try it and see what happens. 

Over the course of the last 2 months, I've worked myself up to 12 min during the week and 20 min on the weekends.  I've also gotten to the point where my day seems completely off balance and frantic if I don't do my morning meditation.  A daily practice is something that everyone can benefit from.  If you are sitting there telling me that you don't have time for it, you need it more than most. 

Here are a few tips that have worked for me (a previous skeptic).  Try it for a week.  Your life won't be the same, I promise. 

  • Set up a "mediation" station.  I climb the ladder to my sleeping loft and sit on the floor on a pillow.  The sun streams in on my face and I can hear the water bubbling from the fish tank below.  I'm hoping to add some greenery to the space soon!  
  •  Mom always said don't slouch.  If your body is slouching, so is your mind so sit up with a straight back.  I like to imagine that my head is a balloon floating up towards the sky.  (I'm a creative movement teacher.  I'm good at imagery.)
  • "The eyes are the window to the soul."  This window likes to stay closed.  I found that closing my eyes and gazing slightly down toward my nose seems to work best for concentration
  • Don't forget to breath!  I focus on my inhale and exhale to center myself.  When my mind starts to think about my busy day and endless to-do list, I bring it back to the breath.  Try thinking of the inhale as a wind clearing out all the dust (aka mind chatter) from the body.  The exhale then carries it all away and leaves you with a shiny new interior!  
  • Stick with it.  You're going to get frustrated.  That's normal.  Set a timer (I downloaded the zen timer lite" for my phone) and force yourself to sit there for the allotted amount of time.  Trust me on this one.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


  1. Fab Joanie, i went on a buddhist retreat and the teacher also suggested to think of a bright white light on the inhale and thick black smoke leaving the body on the exhale....I find this really helpful!

  2. Great advice Kate. I would love to do a retreat sometime! I'm going to try this out.