In the previous article I shared my journey into meditation, the benefits I received and the science behind those benefits. If you would also like to have shifts and improvements in your life through meditation, this is the place to get you started. When incorporating any new routine in daily living, it is essential to have the proper tools and support.
Below are common questions asked when beginning meditation and resources that are user friendly, free, cheap and easy (because we wouldn’t do it otherwise). This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of meditation resources and I hope you enjoy these tools in the path to your meditation practice.
These are some of my favorite resources for meditation:
Apps: This method is fantastic because it’s free, it is easily accessible via your smart phone or tablet and you can incorporate meditation into your own schedule and terms. This is a tool I use it every day. Insight timer and headspace are my favorites.
Insight timer– This is my preferred app. What I love about this app are the options for your meditation practice. You can choose a timer for a silent meditation, which is when no one is talking you through the meditation. Insight timer also has guided meditations. A guided meditation is when someone verbally walks you through a meditation (I have included one of my guided meditations at the end of this article to kick start your practice). I like to use these guided meditations when I need a bit more support to get me in the meditation mindset. This is a great place to begin when you are starting your meditation practice. You may even find that the time goes by quickly!
HeadSpace– This is another great app for those beginning meditation. This app provides a bit more structure and guidance to your meditation by starting you with a 10 day series. It provides 10 different meditations that build upon one another and each meditation is 10 minutes long. The goal is to meditate for 10 consecutive days, although not required. This is great if you need accountability since headspace will even email you reminders to meditate.
Oprah and Deepak’s 21 day meditation experience– Oprah and Deepak Chopra (spiritual guru) offer 21 day meditation experiences for FREE! These are offered periodically thoughout the year and each has it’s own theme. The next experience begins March 21, 2016 and the theme is “Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body and Spirit”. A new meditation is released each day, which you can access through their app. Each day begins with inspirational words from Oprah, then the daily focus and mantra given by Deepak. It is then followed with a 10-minute silent meditation. This experience is also fantastic for those who like having accountability, structure and a bit of guidance. I find these 21-day meditations to be very inspiring! After I did the experience for 21 consecutive days, it was very easy to continue a daily practice on my own.
Classes: If you are like me and enjoy education, taking a meditation class is a great way to begin meditation. Having an experienced guide whom you can ask questions in order to gain a deeper understanding of meditation is an excellent way to begin.
Meditation groups: The family room is a community to support and educate families, which offers group meditation classes with childcare on Mondays from 10:00-10:45. Stapleton meditation group is organized on Facebook and has weekly meditation on Tuesdays from 8-9pm. The location rotates with members hosting the group in their homes and the style of meditation varies based on whom is leading the group. Request to join the group on the Facebook page for event details.
Now that you have an array of tools to choose from, let’s answer some common questions asked about meditation in order for you to feel fully supported to begin your practice.
What time of day is best to meditate? The best time to meditate is when you have 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. As a parent of a toddler I understand that can be a tall order. Morning, afternoon, evening, before bed, nap time, lunchtime. break time, it’s all-good! Play around with the time of day to see what fits best in your schedule. The goal is to find a time when you can meditate consistently.
Do I need a special room or space to meditate? NO! You can meditate anywhere you will not be bothered for ten minutes and is relatively quiet. I meditate in my unfinished basement on cement floors with the sound of Niagara Falls rushing over my head each time the toilet flushes. You do not need to be perched on a mountaintop or in the ideal meditation room. Any space can work as a meditation space in your home, office or even car.
How should I sit for a meditation? You may sit in a manner that is comfortable for you and I would avoid lying down. If you lie down, you are more susceptible to fall asleep. You may sit on the floor, on a pillow, on a chair, on your couch. You may sit with your legs crossed or your feet on the floor. The idea is to be comfortable so you are not distracted while meditating with discomforts in your body.
Once I am sitting in my quiet space, then what? This is the moment to use the tools I have offered in this article. You can use an app for a guided meditation or a timer you can set for a silent meditation. You can use my guided meditation link at the end o this article. If you have taken a class or joined a meditation group, practice the tools learned in those spaces.
How do I focus my mind when I have lots of thoughts? It is completely natural for your mind to think, because that is the job of the mind. To give you an example, I recently was speaking with a friend about meditation and he was sharing a meditation experience a few weeks ago. He said, “It only took me 25 years to focus my mind free of thought for 1 hour”. Beginner or master, you will have thoughts during meditation and the goal is to not engage with those thoughts. A visual I like share is to image the thoughts are like clouds. You can acknowledge the clouds/thoughts are there and let the clouds/thoughts drift past. Don’t engage with your thoughts, don’t judge them and don’t run off with the story. Just allow them to float on by.
I have included my 12 minute guided meditation below that is on an audio file for you to listen to while you meditate. I will walk you through the entire process in order for you to feel comfortable and supported on your new meditation journey. Enjoy the tools, resources and many benefits for your new meditation practice!