5 Beginner Tips for Meditation
It isn’t uncommon for people to fall asleep during meditation — especially in that perfect “final resting” position after a yoga class. Put it this way, I’ve even heard people snore during “meditation”. If you’re one of these people, trust me when I say you’re not alone. It’s definitely not an easy feat when you get told to keep your eyes closed, be completely still AND not fall asleep. If you struggle to stay awake, it may be a wise move to start with a guided meditation practice, where the instructor helps direct your thoughts, sets an intention for the meditation and gives you the techniques to calm your mind and body.
To help beginners, we have put together 5 simple steps on how to enter into an effective meditation practice. There is no right, correct or one way to meditate. Here, we are sharing what we have found to effective for US and our students. So, here goes!
Tip #1: - SIT UP, DON’T LIE DOWN :)
Start out in a seated position instead of lying down. It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out but yes, you are far less likely to fall asleep in a seated position than lying on your back! When lying, your body is subconsciously sending signals to your mind that you are ready to sleep. So sit up nice and tall to begin your meditation.
Tip #2 - FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING
Take a few deep breaths to ready your mind and body into meditation. Deep breaths help calm your mind and nervous system. By bringing your awareness to your inhalations and exhalations, what we call “Focused breathing”, it helps you stay focussed and aware of the present moment, in case your mind already starts thinking about what to do after your meditation session!
Tip #3 - PLAY SOFT BACKGROUND MUSIC
Play soft background music. Listening to soft music can soothe the mind and keep you practicing presence. Hearing is one of the five senses that you would want actively participating in your meditation practice to keep you focussed and aware.
Tip #4 - SET AN INTENTION / THEME
Declutter your mind of anything that is distracting your thoughts and set an intention or theme for the meditation. We recommend a method called Lectio Divina. You can read more about this form of meditative practice here. Some people practice meditation by attempting to empty their minds into a state of "nothingness". At Grace x Strength, we believe strongly in the importance of filling our minds with things that are good, righteous and pure (Philippians 4:8).
Tip #5 - START SMALL
Start with a 2-minute session. Yes, who said that it has to be hours to be called meditation. You’ll be surprised how quick 2 minutes will feel if you’re doing all the aforementioned tips. Then gradually add on 2-minute increments and work it up to a 10-minute practice as a daily goal! Let’s be practical here : if you can’t even stay focussed for 2 minutes, forget about 10 in the first go. Only logical, right?
Finally... in our Christian meditative practice, we do not encourage emptying your minds at all. Our approach encourages intentional decluttering of stressful thoughts and filling it up with the Word of God and inviting the Holy Spirit in speak to you. In other words, finding quiet time with the Lord.
Our goal is to allow ourselves to be still and hear from God. It would be really helpful to begin your meditation with a short prayer and ask God to speak to you. Quiet time is a precious time of reflection; time to chew on God’s word, and by chew I mean gnaw on it, taste it and slowly digest it.
If you want some devotional guides for your meditation practice, head over to our devotional page. Happy meditating!