A regular meditation practice, even after years of having a yoga practice, isn’t always easy. What is easy though is making excuses – “My knees hurt when I rode my bike today, so I won’t be able to sit on the floor.” “I’m hungry.” “It’s too bright outside.” “I need to call my mom.” “Construction work at this time of day!”
Here are some remedies and meditation hacks to help you get into the practice.
1. Have a Seat
Finding a comfortable position is important! Take a few minutes to rearrange, shift, and find a spot that works for you. You can slide blocks underneath your knees. If you need to, even try using a chair. Once you find a position that’s comfortable for you to maintain, you will have a much better time meditating.
2. Blinded by the Light
If you live in a part of the world where summer daylight hours range from 4 am to 10 pm, it can get quite bright out there. So grab that sleep mask or a comfy shawl and cover your eyes.
Or if you find that keeping your eyes closed is just too difficult, sometimes even giving you a headache, just keep them a slight bit open, thereby relaxing fluttering eyelids.
3. Pencil Me In
If you and your partner, family, work staff share the same calendar, why not make it official? Talk about social accountability, here’s a great way to broadcast that you are going to commit to a meditation practice.
After all, we pencil in doctor’s appointments, dinner with friends, child care. Why not our meditation time? Set a reminder while you’re at it and never forget to take that time for yourself.
Adding this time slot to your iCal or outlook has the extra benefit of scheduling the practice at the same time every day, which will also make it easier to establish a suitable meditation time that fits your daily schedule!
4. Carry a Tune
What if I just can’t stand the sound of silence or I live in a crowded or loud neighborhood? Do not fret! There are so many meditation apps out there!
There’s “Calm”, where you can take your pick of different nature sounds and sceneries. Insight Timer is also handy. It allows you to time your meditation, pick interval sounds to let you know where you are in between, and gentle sounds (I like the singing bowls), to end the meditation.
There’s also Headspace, which has fun graphics and lets you meditate on certain areas of your life, such as relationships or anxiety. Lastly, let’s not forget Spotify, which has a sheer endless bouquet of meditation and Chakra/Healing Music as well as famous Yoginis’, i.e. Tara Stiles’ favorite playlist! If you use your earphones, even better to shut the world out for the time being.
5. Guide Your Way Home
Many times, especially as beginners, we’re just not sure yet what we’re meant to be doing. Or maybe we’ve already taken so many meditation classes, we’re starting to get confused about which ones are right for us that day.
Again, coming back to basics, is the way to go. Find a guided meditation. Check out your app store for countless free apps, visit your favorite yoga blog for inspiration or find podcasts by the spiritual teachers you follow anyway!
6. Repeat After Me
Before you decide a certain technique really isn’t working for you, give it a few days. In many yoga traditions, yogis find that sticking to a ritual for at least 21 days is the way to break ourselves into new habits.
Think about it, the most comfortable pair of jeans didn’t become that by being worn once or twice. No, we wore those things mercilessly, over and over, washing them (or not), driving, traveling, sitting anywhere until they felt like a second skin.
Before they become part of our tradition, we need to practice rituals for a while. If after, let’s say, 21 days you still feel the technique just isn’t doing it for you, find something else. Or, maybe, come back to the good ole’ focusing on the in-and-out breathing for a while.