I can’t tell you how many of my students have told me they’re “not good at meditation.” This may have been the case because they feel that they can’t commit to a “come rain or come shine” practice or because their overscheduled life doesn’t feel conducive to blue sky thoughts.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: no one feels like a meditator when they are beginning.
My background may make you believe that I live life in an inner peace bubble, but I recently found myself on edge. I teach yoga and meditation and freelance write. I live my bliss, yet meditation isn’t designed to blot out emotion. In fact, it can make us more aware of our feelings.
As I gathered my possessions to move countries, my mistake was in ignoring what I knew was best for me. Rather than reverting to my meditation cushion and acknowledging my tumultuous inner landscape, I decided to deal by getting into an argument with my partner (sorry, baby).
The point of this story is simple: even when mindfulness is built into your life, there can be times when you fall away from it.
Photo: Courtney Sunday
You are not alone when you feel like you’re just not good at meditation. Meditation in any size can be beneficial. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can be sometimes. It can be when you remember. And the more you do, the more you will be reminded of how good you feel and how easy meditation can be.
If you are just getting started or getting back on that horse (or cushion) then here are some friendly techniques to make you feel successful from the start:
3 Simple Meditation Techniques for Beginners that You can Try Right Now
Sitting in absolute silence with no guidance is considered to be an advanced technique. Most of us do better with a little structure and this extends to the quiet places.
- You can choose one of the many popular mantras or groove with a classic “Om
.” + It can be out loud if you are feeling feisty or in your head if you are feeling introspective.
The key is to give it time. In the first few minutes you may be flooded with insecurities or thoughts. Then you may forget your mantra. Then all of the sudden, for a brief moment, you will come to the space in between repetition of the mantra and repetition of thoughts. It is a beautiful thing.
Even if you just repeat the mantra, mantra can help you to pull away from your grocery list and into a more relaxed space.
You know how you feel when you are on a beach vacation? When your toes are surrounded by sand and you can’t remember what your fingers feel like when they are texting? This is the idea behind visualization.
Whether it is a real experience that you have had (lucky you) or an imaginary journey to inside your screen-saver, visualizing an idyllic place can bring you down a notch, away from the person who is always doing and never being.
3. Guided meditations.
You are more likely to eat better when your coworker is bringing salads to work.
You also may be more likely to integrate meditation into your life when there is someone walking you through the meditation, even if that someone is a disembodied voice.
Download a variety of Guided Meditation sessions and stick with the one that makes your shoulders drop down your back.
You can download a free Guided Meditation mp3 right here: https://www.guidedmind.com/free-guided-meditation-mp3
Begin with 10 minutes a day. On the days it just doesn’t happen, you are not a failure. You are human. You will get back to it as your emotions escalate and you feel jagged at the edges. Those reactions can be seen as life’s gentle reminder that you can return to your meditation cushion and get some perspective.
Namaste (which is also a great mantra, by the way!).
Courtney Sunday meditates, does yoga and dreams in recipes. She likes to earn stamps on her passport and feels a long hot bath will always take the edge off. Courtney is leading two upcoming yoga teacher trainings that are more intimate and specialized in order to have her graduates feel confident in their knowledge but also uniquely themselves. One will be on weekends in Toronto and another will be intensive in Italy (in early 2016). For more details, or just out of curiosity, see www.courtneysunday.com.