This is part three of a five-part series on Mantra Meditation.
So, are you ready to begin your mantra meditation practice? Great!!!
As mentioned in, What is Meditation, I am very laid back in my approach to meditation and I tend to throw many of the ‘rules’ out the window.
That being said, there are a few ‘rules’ I do abide by as I have found them to be an important part of developing a practice, as well as maintaining a practice.
So, let me share the most important rule of all. Just do it!!! Make some time each day for meditation… no matter what. I know we all get busy and many have young children or demanding careers, and it may feel like you just can’t possibly make the time, but you can… and by making the time, you’ll find that everything else in your life will flow a little easier… making it feel like there’s even more time in your day. Trust me on this… and just do it.
Meditation: Where? When? How often?
Decide on a place you will be sitting for your practice. It’s helpful to have a special place for your practice, a place where you feel comfortable and where you will not be disturbed for twenty minutes or so. If you like, you can personalize your meditation space with pillows, candles, incense, any items you feel would make your space even more special. Use this space for your practice as often as possible. It’s good training for the brain and the body to know that when you enter this space, you’ll be going into a meditation.
It’s also helpful to decide upon a time when you’ll be practicing and try to stick with it as closely as possible.
For beginners, I recommend starting with three – four days a week, 20 minutes at each time. Decide on the three or four days and times that will work best for you and, as closely as possible, stick to your schedule. I know it can be a challenge with children, work, etc… but do what you can to keep as close to your schedule as possible. Consistency is a very important part of your developing practice.
As soon as you feel you have gotten into your flow, increase your days, one at a time, until you are meditating 6-7 days a week, 20 minutes each time. Some people find a great benefit in practicing twice each day, usually in the morning as they start their day and again in the evening as they end their day. If that schedule works for you, fantastic. I find I stay more committed if I stay with my once daily practice and if I’m having a particularly challenging day, I will then find time for a second session. And sometimes when I’m having a most amazing day, I will still throw in a second session… just because it feels so good!
Note: Once you’ve established your practice, you can be more flexible with the place and time, but until your practice is automatic, it’s best to stick with the same place and time as it’s a signal to your mind and body that you will be sitting for meditation practice.
As far as keeping track of your 20 minutes, you’re going to need a timer. This will stop you from having the desire to check the clock and allow you to be there in your meditation. There are some really nice timers made for meditation purposes that will bring you gently out of your meditation with chimes or a gong, or you can just find a pleasant tone on your cell phone to use as your timer alert.
So now, let’s talk about the posture of meditation…
Posture is an important part of the meditation practice for a couple of reasons; one, the correct posture will allow you to sit more comfortably in your meditation, creating a stable base and giving you less chance of being distracted by your body while you’re in meditation; and two, again, it’s good training for the brain and body. Sitting in a certain posture will be a signal to your brain and body that you’ll be going into a meditation.
That being said, I’m not a stickler on posture. While specific postures may be more of a necessity for longer meditations, we’re only sitting for 20 minutes. I have had clients who sit in chairs, lean against walls… you name it… and as long as it’s working for them, I say, do it!
Ah, but there is one posture I tend to say no to… lying down, or even sitting in a bed. There’s just too much chance of getting very relaxed, and then very tired and sleepy, and then the next thing you know your meditation timer is waking you up… so, unless you are one of those who can handle the relaxation of the bed without dozing off, no lying down or meditating in bed.
One more note before getting into the postures: There is a special cushion made for meditation called a Zafu, and if you are sitting in a posture that calls for a cushion, you’ll eventually want to invest in one, but as you are getting started, just pick a cushion or firm pillow from around your house and experiment with them until you find one that feels most comfortable.
The traditional postures for meditation are:
Lotus: This is considered the most perfect position for meditation as it offers the most support, but it’s not a posture for everyone, so go very gently into this one if you decide to do it.
To sit in full lotus, sit with your buttocks on the front third of a cushion, cross one of your feet over the opposite thigh and the other over it’s opposite.
Half Lotus: Not quite as supportive as full lotus, but still offering great support.
To sit in half lotus, sit with your buttocks on the front third of a cushion, cross one foot over the opposite thigh and pull the other foot in beneath the opposite thigh. Both knees should touch the floor and your spine should be straight.
* If you sit full lotus or half lotus, make sure to alternate your footing every other time (If you crossed the right leg first one day, cross the left leg first the following day).
Burmese: This is a perfect position for beginners or for those less flexible. To sit in Burmese, place both calves and feet on the floor, one in front of the other. (Burmese is very comfy)
Chair: Yes, it’s totally fine to meditate in a chair. To do so, sit so that your buttocks are just slightly higher than your knees, which tilts your pelvis forward and helps keep your back straight.
Again, posture is important, but it’s more important that you are consistent in your meditation practice, and if an uncomfortable posture is going to give you cause to become inconsistent, by all means, find a more comfortable posture that works for you.
You now have some basic information on getting your meditation practice started. I hope you can see that the most important thing is just doing it! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just pick a time, pick a place, pick a comfortable sitting position…and begin your journey to greater peace, greater understanding, greater abilities to work with the Law of Attraction in creating your Ageless Vibe… and more.
Ready to get started? You can do it right now! Continue on to How to Practice Mantra Meditation.
Still need some convincing? Check out some of the Benefits of Mantra Meditation.
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