Vedic meditation teacher Kimberley Chan changed her life with meditation. She runs us through some beginner tips to start you on your journey to a calmer mind.
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” -Buddha
Many of us agree that having a regular meditation practice is incredibly beneficial, particularly with the fast-paced, connected lives we lead today. However, while people often start a meditation practice with good intentions and plenty of enthusiasm, only a few remain committed in the long run.
There are many reasons why people fall off the meditation bandwagon. Although it’s actually quite easy as a skill, like anything else, meditation requires time and effort in the beginning to set up a strong foundation to establish a healthy, ongoing practice.
Here are a few tips to get your meditation practice started and to keep you motivated and on track to developing a regular practice.
The best way to start a meditation practice is simply to start meditating. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect spot, just start.
Find a quiet place where you can sit for a few minutes without being disturbed. Close your eyes, and connect to your breath. Start noticing the inflow and outflow of your breath. Observe how your chest rises and falls with each breath. Let yourself breathe naturally. As your mind and body starts to relax, notice how effortless the breath is.
When you find yourself distracted on thoughts (and you will, we all do), simply come back to the breath and you will find the thought will slip away.
Start with a 5-minute session. Then work your way up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes and eventually 20 minutes.
One size doesn’t fit all
Much like exercise, there are many types of meditation techniques out there. Be open to trying different styles and different teachers. Each technique has its benefits and you won’t discover what these are and how different techniques suit you until you try.
I teach Vedic meditation which utilises a mantra (which is a sound or vibration) to help move the mind from the busy, active, thought-filled states to the subtler, quieter and deeper states, where inner peace and silence is experienced. Many who have struggled to quieten their minds with other techniques find that Vedic meditation does it for them, without requiring any effort, force or concentration.
Do it first thing in the morning
There is no better way to start the day than with meditation. It sets you up for the day ahead. Set a reminder for every morning when you wake up and get it done first thing in the morning.
Lotus position not required
Don’t get caught up with how it should look. There is no one way to meditate.
Find a comfortable chair or couch that supports your back. You may choose to sit cross-legged on the floor (as I tend to do). Remember at the start, you’re only there for 5 minutes. Later once you build up your meditation session, you can look at ways of optimising your comfort level, but at the beginning, it doesn’t matter as much. The main thing is to have your back supported and feel comfortable enough to sit for a while.
Check in with how you’re feeling
When you first sit down, give yourself a few moments to check in with yourself. How does your body feel? Tired? Energised? Anxious?
Accept whatever comes up for you in each session as being completely ok. Let it go, and let it flow. However you feel during meditation is what needs to happen.
When viewed this way, we start to see our thoughts or bodily sensations or feelings that come up during meditation as part of the process of meditation as oppose to having a good or bad meditation session.
There is no good or bad meditation. There is no perfect way to meditate. The fact that you sit down to meditate is enough.
Google, community papers, yoga studios and your local library are all good places to find meditation classes. There are also plenty of great meditation and mindfulness apps you can download to help you get started, but nothing beats having one-on-one personalised learning with a qualified meditation teacher.
If you’re serious about learning meditation and using meditation as a tool to take your life to the next level, you can enquire about learning with me in Sydney at kimberleychanmeditation.com.au.
Kimberley is a Vedic meditation teacher who lived a former life as a high-flying corporate lawyer – about as far removed from meditation as could be imagined! After experiencing severe burnout, she spent a year dabbling in different meditation styles after no traditional medicine seemed to help her. Finally, she discovered Vedic meditation, a practice which uses a mantra to calm the mind.
Fast-forward to 2017, and Kimberley has found Vedic meditation so effective that she completed teacher training in 2015 and now has her own practice and studio in Sydney’s leafy Balmain, Kimberley Chan Meditation.