9 Meditation Tips
- Timing and Regularity: Set aside the same time or times each day for your meditation. It’s easier to meditate on an empty stomach, so try not to set a time just after a meal. Meditate every day at your chosen time, even if it’s only five or ten minutes. If, for at least 30 days, you make a consistent effort never to skip a meditation, a supportive habit will start to form, and it will become easier.
- Exercise first: If you have time, exercise a little before you meditate. Yoga postures are an excellent way to relax the body and mind before meditation. Paramhansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises are also highly recommended.
- Find a place: Set aside a room, or small part of a room, just for meditation. Try to find as quiet a spot as possible; if this is difficult, try using foam earplugs or headphones to block out the noise. Be sure the room is a little on the cool side and not stuffy; a blanket or shawl to wrap up in is nice.
- Sitting: Protect yourself from the downward pull of earth currents by sitting on some natural fiber, like a wool or silk blanket or piece of cloth placed on your meditation chair, bench, or cushion. Sit Erect! Whether you sit on a meditation bench, pillow or on a chair, keep your back straight, chest raised, head erect, eyes closed, and hands resting palms upturned in your lap, preferably at the juncture of the thighs and abdomen. Click here to find out more information on how to sit comfortably for meditation.
- How long: Do not set unrealistic goals for yourself. It is better to meditate 5 – 15 minutes and be very consistent with your practice, and then increase your time as you can. One longer meditation (2 -3 times longer) each week can help to deepen your meditations and also make your normal one seem short. It also helps to meditate with other people, especially with those who have been meditating longer than you. You’ll find that group meditations will often help you to meditate longer than you normally would on your own.
- Begin your meditation: As you sit to meditate, it is very important to make a strong mental resolution to put aside all preoccupations and worries. Say a prayer inwardly or out loud to your higher self in whatever way feels right to you, asking for help and guidance. You may also listen to or play some uplifting music. Then practice the breathing exercises to relax: Inhale, tense the whole body, then throw the breath out and relax (do this 2 or 3 times). Then do some measured breathing: inhale, hold, and exhale, then begin again. Do this 6 – 12 times. Choose a count that is comfortable for you; anywhere from 6-6-6 to 12-12-12 or higher. Afterwards, relax and breathe normally, and become aware of your breath.
- Techniques: Spend the majority of the meditation doing techniques that concentrate and interiorize the mind. Only when you are deeply concentrated and in a state of expanded awareness is it good to drop techniques and simply immerse yourself in the experience.
- Remember to hold the body still: You can mentally check it from time to time to see that no part becomes tense again. Physical tension is a great deterrent to calm and deep meditations. Be very silent and relaxed, yet aware.
- Meditate with joy: Meditation will help you to remember, on ever deepening levels, who you truly are.