Meditation Practice Basics

When to practice

Choose a time that will work for you and your routines. You might be a morning person and prefer to meditate first thing or early on in the day. Or you might be a night owl and practice in the evening or just before going to bed. Or there might be a time in the day that suits you (eg before the children come home from school, or in your lunch break). My experience is that it's best to have a regular time AND also try to go with any change in routine - it's certainly not easy to change habits but it'll feel good to 'seize the moment' to do some practice wherever & whenever! 

How long to practice?

You can start with as little as a minute or two and ideally build up over the weeks to maybe 10, 20, 30, or even 40 minutes. It's what works for you and encourages you to keep going. Better to have a regular short practice than an intermittent longer one. 

Where to practice

It's worth finding a a regular place in the house (or garden, weather allowing) to establish a practice. It doesn't need to be a large space (sometimes cosy is better). Main requirement is somewhere you won't be disturbed.

Meditation position

Again, it's what works for you. An upright chair is good for a sitting posture, keeping the back upright, away from the back of the chair, though many of us need some extra lumber support ( like a small cushion) to encourage our spines into a slight forward lumbar curve. Have your feet resting on the floor (place a block or cushion under them if they're dangling!) and have your arms resting comfortable on your lap or chair arms if present.  You need to be comfortable or the discomfort will soon distract you from the practice. If you have any physical/postural issues then experiment with what works - using cushions etc. for additional support where needed. 

You may wish to lie down for practice and again, choose a comfortable support. This could be on the floor with a mat and blanket and neck support. The bed is allowed! but remember a reclining position in a comfy bed may send a message 'it's time to sleep' to the brain ... and if you need to sleep this is fine .. you just may need to find another time and position to practice!

Standing and walking are good for practice too (just adjust the practice). If you have significant muscular-skeletal pain you may well find these postures/methoids suit you better. Keep experimenting and find what works best for you, remembering this may change over time.

How often to practice 

Daily practice is the best, even for a few minutes a day. If it's less than that, go with that, don't beat yourself up, and set an intention to maybe increase by a day or two the following week. It's about habit formation and this is rarely easy. Once you have begun to feel the benefits of practice, the incentive to practice will increase. Practicing with others, having a meditation buddy or buddies, can be very helpful in establishing and maintaining a regular practice.


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