The good news is, if you’re looking to start a meditation practice, you’ll have plenty of information to help you begin your journey. The biggest challenge comes in sorting through all the options and opinions to find those meditation gems that resonate with you. That said, a good cheat sheet can be helpful along the way.
Here are five steps to maximizing your meditation practice:
Step 1: Eat light!
Many a meditator has eaten a full meal prior to meditating, only to be sitting cross legged on the floor with a grumbling stomach. Seasoned meditators recommend that if you are hungry to eat a light and simple meal approximately an hour before meditating. While food is meant to nourish our bodies, if it gets in the way of body positioning and breathing, your meditation practice will suffer.
Step 2: What are your legs doing?
While some may argue this, meditation is a time to relax. Regardless of your opinion on that point, we can all agree that it should not be physically painful. The important thing in choosing a sitting position (whether seated or kneeling) is to consider a position that will allow you to stay seated for an extended period of time. By choosing a comfortable sitting position, you further free your awareness to focus elsewhere.
Step 3: Sit up straight!
Whether sitting cross legged or kneeling, it is vital that you keep your back as straight as possible during meditation. In doing so you not only maximize you lung capacity, but work with the natural curvature of your spine to keep your body’s energy moving properly. If using a chair when meditating, use the same suggestion.
Step 4: Hand position
Where you place your hands isn’t as important as the previous three steps. That said, resting your hands in a position that is both comfortable and which promotes the free movement of energy is vital. In prayer position, resting on the floor, or gently resting on your knees are three examples.
Step 5: Eyes closed!
The purpose of keeping you eyes closed is plain and simple: to help you minimize distractions. By keeping the eyes shut, you not only help direct your awareness toward your internal environment, but you heighten your awareness of your surroundings.
Finally, remember that meditation is a sometimes gentle, yet always loving process of guiding the mind towards a greater awareness of itself. Use these tips and create your own with the purpose of helping to establish a loving and compassionate relationship with yourself.