The good news when it comes to meditation is that it’s personal to each individual. In other words, you get to decide the how, what, and when of it. Although there are many paths in which a person can begin to cultivate that special relationship with self, depending upon your personality, you alone through practice get to find what works best for you.
Sharon McConnell-Feanny, in this recent Jamaica Gleaner post, discusses some important things to take into consideration when beginning your meditation practice. According to McConnell-Feanny, meditation allows people to drop into their heart center, a practice that ultimately cultivates a sense of stability and appreciation for both the self and the world as a whole. She offers 6 tips suitable for any beginning meditator to help jump start a meditation practice:
1. Always try to meditate at the same time and same place each day. For me, the best time is first thing in the morning before the sun rises and before the demands of the world begin.
2. Create a comfortable sacred space that you can be relaxed in. I like to place a few drops of essential oil like lavender or peppermint in my palms. I rub my hands together to activate the oil and breathe it in. This simply helps to set the tone for my practice.
3. After a few gentle stretches to loosen up your muscles, come to a comfortable, cross-legged, seated position. I like ‘sukasana’ or easy pose: right heal into the groin, left heal in front of right ankle. If your hips are tight, support them by putting a cushion under each thigh. Allow your spine to get tall and your shoulders to relax away from the ears.
4. Now get in touch with your breath. Allow your breath to deepen, flowing in and out of your nose while observing the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe.
5. With each inhale, silently repeat the word ‘let’ and as you exhale, repeat the word ‘go’. The simple mantra of ‘let go’ encourages the mind to let go of judgments etc. You can use any mantra that feels good to you.
6. Try to sit for five minutes, then build up to 10 minutes then 20, if you can.
Read more from McConnell-Feanny on starting your meditation practice here.