top of page

5 Ways To Make Meditation Feel a Little *Easier

Updated: Dec 12, 2022



I always used to find sitting meditation really uncomfortable (I still do sometimes). Achy lower back, numb feet, trying so to sit in a way I thought I was supposed to be. Let alone feeling frustrated by constant mind chatter and confusion. Hello self judgement, overwhelm, all the life lists, and blah blah blah.


Sound familiar?


Guess what? That's all very normal. You're not doing anything wrong. The mind cannot be forced into 'stillness', and there is no wrong way to position your body. Practicing being with what's there, is the practice too.


After a couple of years of a (fairly) consistent daily meditation practice, and from Meditation Teacher Training delving into Yoga, Buddhist and Taoist wisdom (with teacher Dan Peppiatt www.yogalikewater.com) last July, I've learned a few things along the way. Things I wish I'd known when I was starting out so I'd like to share them with you.


Like any awareness or self reflection practice, it is a personal experience, and process, and YOU are the only one who can do this work for you. But if you are reading this it is likely you are curious...


"By training in being present, we come to know the nature of our mind. So the more you train in being present - being right here - the more you begin to feel like your mind in sharpening up. The mind that can come back to the present is clearer and more refreshed, and it can better weather all the ambiguities, pains and paradoxes of life."

- Pema Chodron. 'How to Meditate. A practical guide to making friends with your mind'. 2013.






5 Useful tips to start or reignite a meditation practice


1. You don't need to force nothingness. Or use meditation to run away from reality. In meditation, when we become still (physically) but awake, we learn to be with what is. With feelings and mind, and we allow space for stillness (mental) to find us. Thoughts will try to be busy, to find perceived ‘problems’ to solve, ruminating on past or future. If your thoughts are very busy, you are not failing in meditation - this is human nature. And it's our attachment to this 'mind' that causes many of our concerns.


With consistent practice, over time, some quieter still spaces might begin to open up, between the chatter, and its the noticing and coming back to stillness, again, and again, and agaaaaaaaiiinnn....this is the training that brings strength to our practice, and our mind-body-brain connections.


2. Find YOUR way to sit. You do not have to sit in any special way. Experiment. Try crossed legs, sitting on a cushion, yoga bolster, kitchen chair, sofa, or bed. Eyes closed or softly open and with a low soft gaze. You could Perhaps laying down, if you can stay awake, or even walking meditation by paying attention to the feeling of the ground under your feet. It will all likely bring a degree of discomfort, to start with, and ongoing, and then from time to time as we get used to sitting in this way.

3. Find your anchor. There are many, many ways to meditate. Focussed attention, open awareness, visualisation, mantra, chanting, and more - no wonder its a mine-field to approach! Concentration Meditation is an accessible way to begin. Using one focus point as an ‘anchor’ we can gently invite the busy monkey mind, that jumps from one thought to another all day long, to slow down and meet awareness back in the present moment. The present moment being the only moment that really exists.


Embodied sensory experience such as breath, sound and sensations bring an immediate sense of now-ness because they happen within us. We feel them. But you could explore focusing using an external object like a candle or Mala Beads for example. Chose one anchor and stick with it for 3 months or so, then try another. with consistency comes familiarity, which is valuable from a 'feeling safe' nervous system perspective.


4. Schedule & start small Find a realistic time in your day that works for YOU - early morning, baby nap time, lunch break, right before bed etc. Diarize it with a calendar reminder, if you work that way, and allow yourself to pause.


Start small, just s you would start running training with a little walk/ jog so as to prevent injury. Start small with 1-5 minutes a day to go gently with the mind too. Find a quiet space just for you (let others in your household know what you are doing if you need to - or support each other and try together) set the timer on your phone, and sit quietly, eyes closed or gently open to the ground and try the short practice below.


Perhaps the following week, your 5 minutes might become 8 minutes, and then 10… BUT when you don’t remember, or miss a session, kindly smile to that, know you are a good human being, doing your best, and try again another day.


5. Expect nothing, there is no fail. Some days the mind chatter will be charging all over the place. Stillness will end up being really wiggly. Then some days quiet spacious micro-moments might begin to open up. Over time, awareness of spaces might expand, as might those quiet spaces, more compassion and patience in day to day experiences...


Meet any experience kindly. Then let it go and get on, without attachment, and get on with your day. There is no pass or fail here (phew).



PRACTICE


Find a comfortable enough place and position to sit.

When you feel ready, take a few intentional breaths to ground yourself, close your eyes if you'd like, or keep you gaze soft.

When you feel ready begin to take your awareness to your anchor. Whether the movement of your breath, sensation in hands or a sound in your space. Invite your self to be with it, and stay.

Any time you notice the mind wonder, gently return to paying attention to your anchor.

Repeat.

And either when your timer goes off, or when you are ready to stop, gently bring yourself back.

A few wiggles, a fuller breath.

And carry on with your day.


LISTEN


As its often easier to begin a practice whilst being guided, here's a 7 minute practice similar to the above, for you to try.




I hope this is by some way useful. Please also do what feels right for you, and talk to your GP about your mental health if you are concerned. The mental health charity www.mind.org.uk offer great support as well.


It is valuable to develop a meditation practise with trusted a teacher, or in a group, for support, guidance and motivation. Please drop me an email hello@yogawithcarolyn.co.uk If you are keen to explore this all with me online, whether a private 121 or with a group.





*Meditation isn’t always easy. That’s kind of the point, in part. Learning to be ok with some discomfort, on and off the cushion (but never push it, and progress slowly, knowing when you dip your toe in, you can remove it any time).








35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page