Quick & Easy Meditation Tips
This post is all about making meditation easy. Meditation is hyped up to be this complex thing that requires hours upon hours of practice, thousands of guided recordings, and dozens of apps, when in reality, meditation is simple enough for anyone to do on their own.
I’ve worked with kids as young as 2 years old who can manage to sit for a couple of moments and meditate without stressing over *how* they are meditating. And you may think, “Yeah, it’s way easier for a kid, they have less to be worried about!”. If that’s where your mind goes, then it’s especially good you’re here ;)
Below are some quick and easy meditation tips to get you more comfortable in your meditation practice.
DROP YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS
First things first - your mindset. It’s really, really important for you to drop whatever you think meditation is and how to do it. People get in their heads about the “right” way to meditate even before ever trying it. So much so that they avoid meditation altogether. And that’s no good! If you can breathe, you can meditate. Allow it to be that simple. There is truly no right or wrong if you just sit and breathe.
FIND A COMFORTABLE SEAT
This is important, because if you’re uncomfortable you’re going to be distracted by the discomfort. We want to limit your distractions. So make sure you’re comfortably seated - in whatever position that means for you. Don’t do what you think you “should” do.
If you have stiff hips, please don’t try to do lotus...or even half lotus. I had a teacher who said everyone he knows who practiced in lotus pose (with their feet crisscrossed on their mid-thighs) now has knee problems, and most have had knee surgery! Let’s avoid that if it feels like a struggle. Instead, sit in a chair with your feet on the ground or criss-cross applesauce. Meditation isn’t about how you sit. It’s about giving yourself the space to focus on the present moment.
COUNT YOUR BREATH
Most mindfulness meditations have you focus on your breath and how your body moves during the breath. This is a great cue for many people, but personally, when I was a beginner, it made me breathe funny and yawn a lot. I tended to alter my breath because of it.
A great alternative is to count! Counting can be a little more engaging than watching your breath and make it easier to stick to a natural breath. This practice of counting your breath is a basic Zen practice too, so it has some legitimate history behind it (not just my opinion).
HOW TO COUNT DURING MEDITATION
You’re always going to count up to 10, then start over. Do this until your session has finished.
There are a couple of ways to count.
- The first is to count odd numbers on the in-breath, and even numbers on the out-breath.
Example: 1 (in), 2 (out), 3 (in), 4 (out), and so on, until you get up to 10. Then start over.
- The second option is to have 1 count for each full breath (in and out).
Example: 1 (in-out), 2 (in-out), 3 (in-out), until you reach 10. Then start over.
If you get distracted while counting, simply go back to 1 and start again.
This brings me to the final tip...don’t leave without reading it!
LABEL YOUR THOUGHTS
One of the most important things to remember about meditation is that your mind will wander and it’s no big deal.
Literally every single person’s mind wanders when meditating. It happens to everyone. And it happens a lot. Like, dozens-of-times-in-a-single-practice-a-lot.
So eventually, when you catch that mind of yours wandering, just label the thought. At the moment you recognized you’ve stopped focusing on ocounting your breath, in your head, label your thought as “thinking” (or “planning”, “imagining”, “remembering”), then bring your focus back to counting.
Meditating is simply a whole lot of catching your mind wandering and bringing your attention back to whatever you were focusing on (count, breath, mantra, etc). The best meditators are good at catching their thoughts.
Meditation is as complicated or as simple as you make it. There’s no reason shortcut to becoming a “better” meditator. Put in the practice. Don’t over-complicate it. And you will see the benefits of a regular practice in your life.