When I tell people that I am a yoga and meditation teacher, the most common question I get asked is ‘I really struggle to quiet my mind - how do you start meditating?' Therefore I thought that I would give my 5 tips to start meditating. I work in the corporate environment and I see people everyday that would benefit from meditation.
Meditation to me is quieting the mind or slowly letting your thoughts drift away so that you can actively rest your mind. For many meditation is really difficult, we live in a face paced and energetic world where we need to be ‘on’ all the time. I often find myself telling people that it is okay to take a break, it is okay to put yourself first and you will be much more productive once you give yourself some mental space. I have put together five practical ways to help you start meditating, these are simple techniques for beginners or anyone wanting to explore different ways of meditation.
Five different ways to start meditating:
1. Use a guided meditation, this is really good for beginners and there are heaps of meditations available on Youtube, just search for guided meditation and thousands will come up. Youtube is a great resource and easily available and it has a lot of different types of meditations available, I guarantee you will find one you like. There are also heaps of meditation apps available.
2. Tuning into music is a favourite way to meditate. I use Om music, bells or soft music to create a relaxed environment, where I can sit or lie down and take my attention inwards.
3. A Yoga Nidra is a an excellent relaxation technique and again is readily available on Youtube or apps. I find Yoga Nidra one of the best ways to meditate especially for people that are tired and time poor as a Yoga Nidra is a great way to re-energise yourself. A Yoga Nidra will keep you focused and is a great at meditation to do during the day (early afternoon) as a pick me up.
4. Breath awareness. Just focusing on your breath is really powerful, as humans our breath is our pathway to life and I know that I often forget this. Therefore we need to focus on deep breathing into our diaphragm and belly. When we are stressed we breath only into the upper chest therefore we need to deepen our breath to increase the flow of energy through our bodies. Deep breathing is relaxing and helps with stress and anxiety. Try the 4,7,8 breathing method for deep relaxation (inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale for 8 counts - repeat 10 times).
5. Attend a meditation or yoga class. As obvious as this sounds, there are classes everywhere (including online) that offer different types of yoga and meditation. Look for a beginners class and please don’t be put off because everyone looks really flexible. Yoga is an inside job so just do it to the best of your own ability. This is one of the main reasons why I became a teacher as it is your own individual practice that matters. Many teachers also offer private yoga or meditation classes if you want to get your own teacher.
Remember that meditation is a personal experience and many people find it extremely difficult as there their minds are very active. I have found that meditation is a process and you do get better at it over time. Even if you just sit down, close your eyes and observe your thoughts you are making huge headway. Please don't get frustrated just try it for 5 or 10 minutes to begin with and you can progress in your own time and in your own style.
Theodora Zourkas and Kate Zourkas are the Directors of Zourkas Group and authors of 'Finding Your Inner Resilience'. Theodora and Kate have a passion for creating greatness in others and living from the heart. They are experts in change management, organisation development and strategy, capability development, resilience and personal development.