How to Build a Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Hey Heifers!  We have had some AAAAHmazing guest bloggers lately here in Heifer-Land.  I am excited to share Meg's article below, on mindfulness during meditation.  Meg is amazing, you can follow her on twitter by clicking HERE

How to Build a Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice

You’ve probably heard about mindfulness meditation and its benefits, like greater mental strength and clarity. Keeping your physical fitness on track is just as much a mental battle. So you know meditating would be good for you, but for whatever reason, maybe you either haven’t tried it or haven’t been able to keep it going. I get it, life is busy. If you can carve out about five minutes a day, though, you can start building a daily practice. 

The following has worked for me and can work for you, too. Try this:

Choose a time and place. Ideally, it will be the same time each day, in a space where you will not be distracted. Many days, I do it in my car before work. This is not the perfect seat (see number 2), but I know I will not be interrupted there. So it does not have to be some magical, mystical space. If you do want to set up a special dedicated space, though, go for it! The point is, find whatever is realistic and works best for you. Set yourself up for success.

Take a seat. Sit cross-legged on the floor, or sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, with your back straight. It should not be rim-rod rigid. Instead, shift your weight down into your tailbone and then lift your spine up out of that grounding. Rest your hands facing down comfortably on your thighs wherever they naturally fall. 

Get settled. Gently close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and audibly sigh it out. Do this a couple more times to bring yourself into the present moment.

Use your breath as a focal point. Breathe in, and follow your breath as it comes in. Breathe out, and follow it as you breathe out. Repeat this for about five minutes. (Set a timer beforehand if you find yourself constantly peeking at the clock.) Don’t worry about trying to control your breathing, just allow it to happen. It might be shallow and tight or deep and relaxed, and that’s all fine. Thoughts will inevitably come up, and that’s OK, too. As soon as you notice your attention has wandered off, gently guide it back to your breath. You may need to do this 58 times in the first minute. No problem, this is the practice. You are training your mind to focus on one point, your breath. When you are done, slowly blink open your eyes open and smile. Thank yourself for taking the time to do this meditation.

Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you didn’t nail it. If you’re a runner, you didn’t run a marathon the first time you hit the road, right? (If you did, PLEASE TELL ME YOUR SECRET!) Just like with running or exercise or any other healthy habit, results take time, and the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Keep coming back to the practice and be consistent. Try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Maybe you increase it to seven minutes, and then ten, fifteen. Before you know it, BOOM. You've got yourself a daily mindfulness meditation practice.

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About Megan Power: Megan first started a yoga and meditation practice about 13 years ago when she was pregnant with her daughter. These days, you can find Megan obsessively tweeting about running (which she started in June 2016) as well as yoga and meditation at @MegP4.

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