Meditation Myths and Tips
Meditation Myths and Tips
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about meditation lately so I thought I would tell you what works for me. I want to be clear that if you try one of my suggestions at least 3 times and it still isn’t working for you, then drop it and move on. Whatever works for me ultimately may not work for you.
I meditate daily. Yes, I’ve missed a day here and there but I personally don’t think that matters as long as you begin again. Some days I have a blissful, uninterrupted and quiet meditation for 30 minutes. Other days, I close my eyes and breathe deeply for 2 minutes and it might be in my car between meetings. The game changer for me to be able to meditate for longer periods of time were dropping my expectations. I used to think that it had to look a certain way, a perfectly quiet and comfortable atmosphere with zero interruptions. Most of my meditations include my dogs licking me in the face because they want attention. All I need to do is to tell them to “go lay down” and then begin again. I also assumed that I was supposed to have no thoughts at all. Your mind is meant to have thoughts. Meditation is a practice of noticing your thoughts and letting them go. It took some practice for me to be able to do this and to find a comfortable seat.
Try different postures and chairs to find a comfortable seat. I know that for me that if my hips aren’t higher than my knees then my feet always fall asleep. I like my legs extended out straight in front of me or crossed. You can try kneeling and you can add a pillow or cushion under your butt so that your hips are higher than your knees. You can sit in a chair with a back or against a wall so that you can lean against something. You can also lay down. I have chronic back pain and lay down in meditation fairly frequently. If you try meditating several times and find that you can’t stop focusing on how uncomfortable you are, then it’s time to try a different posture.
Normally when stress is dominating my life, I will do a walking meditation. I get outside and breathe in the fresh air. If I’m doing a walking meditation, I either focus on the sounds around me, the wind through the trees, leaves or snow crunching underneath my feet, or birds singing. I may also choose to focus on being intentional about putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be sitting quietly to meditate; there is meditation in movement.
Sometimes when I’m short on time or feel like multi-tasking, I will hold a long, passive stretch while meditating. I sit at a desk more than I would like so sometimes I will lay in frog pose, supported fish on a yoga wheel (or blocks), or legs up the wall with an actual wall. I then set a timer and focus on my breath. This is how my meditation normally looks and it’s my preferred method.
If I’m having a hard time getting out of my head, I will start with some sort of pranayama or breath work. My preferred pranayama methods are alternate nostril breathing and three chamber breath. You can find lots of YouTube tutorials on both of these methods. I’ve also heard good things about the Calm and Headspace apps if you prefer guided meditations. I haven’t personally tried any apps because I prefer quiet.
I think it’s important to start small. Set a timer for 2 minutes and try that length for a week. If that goes well, try 5 minutes the next week. Then maybe 10, 15, 20, 30, etc. I normally like to go full force at something and I did try to sit for 20 minutes when I first started meditating. I was explaining how frustrated I was with how it felt like a tortured eternity to one of my friends and she told me to back off and start small and it was exactly what I needed to hear.
Meditation is the practice of doing nothing. It’s easy to do but just as easy not to do. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t be afraid to reach out if you have questions.
My name is Anna VanAgtmael, and I am a certified yoga instructor with a passion for yoga, travel, and connecting with others.
I believe in trying everything once. My values lie in collecting memories over things. Though we desire adventure and authentic experiences, naturally our fear holds us back.
My ambition is to inspire and encourage you to unmask your fears and jump into the unknown.
Anna VanAgtmael | Yoga Enthusiast | Travel Designer