Since the age of 17 I struggled with depression and anxiety. It all really came together a few months ago when I acknowledged I wanted to change for good, finding it hard to function like a normal human on a day to day basis. About 1 year ago I started practicing yoga and meditation, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started to really take it seriously. I found that meditating contributed to a positive mental health state for myself. Paired along with some other things (like eating majority a plant based vegan diet), I really found a difference within myself.
I’ve been trying to practice yoga and meditation at least 5 days a week, and I hope to practice 7 days after a few more life changes coming up soon. I wanted to share my tips for anyone hoping to better themselves by meditating.
I guess to kick it off, I wanted to share why I feel the need to meditate. Previously mentioned, I found it contributes to a positive mental state for myself. This is because it makes me a more present and self aware human. I am by far not a meditating guru, in fact, more thoughts run through my head in the 10 – 15 minutes I meditate then the majority of my day. But, the self reflection in this time and the acknowledgment of these thoughts allows me to let them run through my mind and let them go in passing. By doing this, my thoughts start to fade and I start listening and focusing on the present time (which, after all, is current life). In all, it has allowed me to create happiness for myself.
There a many forms of meditation, but really at the end of the day everyone is different. We all practice for different reasons, and you will find what works for you.
5 Tips to Start Meditating For Beginners
1) Practice Yoga:
Practicing yoga synchronises your mind and body which will help with meditation. Yoga to me, is also a form of meditation as it allows me to focus on my breath and body without getting caught in my head.
My favourite YouTube yoga teachers are:
Yoga With Adriene
Patrick & Carling
Yoga With Kassandra
2) Set a 10 minutes timer on your phone:
The amount of time you meditate is up to you. You can start with 5 minutes and slowly increase overtime. I like to set a timer on my phone for 10-15 minutes. This helps me stay present without worrying about the amount of time I have been meditating. Over time, I aim to not use a timer. Everyone can sit and meditate. Just breathe, shut your eyes and go with the flow (and make sure your phone is on silent!!).
3) Use Meditation and Teachings Podcasts:
Podcasts have been a massive help for me for years. I listen to a few different podcats on iTunes pretty much daily. These have taught me a lot about mindfulness and they are a good place to start. Search for these guys in your Podcast App on your phone, or check them out online.
My favourites are:
Audio Dharma- Guided meditations and Buddha teachings
The Mindful Kind- Tips for mindfulness, depression and anxiety
The One You Feed- Tips for mindfulness, depression and anxiety
Kiravell’s Vibrational Science Podcast – Spiritual Enlightening teachings
4) Pick a time of Day:
Find a time to meditate that works for you. You may like to do it first thing when you wake up or maybe you’d like to do it at night time before bed. Try to make a routine of the time you do it, but if you can’t do it at that time everyday, that is okay too. As I live with others, I choose to do meditate mainly at night time when everyone has gone to bed. Which kicks off my next point…
5) Find a Peaceful Environment:
Make sure the environment you are in is peaceful, comfortable and quiet. Generally, I sit up with a straight back to ensure proper breathing and so I don’t fall asleep. But this is your time, so if you want to lay down that is okay too. I also like to dim the lights, light some candles and wear comfortable clothing.
Over all, meditate because you want to. Whatever will happen will happen, and be proud of yourself for taking time out of your day to better yourself.
ZEN – “It is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver’s will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second best will run as well as the first one does, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones… In your very imperfections you will find the basis for your firm, way-seeking mind. Those who can sit perfectly physically usually take more time to obtain the true way of Zen, the actual feeling of Zen, the marrow of Zen. But those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will find more meaning in it. So I think that sometimes the best horse may be the worst horse, and the worst horse can be the best one.” – Shunryu Suzuki