6 Steps to Optimize Your Meditation
If you have ever tried to meditate, you might have said that, that it is not so easy. You are not alone. Meditation is not so easy and requires precision, skill and practice.
The practice of Mindfulness and meditation comes with a lot of practice, apart from just learning the skills to calm down and focus. Meditation is life-transforming and requires that you train yourself with precision, concentration and practice. With pure intentions and a sincere effort, you become connected with your inner most being, you self. The more you are engaged in practice and life itself, the more refined your mind becomes.
Meditation itself is not only a practice on your seat; but a lifestyle lived off the seat as well. For many people wanting to learn to meditate or wanting to deepen their already established practice, practicing a few lifestyle habits will optimize your practice.
1. Live in Balance
When you commit to mindfulness and meditation, it is imperative that you create your lifestyle to support the practice. Meditation is a skill requiring balance, so it is necessary for you as a practitioner to live a balanced life. The balance that you create in your life will be reflected in your practice, as it will be more stable and comfortable over time. We live in a world of absolute uncertainty, so more than ever a balanced mind is hard to find. When you show up for your daily practice , it is imperative that you have physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance. If there is balance, then the atmosphere becomes centered and still and you look forward to your practice.
2. Prepare Yourself
The best way to get the most out of your practice is to prepare before actually sitting for meditation. Preparation requires that you establish a routine. For example, wash your face and/or shower, clean your teeth and do a few stretches. Create a routine to prepare the body to be comfortable and still during your meditation time.
How do you decide what to prepare? The purpose is to still the mind. One of the biggest deterrents is sitting. When you get uncomfortable, your mind becomes uncomfortable. So it is best to have a few stretches and a sequenced movement routine to strengthen and stabilize the body. Yoga postures have been designed for this. A well rounded sequence includes: standing poses, twists, inversions, forward-bending poses, backward bending postures, and of course, tadasana—the standing tree pose. Also, consider your experience level and build accordingly. You can find a routine in a yoga class or you can find the sun salutation in my book, Feeling-Good-Matters. This has worked well for many.
3. Be Precise and Pay Attention to Details
The best way to establish a solid practice is to have a precise and systematic routine that you follow each day and pay attention to the details of that. For example, we teach 5 steps in our Master Class and these steps explain that it is important to have a systematic routine that you follow to bring the mind inward. Here is an example, when you establish your sitting posture for meditation, you need to have your head neck and truck aligned, making sure that your hips are higher than your knees, whether you are on the floor or a chair. The chin can be slightly down, in order to maintain a long neck. This paves the way for the mind to go inward. The next step we teach is to bring your attention to your breath. Breath is the key anchor for the mind at this point, as I will mention in a minute. The next step is to relax the body from the head to the toes and the toes to the head and proceed to refining your breath further. This is followed by focusing your attention. The 5 step sequence is designed to bring the mind from outside to inside.
4. Incorporate the Science of Breath
Breath is the most important aspect of any mindfulness and meditation practice because it regulates the nervous system. By bringing conscious awareness to the breath, we activate an internal, deep-level change and bring balance to the body and mind. A conscious breathing practice, otherwise known as Pranayama, should be the key part of your preparatory practice that’s establishes a meditative container- your body. This will ultimately help you improve concentration, build focus, and enhance your health. Keep in mind that the foundation practice for meditation is diaphragmatic breathing. This is a key skill for anyone learning to meditate.
5. Commit Fully To Your Own Practice And Create Positive Intention
Self-practice is something that distinguishes a good practice from a great one. To hold the space for your mind, is important for you to do the inner work. Committing fully to your own practice encourages you to continuously grow in your life. Set your intention to practice and to create positive intention globally. As you connect internally and believe in yourself fully, your practice will contribute to the collective consciousness of the world. You will be a force of positive change.
6. Always Keep Your Inquiry Alive; Study And Continue Learning.
Life never stops teaching us, on and off the mat. As a seeker, don’t stop being a student, regardless of how experienced you’ve become. To bring excitement to your practice and to be more innovative with your life, continue your education, whether it be through workshops, retreats, or trainings. I must also include online courses; but please note, engaging with humans is optimal. Online courses can be supplemental. When we offer live events we try to make online study sessions available as a support to the live event. This is important.
Those that practice mindfulness and meditation have the ability to be the guiding light for others by introducing them to self-love, self-awareness and the mind-body connection. Follow these tips and your practice will serve to lift you up and transform your life.
As I always say, “Do Your Research and see what works for you”.
Podcast link: https://susantaylor.org/podcast/086-6-steps-to-optimize-your-meditation/https://susantaylor.org/podcast/086-6-steps-to-optimize-your-meditation/