10 Steps to Mindfully Meditate
1. Create time and space. Choose a regular time each day to practice meditation, ideally in a quiet place free from distraction.
2. Set a timer. Start with just 5 minutes and ease your way up to 15-20+ minutes.
3. Find a comfortable sitting position on the floor, grass or chair with our feet flat on the ground.
4. Check your posture. Sit up straight, hands in a comfortable position. Keep your neck long, chin slight downward, tongue resting on the roof of your mouth. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes or gaze downward 5-10 feet in front of you.
5. Take deep breaths. Deep breathing helps settle and calm the body and establish your presence in the space.
6. Direct your attention to your breath. Focus on a part of the body where the breath feels prominent. The nostrils, back of the throat, or the diaphragm. Try to stay focused on this one area. You can also choose a mantra to focus on – a word or phrase that you silently repeat to yourself. Your mantra could be words like “Peace” “love” or “I am”.
7. Maintain attention to your breath. As you inhale and exhale, focus on the breath. If your attention wonders off, return to the breath. Let go of your thoughts, feelings or distractions. Let your thoughts float by like clouds passing by in the sky. Notice, with no need to attach, stress, worry. Just return your awareness back to your breath.
8. Repeat steps 6-7 for the duration of your meditation session. The mind will wonder. This is 100% natural. Simply acknowledge this and return your awareness back to your breath.
9. Be kind to yourself. Don’t get frustrated of your focus drifts or if you fall asleep. If you are feeling tired, meditate with the eyes open and readjust your posture to sit more upright, but still relaxed.
10. Prepare for a soft awakening. When the timer goes off, keep your eyes close until you are ready to open them. Be thankful. Acknowledge your practice with gratitude. Honor progress > perfection.
11. Guided meditations such as those provided on an app called the Insight Timer can be extremely helpful for starting out.
12. Be realistic with your goals. Perhaps you start with 2 minutes a day and slowly increase your time meditating each week.
13. Remember that progress > perfection :)