If you want health, happiness and a quiet mind, you've probably considered starting a meditation practice. Here are some tips to help you stay on track this year.
1. Don't get intimidated by your busy mind!
The mind is like a TV with all the stations (drama, comedy, tragedy, history, etc), which can make you feel as if you'll never find a still point. It's a practice, so just practice. As with any training, the seeds take time to grow and flourish, they just need active patience and honoring.
2. Remember that you have options; there are different ways to practice so that you can enjoy a fruitful journey.
You can choose to commit to one style for a 21-day period and then switch. You can alternate from day to day, or you can add on a few minutes at the end of your yoga session before savasana.
3. Try mindfulness meditation.
This practice, which emphasizes nonjudgemental awareness, is a wonderful way to meditate because it includes activities like yoga and tai-chi. Or you can do it while you eat or walk. You can also simply clear some silent time at your desk, sit, scan your body for tension, acknowledge the moment as it is, watch a few breaths coming in and going out.
4. Practice concentrating.
Concentration is a practice in and of itself; at the root of meditation is the ability to focus. If you're a multi-tasker, this may be refreshing for you. You can try using a mantra, like the So-Hum or Aum, or you can light a candle and sustain your gaze on the flame
5. Focus on a theme or a question.
This makes contemplation easier. We yogis like the “Who AM I?” question, which encourages you to peel off layers of the self you think you know and get right to your inner core of light. (Yes, the wandering mind will kick in, that's ok…keep on keeping on.)
6. Try heart and love-centered meditations, which focus more on feeling than thinking.
They can help replace sadness and fear by encouraging you to feel the qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity .You can sit for these, or donate your time as a volunteer or go through your closets and give things to someone needy.
7. Experiment with a visualization-based meditation.
These are fun because they use your imagination. You may want to focus on feeling an inner smile in every organ, or envision the breath as healing, relaxing golden light melting your troubles like warm sunshine.
Instead of worrying about not having the time to meditate, act as if peace were portable. Anywhere, at any time, your breath and your attention can be focused, conserved and directed. I am calm in this moment. I am. I am calm in this moment. I am.