Even just the thought of starting a meditation practice can be intimidating; How? Where? Why? What’s the point? It can be difficult getting used to relaxing, being unstimulated by external sources, and being “unproductive” during this time of social distancing however a meditation practice can be one of the most stimulating, productive parts of your day. When we sit down to meditate, we are taking time to clean out and polish the inside of our vessel (our body). We clear through the congestion that is caused by the thinking mind, bringing us into a more balanced and even internal energy. Through doing this, we can start to know ourselves and our truth (aka our soul) on a much deeper level. When we get to know our truth in this way, we are able to gain access to the engine that drives our life.
The purpose of meditation is to heal inner wounds, find a more centred energy, but also to cultivate a deep understanding of our truth and essence. When we meditate, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to wake up, to stop living in an unconscious state where our conditioning is the motivation behind our behaviours, words, thoughts, and actions. Through meditation, we can begin to live fully, balanced and empowered by our truth.
Step 1. Find a guide/teacher
The best way to start a meditation practice is to find a teacher or a guided meditation to lead you through the process. Guided meditations will help you stay focused and provide you with tools and techniques to carry out a meditation practice for an extended period of time. When it comes to guided meditations, there are tons of content available in the form of online videos, apps, and books. Explore with different guides and styles and work with what resonates with you. It might take a few tries until you find this, but don’t stop until you do. There is a guide/style for everyone.
Step 2. Create your space
The second step? Create your meditation space. This can start off by just having a comfy seat to sit on such as a cushion or blanket (I have always used a Mod Cushion and Zabuton sit set). It is very important that you are as comfortable as possible when you meditate as it is very difficult to meditate in an uncomfortable body. Make sure this is a space that is generally quiet and feels safe for you. Create a calming ambience with candles, incense or essential oils, crystals, pictures of spiritual figures or loved ones, and anything else that inspires you.
Step 3. Establish a schedule
Create a “loose” meditation schedule for yourself. You will hear most people say that you have to meditate first thing in the morning. While I personally find I benefit from this as it helps to set the stage for my day, there is no need to put this pressure on yourself when first starting out. Pick a length of time that you can commit to without worrying about having a strict meditation schedule. Plan for at least 20 minutes each day. While this sounds like a lot, it does take a while for one to calm the body and mind before you can comfortably enter a meditation. Start with 20 and allow your meditations to naturally increase over time. Eventually, play around with meditating at different times of the day to see how it affects you throughout your day. Start to understand what brings you the most benefit, then commit to a time. Remember, every day is different than the next so falling off schedule is normal. The key thing is to get your practice in each day.
Step 4. Explore and learn different techniques.
Prathyahara (withdrawing of senses, focusing inward), Pranayama (breath work), mantra repetition, Japa (using mala beads) are just a few meditation techniques one can try. Play with all the different techniques that are out there and explore how they benefit you and your inner energy. You will eventually build a toolbox of techniques with different purposes that you will learn to use depending on the day and your energetic state. A great book to learning and exploring techniques is Meditation for the Love ofIt by Sally Kempton.
Just like life, your meditation practice will be different each day. At one end of the spectrum, some days you might have psychedelic, out of body experiences, and others you may sit down, close your eyes, and fall asleep. We need to be ok with this and know whatever happens during our meditation practice is supposed to happen. There is no end goal here, no finish line; you will find the benefits of your practice slowly seeping into your daily life. Our practice should be a time to retreat, to go within, and reconnect. To come back to what matters, the heart and truth of life. Rid yourself of all expectations before you practice, and allow it to unfold as it may.
Amanda Vitaro is a meditation guide, vinyasa teacher, and reiki healer who is dedicated to guiding others to live the most beautiful, fulfilling life possible. Through movement and meditation she guides students into the innermost workings of themselves to connect deeply, and heal. After completing two pilgrimages in India, Amanda brings to her sessions ancient mysticism and wisdom, and combines it with the modern practical world. You can find her on Instagram @amandavitaro
*Please note that Halfmoon content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician.