Find a quite place in your home to meditate. It is best to be away from a room where the TV or computer is being used, since those noises can be distracting. If possible, leave your phone in another room so it does not distract you when a new message or call comes in. See if you can find a room where you can close the door so your family or pets do not walk in and break your meditative state. Some yogis like to use their bedroom for meditation. A large bathroom or closet can work if it’s the only space you can have quiet in. Let your family know in advance that you would like some quiet time so they can (hopefully) avoid disturbing you during your practice.
Find a Comfortable Position
Many people start out by sitting upright on their yoga mat, with their legs crossed. A pillow or folded blanket may provide additional comfort to you in the seated position. If this is not comfortable for you, try sitting with your legs out in front of you, in a chair, or lying down for the practice with your head elevated above your heart. You may hold your fingers together in a Mudra position, or rest them comfortably on your knees or legs. If having your eyes closed does not feel relaxing to you or you worry that will make you fall asleep, you may leave them open. Focus on starting your practice comfortably; you can work on your form down the road.
Taking deep breaths slows the heart rate and relaxes your muscles. Try counting to yourself to three or five as you inhale, and count the same amount as you exhale. Close your mouth and breathe through your nose if you can comfortably do so.
Don’t get Frustrated
Clearing your mind can be difficult for many people to do. To get your mind to focus internally, you may want to start by counting your breath in and out to yourself. If you find your mind making lists, thinking ahead to what’s next, or reflecting on your work day, don’t get mad at yourself. Don’t think “I can’t shut off my mind, I can’t meditate.” Allow yourself to recognize that you are getting off track, and bring your thoughts back to the breath and relax again. If you find you have nodded off to sleep during your practice, take note of it, and try to focus on staying awake, perhaps by shifting to a different position.
Meditate with Others
Finding a friend or group to meditate with can help you stick to your practice. With a friend meditating with you, you might be less likely to cut the practice short or skip a session. Be sure you set ground rules with your friend prior to starting a session such as the time you will practice so you don’t have to talk in the middle about the details.
The third week of the month, The Yoga Connection offers a Mindful Awareness Meditation class. It’s held on the 3rd Wednesday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Smithfield, and the 3rd Monday from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. in Goldsboro. New and experiences meditators are welcome.