The most important habit I’ve formed in the last 10 years of forming habits is meditation. Hands down, number one. But it’s not been easy especially for a Type A personality like me.
Simply put it was hard spending time alone with a clutter in my head. Whilst meditation apps helped me get started, I knew I was still at the surface level. I don’t know exactly when it changed but with consistent practice, I started observing when I was driving my thoughts vs being driven by them.
First Step Is To Prepare The Mind
The thing that helped me most other than consistency, was my introduction to Vedanta, one of the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies. Vedanta affirms that meditation is the final gateway to Self-realisation, not the first. The first step is to prepare the mind. And this changed my whole approach. I started actively observing my thoughts during the day in order to prepare it for my practise. Because without preparation, meditation becomes difficult. It’s not easy and I don’t get it 100% of time but I can feel real progress. Read on to learn what helped me most in my journey.
Starting Your Meditation Practice:
- Start with practicing gratitude. Do this not just at the start of your practise but during the day too. Because our brain can’t be anxious when it’s busy being grateful. Human beings have a negativity bias & we get very fixated on threats, overlooking the goodness. So it needs to be an intentional practice to celebrate goodness.
- Don’t worry about clearing the mind. Lots of people think meditation is about clearing your mind, or stopping all thoughts. It’s not. If you have thoughts, that’s normal. We all do. Instead, just try to practice focusing your attention in the present moment when your mind wanders. Slowly your mind will start getting trained to stay in the present.
- Try a guided meditation. If you are new to meditation, you may benefit from a guided session. There are many apps like Insight Timer, Headspace and Calm that offer a variety of free meditation sessions.
- Start small and work your way up. I started with just three minutes! It might sound super short, but for beginners, sitting in awareness for a few minutes feels like forever. As many experts suggest, the quality of your meditation is more important than the length.
Building Your Meditation Practice:
- Build a routine & stay consistent: Best way to stay consistent with your practise is to build a routine around it. Find a regular time & comfortable spot that works for you and do your best to honor that each day. For me it’s part of my morning routine. I start with some gentle stretches, followed by simple breathing. Then it’s expressing deep gratitude to the universe around & feeling the connect with it, before easing into the meditation practise.
- Practise mindfulness during the rest of the day. Continue the practise of observing the thoughts during the rest of the day too. I have found journaling especially helpful in detaching myself from my mind and assess the quality of my thoughts evolve over time.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition. Quality of our nutrition impacts how energised we feel even mentally. Eat more superfoods and cut out the sugary processed junk. Yes Yoga Superfuel cookies are my favourite healthy snack when I have a sweet craving, especially because they are vegan and gluten free too.
To support those of us who may be keen to start a practice, we are organizing a 30 minute “free” online session where we could learn from each other, ask questions and be guided through a short meditation session together.
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