NURTURE - How To Begin Meditating
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Fitness nutritionist and personal trainer Anthea Strachan gives a run-down on her top tips for How To Make Meditation Easy.
Meditation has been all the buzz as of recent. It is a practice that brings with it a host of benefits and settles the soul. You may have attempted it once or twice, but the head goes crazy, you can’t seem to clear your thoughts and keep it empty. So you draw to the conclusion that meditation is not for you and you weren’t built for it.
Fitness nutritionist and personal trainer Anthea Strachan, through years of trial and error, has come up with an approach to wellness through mindfulness, nutrition and exercise: NURTURE the soul through, NOURISH with food, and MOVE the body. It’s her “Nurture, Nourish, Move” formula.
Let’s look at the Nurture component of Anthea’s approach. Here are her SMART FIVE tips for meditation.
1. Get comfortable
There is no point trying to sit with a ramrod-straight back and being totally uncomfortable while you try to still the mind and ease the soul. Throw this concept out the window. Create your own concept of how you want to sit, lay or even stand when you begin this.
Personally, I find that a supported back and a soft pillow are my keys to comfortability. A blanket nearby is always a good idea too. Remember, meditation does not require you to stay still – just quiet – so if you are mid-meditation and need to readjust, do so.
2. Close your eyes
Removing one of our senses will heighten the others by closing our eyes this brings us into an instant state of relaxation and makes for a much more pleasant experience. This is by no means the rule, if your eyes open and you look around, that is okay too – just when you become aware of them being open, close them down again
3. Focus on breathing
Don’t try to control your breathing, just notice it. How does it feel in your body, what happens with each inhalation and exhalation. Become the observer, how are your chest, shoulder and belly moving. Start to take the breath all the way to the belly, watch it as it moves down through the body, and then watch it as it flows out. Marvel at the life force that each breath holds for you.
4. Don’t try to control or restrict thoughts
The biggest misconception of meditation is that there shouldn’t be any thoughts; that the mind should be clear and free of all thought.
That is not actually what meditation is. Thoughts will come, especially early on in your practice of meditation. Allow these to flow, When you become aware of them, don’t berate yourself, but rather gentle let it flow away from you with every breath.
If you are really struggling to stop thoughts, using a silent mantra (inside your mind) is always a great way to focus the calm.
5. Build your time slowly
The single biggest mistake of beginning meditation is aiming too high too quickly. There is no need to sit for a 45 minute session in your first week or even your first year. Start at 1 minute and do this 3 times a day. Do this over a period of 3 days and then increase to 2 minutes, 3 days them 3 minutes. Once you are at 5 minutes, drop to twice daily (usually on awakening and before you sleep) and build in 5 minute increments until you are at 20 minutes a session. You don’t need to do more than 20 minutes, twice daily to reap the benefits of meditation. This is a solid practice and you will be sure to understand yourself at a far deeper level.
Remember, we spend so much of our daily life focused on looking outwards, Its okay to stop and look inwards, in fact its imperative!