Creating a meditation practice

Photo:  Elle Narbrook

I have something to confess. I don’t have a regular meditation practice. I’ve been meditating for over 15 years, but it tends to be during a crisis or just every now and then. Some years ago I downloaded Headspace just like every other person and managed to make it semi regular, although my longest stint was probably 4 days in a row. 

I’ve studied meditation and know how of its beneficial effects on our physical, mental and emotional health. I know dozens of different types of meditations, and yet, I don’t do it on a daily basis.

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One of my 2019 resolutions is to create a consistent meditation practice, and for me, getting there requires some steps. The first is to sit with the intention for a while until I know in myself that it is something I want to do. In this case it has taken me the best part of two months. And then, at some point I will usually make a plan and take steps that get me closer to it.

  • I’ve started reading The Science of Meditation, by Daniel Goleman y Richard Davidson, a book recommended on my yoga teacher training that had sat on my Want to Read list of Goodreads ever since.

  • Last Saturday I went to a Meditation and Mindfulness workshop locally, which was really practical and brilliant. If you are in the Albacete área, I highly recommend you check Prana’s website for future workshops.

 And so, without realising it was the beginning of a week and a month (give or take), today I decided to start.

Preparation 

Something I have learned is that in meditation, repetition and simplicity are your best allies. It is better to choose a simple meditation and practise for a month than keep trying different styles each day. So I decided to do the simplest thing I could think of: count my breaths. No music. No frills. Just me and my breath. Best pals.

I downloaded the Insight Timer app to set two alarms. One 5 minutes in, and one 10 minutes after that. 

  • I start by spending 5 minutes following my breath across my body. I start at the tip of the nose, then direct my awareness to my chest and my belly. From there I expand my awareness to the rest of my body and listen for any sensations. 

  • After those initial 5 minutes, I start counting my breath. Each full round of inhalation and exhalation counts as one. If I lose count, I start again. Counting up to 50 should take approximately 10 minutes allowing for a couple of distractions. 

  • Finally, I spend a couple of minutes paying attention to how I feel, start moving gently and open my eyes.


Day 1

Because I’m used to guided meditations or meditating with music I am worried that my mind is going to be all over the place looking for sounds to listen to, but as soon as I put my headphones on (to hear the alarm and not disturb anyone at home with the chime), the sound of my breath turns into the most soothing sound. It’s all I can hear, all that my mind can focus on. 

During the first 5 minutes I must have followed the breath at lightning speed because I’m done and there is no sign of the chime, so I decide to start counting breaths and get to 15. After the first chime, I start again and reach 50 without losing count once, which is a huge surprise. My mind doesn’t remain free of thoughts. They come and go, and it is during the meditation that I actually think about sharing my experience in this blog. But my mind is sharply focused on my breath. If a thought comes, it goes after a couple of seconds and it never takes my mind off the counting.


I hope that me sharing this experience might encourage you to start your practice. If you do, I would love how it’s going for you. You can leave a comment below or message me privately. And if you’re a pro, your recommendations and shared experience are more than welcome!

Next Monday I will check in to share how it’s going after a week and what changes I might feel, as well as some resources for newbies to the practice. Until then, hope you have a wonderful week!

Inma x


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