MEDITATION: a beginners guide

Find your comfortable. We want to limit as many distractions as possible. Dress appropriately, wear socks, keep a blanket nearby if you get cold.

Turn your phone off or put it in a separate room on silent. If your device is also your timer or meditation app then use the 'do not disturb' silence option while practicing meditation so you don't get vibrate or light up notifications or a phone call.

In order to keep proper posture it's best if our hips are elevated above our knees. To do this sit cross-legged, in lotus or half lotus position on a cushion, pillow(s) or even folded blankets stacked on top of one another. Did you know over 80% of people meditate in a chair? If this is your preference try not to slump and keep a straight spine as you're seated on the edge of your chair. A pillow or blanket folded to support your low back would be nice, if using a chair.

Now that we are dressed properly and have found our seat we are can close our eyes, and begin to relax the muscles in our body. Pay special attention to your brow, jaw, shoulders and hips. Allow your body to soften while keeping a straight spine.

Begin to breathe a little deeper than normal in order to feel the sensation of your inhale naturally rising your chest, and with the exhale lowering your chest and belly softening slightly inwards. If it helps, place one hand on your heart center and one hand on your low belly to feel this movement. 

Simply continue to focus on your breath, heightening your body awareness. As you become distracted or your mind begins to ruminate or create lists... gently remind yourself you have gotten lost in your thoughts and return to that deepening of your inhales and exhales.

As a beginner I'd suggest a 5 minute practice every day for a week. Then adjust to 8 minutes, then to 10 minutes. Keep adjusting your time as you see the benefits begin to flow into your life.

In times of stress or when emotions rise, remember you can always come back to your breath. Why do you think we've been taught to 'just breathe' or 'take a deep breath' since we were little? Our breath is so important, so overlooked and very much taken for granted. 

Take a moment to focus on just 5 slow inhales and exhales wherever you are right now. Feel yourself calm down, even if it's just for a minute. 

Be thankful. Practice gratitude for your breath and for your body that keeps you functioning without you even trying.