Tips to enjoy your practice
Meditation is a great way to connect with yourself while reaping many of its benefits (like a better state of mind, less stress and anxiety, better sleep quality, and more). But since there’s really nothing to “do” during meditation, it’s easy to get bored or distracted by it.
And once the feeling of boredom kicks in, you can easily find yourself thinking about errands, deadlines, what color nail polish to buy, or the fact that you can’t wait for your meditation session to end.
Whatever the case, don’t worry. This article is here to give you some practical tips on how to meditate without getting bored.
As you go through this list, choose 1 or 2 suggestions that speak to you, and then give them a try for a while (at least a week) to see how they work for you.
10 TIPS TO MEDITATE WITHOUT GETTING BORED OR DISTRACTED
1. Break up your meditation practice
When you meditate, you become hyper-aware of time and this can make the practice seem endless and boring.
To counteract this, consider breaking your practice into “mini sessions” throughout the day.
This can help reduce feelings of boredom or distraction during a longer session.
This is also a great strategy for introducing meditation as a habit instead of another terrible task on your to-do list.
In fact, according to Andy Puddicomb, founder of the meditation app Headspace, and a former monk, “The most important thing is to find a period of time that feels achievable and keeps us motivated. Without this, it will never become part of an established daily routine” (source).
2. Start slow
If you’re new to meditation, it’s best to start slowly and get comfortable with the idea of meditating. Think of meditation as a daily habit that you are trying to incorporate into your lifestyle. long-term.
So instead of aiming for a 30 minute session from the start, start with 10 or 15 minutes per day.
Over time, you can increase the duration as you get comfortable with the practice.
3. Do an active meditation
Active meditation is basically any activity that combines movement with mindfulness.
These activities can be especially effective for people who have trouble sitting still or suffer from chronic pain issues (which can also make sitting meditations difficult).
Here are some ways to practice active meditation:
- Qi Gong: Qi-Gong is an ancient Chinese exercise and healing practice that focuses on repeating specific movements to move “qi” or energy. Repetition naturally helps you develop more focus and presence, thus quieting the mind.
- Tai Chi: Tai-Chi is a practice that evolved from Qi-Gong. It differs from Qi-Gong in that it has more complex sequences and more rules. But like Qi-Gong, the ultimate goal is to move energy and cultivate more awareness.
- YinYoga: Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that involves holding poses for several minutes, often 3-10 minutes. As a result, yin yoga allows you to practice being present and aware, even when there is physical discomfort from holding a pose. At the same time, changing poses every few minutes reduces the risk of boredom.
- Walking: Walking, especially in nature, can be a healing and meditative experience, especially when done with intention. To practice walking meditation, simply start by becoming more aware of your steps and how your body feels. You can also be more present with your surroundings by taking time to observe colors, textures, and sounds.
4. Practice yoga before meditation
Historically, most yoga traditions have done yoga postures, also known as asanas, before meditation.
There are a few key reasons why this is beneficial:
- Yoga poses are specifically designed to prepare the body for meditation. Increased flexibility and strength allow you to sit more comfortably during meditation.
- Yoga poses often require us to be present with the physical discomfort we are feeling. By learning to be present for physical discomfort in a pose, we train the mind to deal with discomfort. This force is eventually transferred to meditation, where we often face emotional discomfort.
- Yoga poses also cultivate a sense of relaxation. And as the body relaxes, the mind naturally follows. The end result is a calm state of mind that can deepen your meditation.
5. Journal first
Taking time to journal before you meditate can reduce distractions and keep your mind calm. It is also an opportunity to write down any intentions you have for your session.
Here are some writing prompts you can use:
- What is something I am thankful for today?
- Where do I feel most at peace?
- What can I commit to today?
- What are my main values at this point in my life?
- What feeling would I like to experience today?
6. Do breath work (pranayama) first
“Pranayama” is the Sanskrit word used for all yogic breathing techniques, many of which are usually performed in a seated position (source).
This breathwork is intended to release both physical and mental tension, thus promoting a sense of calm and relaxation prior to meditation.
The following video provides a good overview of various pranayama practices:
7. Use a mantra
The Sanskrit word mantra – man means mind and Between means vehicle: it can be translated as “mental tool” or “mental instrument” (source).
It is a sound that you can repeat silently or out loud, to help keep your mind focused.
If your mind tends to wander during meditation, using mantras is a powerful way to drown out the noise and bring you back to the present moment.
Here are some commonly used mantras and their meanings:
- “Aum” or “Om” – Is, will be or will become
- “Aham Prema” – I am Divine Love
- “I am what I am”
- “Om Tat Sat” – All that is
- “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” – Mental, physical and verbal peace
8. Try a group meditation
Similar to gym workouts, having a meditation partner holds you accountable and gives you something to look forward to.
Meditating in a group can provide a sense of harmony and inspiration as you are surrounded by people who are on a similar journey as you.
9. Follow a guided meditation
There is no doubt that it is easy to follow an expert during meditation, especially when you are just starting out.
Guided meditations offer a step-by-step experience and can be delivered through an app, websites, or even a free YouTube channel.
Plus, you can choose from different types of meditations based on your needs, schedule, and skill level.
Here are some of my favorite resources for guided meditations:
- Calm – This app offers a variety of meditations and has garnered attention with its sleep stories (narrated by the likes of Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, and other celebrities).
- Headspace: An offering of a variety of guided meditations.
- Tara Brach: One of the biggest names in the world of mindfulness. She is known for developing the RAIN (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) tool for using mindfulness in our daily lives. Her podcast also features many guided meditations.
- New Horizon: meditation and dream stories for the little ones.
Also, some other resources worth checking out are the Buddhify and Breethe apps, plus the Great Meditation and Michael Sealey YouTube channels.
Finally, if face-to-face is more your thing, look for a meditation teacher in your area who offers face-to-face classes.
Here are some resources to help you locate teachers:
10. Remember the purpose of meditation
Reminding yourself why you started a meditation practice can help you stick with it in the long run.
The main goal of meditation is to train our mind to observe our thoughts as just that: thoughts.
According to Buddhism, every human being has the potential for enlightenment by mastering the act of mindfulness (source).
While everyone’s purpose for meditation is slightly different, the goal is to feel peace and contentment in our everyday lives.
Consistent meditation can help you do this by creating a healthy space for your thoughts and physical being to coexist.
Feeling comfortable and enjoying meditation is something that is achieved with time, patience and perseverance.
Remember that this is a constantly evolving practice and that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to meditation.
It is your practice, your journey.
I hope these tips help you on your way!
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