Do you wish to become a regular meditator?

You may have heard how beneficial meditation is……… Have you tried meditating regularly? If you are anything like me you may have discovered that establishing the habit can be challenging. I am as human as the next person, and although sometimes I am able to meditate daily, I also go through stages of avoiding my practice, finding excuses, or just feeling too busy to fit it in. A meditation practice for me, is always a work in progress….and just like LIFE, it has it’s ups and downs.

Things that help me:

#1 – A “meditation notebook or diary” – In the past I had a diary which was a day to a page, and so if I meditated or practiced some form of yoga (eg asana/postures or pranayama or attended a class) I had one page to make any notes about it. I have also used a notebook to record my thoughts about yoga and/or meditation like a journal.

#2 – Record Briefly your meditation – eg. Date/Time/Length of meditation/Comments. In a notebook or diary as per #1, or see #3.

#3 – Iphone App – there are many apps that you can use for meditation, both for the meditation itself if you prefer a guided practice, and to use as a timer and recorder as per #2. There is an app called ‘Omvana’ which allows you to choose many different guided meditations (many which are for free) and you can choose the backing music you like. If you prefer silent meditation (my preference) and you would like a simple timer and recorder, I use an app called ‘Samathi’…..I love it because it is simple, and it records the ‘chain’ (days of) practice. There are many other apps to choose from, low cost or free!

#4 – Passion – Love your practice and you will look forward to it.

#5 – A special meditation cushion – or you may prefer a meditation stool. I have both, and both have been rewards for my practice (see #10).

#6 – Dedication and Motivation – Ask yourself WHY do you want to meditate regularly? Put it in writing. Either in your diary/notebook per #1 or somewhere where you can refer to it regularly.

#7 – Practice – Just like physical exercise, the more you practice the more those ‘meditation’ muscles will get fit.

#8 – Discipline – A regular time. Work out what is the best time for you. Stick to it, but it you miss a day, just pick it up again the next day.

#9 – Set a goal – And write it down. By writing it, you are committing to it. Make it realistic and achieveable. Start small. Eg – I will meditate for each day for one week for 5 minutes.

#10 – Reset your goal – Once first goal is attained, reward yourself and reset the bar a little higher. Eg – I will meditate 6 days a week for 2 weeks for 10 minutes. The reward could be a candle, a meditation cushion, a blanket for meditation, etc.

#11 –Find inspiration in reading – I recommend the wonderful book by Sally Kempton “Meditation for the Love of it”. You might also like to browse the shelves at your local library.

#12 – Find inspiration in nature – go outside, breathe in fresh air, smell the roses, gaze upon the colours in the sky at sunset. Be amazed at the beautiful world we live in.

#13 – Training the puppy mind – like training a puppy, remember that awareness must be brought back to the focus of your meditation. Your focus may be your breath, a mantra (silent or aloud), or an internal image ( eg visualising a candle flame). Every time awareness wanders from focus point, bring it back, bring it back, bring it back (over and over and over)….this returning is all part of the process.

#14 – A Comfy location and a ‘Meditation in Progress’ sign – Find a place that is your little corner to pop your meditation cushion down. And if you live with others, use a sign on the door and explain that meditation is easiest when you have the room to yourself just for that time. Occasionally when the weather is nice I will meditate outside in the garden; I especially love dusk – so long at the mozzie’s aren’t biting! The world does look quite stunning when you re-open your eyes and look around you; try it!

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions about what inspires your meditation practice!
Best wishes!

Yoga Advice for New Mums

If you have a new little bundle of joy….congratulations! Here are some suggestions to continue a home yoga practice as a new mum.

1. Practice awareness of posture when sitting and feeding your baby. Focus on lengthening upwards through the spine, relax the shoulders, and soften the face.

2. Pelvic Floor exercises….from as early as a day after the delivery. By exercising this area gently, you will encourage the blood supply and promote healing of the perineum. You can work with your breath to bring more awareness – soften the muscles with the inhalation and lift and engage the muscles with the exhalation.

3. Short home yoga practice….a moment here or there, 5 or 10 minutes is great. Just work with one or two postures, or even lying in savasana for a few minutes of relaxation – just let all your muscles relax and sink down into the floor. Be gentle with yourself….remember the transformation your body has gone through….be patient and gentle.

4. Listen to your body and observe your energy levels. Practice the postures that feel right for you, in the moment.

5. Practice engaging your core muscles when lifting your baby. You can think of lifting the pelvic floor muscles and right up through the centre of the abdomen.

6. Yoga practice is very beneficial to help with ‘baby blues’. I would encourage trying ‘Surya Namaskar’/Salute to the Sun to help uplift your mood, or another flowing sequence. If you think you may have postnatal depression,  please do seek medical support.

7. Nuture the nuturer…… Yes, that’s you! Whether it’s yoga, a walk, a good book, a massage, asking family or friends for some babysitting time. Taking time for yourself becomes more of a challenge, but it becomes more important. Not only are you worth it, but it helps you to be the best mum you can be.

8. Embrace Motherhood! Your little one will only stay little for such a fleeting moment in time….children grow so fast. Try to embrace both the wonderful happy moments as well as the more challenging moments. It’s a fantastic opportunity to practice gentleness and patience. I have also discovered motherhood to be a perfect way to remind me that I’m not perfect, and that is perfectly fine 🙂

Best wishes!