Beginning a Mindfulness Practice
by Michael Wong
Everyone seems to be talking about meditation these days, but where do you begin if you’ve never tried it before?
We get it - meditation can seem like such a great idea, but if you’ve new to the concept, it can seem a little daunting. Do I need to sit in complete stillness? What if my nose starts to itch? What if I end up thinking about not thinking and ruin the whole thing?
We hear you. It’s natural to feel this way before you start meditating.
Here are 3 things to remember when beginning a mindfulness practice:
1. We can all meditate
The first time you sit down to meditate might feel weird, maybe a little uncomfortable. That’s completely natural. An important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a bad meditation.
Meditating is not about emptying your mind completely or sitting still for hours on end - this just isn’t practical for most of us living busy lives.
Meditation is a practice for everyone, not just yogis or monks.
2. Not one-size-fits-all
In the same vein, there’s not just one type of meditation out there - in fact, there’s lots! Whether you’re doing a guided meditation from an app, or a visualisation meditation, or even a mantra-based practice (where you focus on a specific word or phrase throughout the practice to release the mind), you can explore what works for you. What might work for one person may not gel with you, so give yourself time to play around with different meditation techniques and see what sticks.
3. You come first
Ultimately, the goal of meditation is to prioritise your health - emotionally, physically, mentally and energetically. While we take care of our bodies by fuelling up on good food and water, it’s important that we fuel our minds too. Meditation gives us the perfect opportunity to do this - it’s a moment to reflect on how you feel, and check in with what your body really needs.
A wonderful place to start is doing a simple mantra meditation.
Below is a step by step example of one I use often with my clients:
- Close your eyes, and start to tune into your breathing.
- Take a few moments just to observe the breath as is, then start to incorporate this mantra: ‘Just Breathe’.
- inhale just, exhale breathe.
- Repeat as many times as you need.
It’s simple, self-defining and will help to guide you through a few minutes of calm. If you notice your mind starts to wander and latch onto thoughts, know that it is okay and natural. In fact, even experienced meditators will find their minds wandering. Once you notice you’re following a thought, gently bring yourself back to the mantra: just breathe.
Give it a go, and be patient with the process. It may take a few times to get into it, but soon enough it should give you that much needed space to just be.