5 simple steps to boost your meditation – before you even start

Where you meditate and what you do before meditating are nearly as important as meditating. You instinctively might be drawn to the same place because of a comfy chair or nice view out of the window. If you take a moment consciously choose where you sit and what you do before you sit, you can increase your desire to meditate. Below I have listed five ways to pay attention to the where, when and how of meditation that will greatly help your meditation.

1. Protect your Time and Space

You will greatly enhance your sense of safety by making sure you won’t be interrupted while you meditate.

  • Let your partner, kids, roommates, or colleagues know that your meditation time is off limits. Don’t hesitate to lock the door. In the beginning I had my kids bang on the door at times, but eventually they learned that Daddy is in charge during that time. Be firm. Remember that the strongest behavior reinforcement is irregular success ☺!
  • Put your phone on mute (unless you use it for your meditation). Put it far away if it vibrates whenever a text or email comes in.
  • Make a decision about your pets. A lot of pets love when you meditate and are happy to snuggle with you or on you when you meditate. If you like that, cool. If not, ship them out during that time.

2. The Best Place

Find a place that makes feel safe and comfortable.

  • What helps you to feel safe in your body and in your environment while meditating?
  • If you are not sure, you might want to try various locations in the room and pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Safe? Safer? Not so much?
  • Where is your chair or cushion located in relation to the door?
  • Do you face the door or sit with your back to it?

3. Inspired Space

Another great support for your meditation practice is to create a space that is dedicated to meditation. A good question to ask is: What helps me to stay connected with or to be reminded of my intention for meditation?

  • You could set your chair in a way that you look out of the window or glass door into the garden.
  • Or set up a little table or shelf. On it put some things on it that inspire you…
    • rosesforblogA picture,
    • A photograph,
    • A framed quotation,
    • Flowers,
    • Rocks,
    • Driftwood,
    • A candle…the list is endless.

4. Comfortable Sitting Posture

You want to make sure that your sitting posture is so comfortable that you can hold it for the time of your meditation without the need to move or shift. Even with a physical limitation you want to work on ease of posture. If you keep having a hard time finding a comfortable posture it might be good to check with a teacher. You can sit on a chair or on the mat or even lie down on the floor, but you need to find a posture that signifies dignity and ease for you. It will greatly support your practice.

5. Create a Routine

We know how kids thrive on bedtime routines. The same goes for meditation. A routine helps you “get into it”. Experiment with:

  • The same time of the day.
  • Same pre-meditation routine (I have my cup of Earl Grey tea before my morning sit)
  • Experiment with maybe reading something related to meditation for 5min.
  • Doing a little ritual, if that rocks your boat, like lighting a candle, a nice incense stick, sounding a bell (it is struck 3 times traditionally).
  • Same body posture.
  • Start your meditation the same way. For example, start with grounding yourself in the body by feeling into the areas of contact with the chair, the cushion or the mat.

While you might not relate to a potentially spiritual dimension of some of these rituals, they are also grounded in behavior theory: routines create a sense of safety and therefor make it easier to be at ease and to relax. Routines also create a stimulus-response in the body: You do all of this and get into the posture and your body “gets into” meditation more easily – like the dog who salivates at the sound of the bell. Enticing the senses with sight, sound, smell will shift the attention from the left brain more over to the more sensual, feeling side of the brain and away from thinking an rumination mode. I pretty much do all of the elements mentioned above and it greatly enhances my relationship to meditation. Don’t miss these simple steps to boost your meditation. Which in turn makes me want to do it – which is exactly what we are aiming for.

And you?

Now I want to hear from you in the comments below: What makes you come back to your cushion or chair? What routines or rituals do you have?

Please share this blog with people you think might benefit from it. Thanks!

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2 Responses to “5 simple steps to boost your meditation – before you even start”

  1. Ted Dunn June 30, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    I understand the concept of preparing for meditation and at the same time believe that what you suggest makes it too structured. If you set yourself up to require sitting comfort, a quiet peaceful environment, no interruptions etc. you will be easily distracted if these conditions fail at any point.

    The way in which I have been attracted to meditate is to do so immediately you feel the desire or perhaps even the need. That can happen while standing at the check-out counter of a supermarket or at any point of the day. A few minutes of meditation at those times is very effective and can be repeated many times a day. A set-up meditation in your favourite ideal location with perhaps an altar, bells, flowers, candles, incense is lovely but may be a luxury that you can not afford to indulge in every day. It is important also not to equate successful meditation with having to happen in such an environment.

    • Christiane Wolf July 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

      Hi Ted, I think it’s not either-or. I completely agree with you re the open, fluid, flexible moments during the day, especially the great gift of our practice in challenging moments. At the same time I believe in the refuge of beauty, solitude, silence and the like to deepen our practice in other ways. Which in turn supports the willingness and strength to work with whatever life throws at us. And, as we know only too well, even in the most beautiful, tranquil surroundings and in the perfect posture meditation can be one big struggle :).

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