There are few habits that will, if repeated consistently, make you happier, healthier, calmer, and even more radiant and mentally resilient.
This one certainly will: a daily morning meditation practice.
I’ve recently committed myself to at least 11 minutes of meditation first thing in the morning and would like to challenge you to do the same. Before showering, or sipping that beloved cup of coffee or tea, take a seat and honor your ability to find stillness. Don’t make excuses. Just do it!
Devote a space in your home for practice.
My preference is to sit on a folded blanket (meditation cushions, which can be purchased online, are also great) facing eastward. This extra cushioning under the seat can help straighten the lower back and encourage a more upright posture.
If being on the floor is not appropriate, sit on a chair with both feet firmly grounded. Whether on chair or floor, the spine should be straight but not rigid.
I love how Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh instructs seated meditation in his book The Art of Power:
“Release the weight of your body on to the cushion or chair, let your belly soften. Bring all your attention to your in and out breath. When your mind wanders, because it will, just gently bring your awareness back to your breath.
Sitting meditation is first of all doing nothing and allowing yourself to relax. If you know the art of breathing and smiling, the pleasure of sitting will grow greater and greater. Then, with mindfulness and concentration, you can begin to see more deeply into the reality of your body, the reality of your consciousness, and the reality of your situation.”
How do you time your meditation? Here’s where technology can help us out! While a simple clock will do, there are quite a few apps with more Zen sounds, such as i-Qi and Meditator.
Like all practices, some days will be more challenging than others. Likewise, remember that powerful results come with time.
I love how Russell Simmons, a longtime meditation practitioner, encourages readers in his book Super Rich:
“The Key is simply to not give up. Most people will quit in the first two or three minutes and never experience the stillness inside of you. Don’t be one of those people. There’s no need to beat yourself up if the stillness doesn’t come easy at first. Do you look ripped the first time you do a set of pushups? Of course not. Meditation is the same way. It might take a while before you start to ‘see’ the results.”
By the way, Russell also provides a great intro to transcendental meditation in this book.
Sophie Herbert is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student), a singer-songwriter, and a visual artist. She has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India; teaches yoga in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and recently released her first full-length album, "Take a Clear Look." Please visit her website at SophieHerbert.com.