How To Meditate At Home
Retreats, monasteries and ashrams are the perfect environments for new meditators to sit down and learn how to be mindful. They offer peace and tranquillity, time to practice, support from teachers and most importantly, little to no distractions.
The problem is, it’s not always possible for people to take time out of their lives, jobs and families to attend these various places, and even if they do, you still have to come home eventually.
There’s no reason why your home can’t become the perfect sanctuary for your meditation practice;
Here are a few things you might want to think about first.
Choosing the right time to meditate
When considering the time of day to practice meditation, there are two factors you should think about.
When you’ll benefit the most and when’s the most convenient.
Knowing when meditation will be the most beneficial will take a bit of experimentation. Getting a session in first thing can be a great start to the day, beginning our morning with discipline and self-care can really give us a boost that feeds into everything we do.
On the other side of the coin, a meditation session in the evening can be the perfect way to unwind and destress from the chaos of work and family life.
What’s most important is we pick a time when it’s possible to practice without distractions. You might prefer meditating in the morning, but that’s no good if you have a house full of people rushing around you asking where things are.
Pick a moment when you know the time is yours and ideally when you can be consistent.
Creating your space
Having a good space for your mindfulness practice can really be the deciding factor as to whether you turn this into a full, life long habit.
Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction
- Peaceful space; This one might seem obvious but its also probably the most important. You’ll quickly lose interest in your meditation if you’re sitting somewhere in listening distance of a T.V or the goings-on of the outside world. It’s not just audio distractions you need to think about though. Smells can be equally distracting; Nothing will divert your attention more than the smell of cooking or dirty laundry.
- A dedicated area; It might seem like the best idea is to move your cushion to where ever is most quiet and convenient at the time. However, having a dedicated space can make a world of difference. Even if its just the corner of one room, you’ll know that space is only used for meditation and your mind will quickly start to correlate it to the feelings of relaxation and calm.
- Make it comfortable – but not too comfortable. Remember, the purpose of meditation is to focus. Feeling relaxed is good, but you don’t want every session to end in you falling asleep, so we advising not meditating laying down in bed. A sturdy meditation cushion like this one on amazon is perfect.
- Tranquil surroundings. Think a little bit about what you’d like to open your eyes to when you finish your session. There’s no point spending all this time calming your mind and finding inner peace just to open your eyes and see your work station or a pile of washing up! Avoid anything that will instantly induce stress and undo all your hard work. You don’t need a special altar or shrine, just a few friendly plants or a peaceful picture will be great.
When plans don't come together
Obviously, all of the above is a best-case scenario, and part of living a mindful life is about learning to accept life when it’s not perfect. Try not to be hard on yourself if you can’t achieve all the criteria to create your ideal meditation environment at home. There’s still plenty of ways that you can fit mindfulness into your life
At its core mindfulness is just about taking ourselves off autopilot and reconnecting with our bodies. There’s no end of opportunities to do this, and almost everything we do can be done mindfully. Here’s a few to think about.
- Everyday tasks; So many of our daily chores are done on autopilot. When we’re washing the dishes, we’re thinking about something we’ve seen on tv, or when we’re getting dressed, we’re contemplating something we’ve said earlier in the day. Choose one chore and try to remain focused entirely on it. If your washing up, pay attention to the sensation of water on your skin or perhaps the texture of bubbles.
- Walking Meditation; At some point in the day, you’re going to have to make a small journey somewhere. Whether communting to work or just walking to the bathroom, give yourself a little bit of extra and really hone in on the sensations you feel when your foot makes contact to the ground. This is a popular meditation method in the Buddhist tradition, and extremely convenient.
- Reconnecting; Choose an object or sound which you come into contact with every day. This might be a bunch of keys, a pen, door handle or the sound of your phone notifications. Whenever you hear the sound or encounter the object, stop for a moment and reconnect with your body. This involves noticing the breath as it enters the body and taking a moment just to be still.