“Dear Brain, Please shut down for a while!” 5 preparation steps to quiet your mind.

I talked about my personal experience with meditation in my last blogpost.  Now I share with you a few tips that have helped me get into a routine of quieting my mind, getting centered and re-connecting with myself every day. Here’s my checklist for getting into a meditative groove!

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  1. Set your time on a daily schedule.

    Most of us have days filled with an inconsistent pattern of events. If you are a stay at home mom, for example, your Tuesdays (soccer practice) are different to your Thursdays (ballet and tutoring). Or your toddler has day care only certain days of the week. If you run your own business like me, then no one day is the same as the next.  So, I find it’s easiest to commit to a meditation as soon as you wake up, or before bed. Train yourself to get up 15min early and have your meditation cushion and lighter for your candle in position the night before. End of day can be trickier, especially if you are the type to keep going until you crash. You’ll bypass the meditation just from sheer exhaustion!  In that case, choose a morning meditation. Once you select your time, don’t hold yourself hostage to it. Grab a few minutes whenever and wherever you can throughout the day too! Every minute in silence makes a difference!

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  1. Create or find your “Sacred Space”

    Are you comforted by cozy spaces? If so, a small room in your house, a corner space, or even set up in your walk in closet.  You may be the type who’s always on the go! I’ve told patients like this to take a few minutes in your car after work before you start the engine to drive home. Claustrophobic? Sit outdoors in a park, in your backyard.  If you’re fortunate to live near a beach, plant yourself in the sand at sunset. My favorite space?   I am blessed to have a beautiful little backyard patio by a fountain where my dog’s yoga mat lies. It’s my occasional daytime or sunset space and it’s one of the many blessings I count every day.  But my regular meditation is early morning on the floor at the foot of my bed, while my tea is brewing. I find it sets a healthier tone for the entire day.

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  1. Set the mood.

    Turn off your phone, your televisions, your laptops and computers should be muted from alerts and chimes. Send the dog away with a chew stick if he starts to play or cuddle with you (a pleasant distraction but still a distraction!) Play some soft music if you wish and light a candle or two.

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  1. Get in position.

    Sit, recline or lay down. It doesn’t matter when you are new at this. Be careful if you choose to lie down. Any of us over exhausted individuals know that’s a prelude to passing out! I find sitting upright with proper back, pelvis and leg support apparatus, is best for enabling better airway flow, essential for meditation.  I sit in lotus (cross legged) on a small cushion to tilt my pelvis forward so I don’t fall back during deep meditation or start slouching.
  1. Need tools?

    I used Rodney Yee’s “AM and PM Meditation” DVD to help me get started. It’s easy to follow, has beautiful scenery and also includes an interview with him and with Maritza on the benefits of meditation.  I forced myself up at 5am every day to watch the morning meditation video. Yes, I just watched it. I sat on the couch for two weeks just watching and focusing on it before I got into my sacred space and position and really made it a practice. Baby steps! But it got me on the path of making it a priority for my mental, physical and emotional health. There are thousands of books, DVD’s, YouTube videos and classes to help you get into your meditative groove. Or maybe you just need to start with making the time for you and only you!
       

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