Meditation is very good for your mind, but sometimes your body needs a little tweaking to get it to cooperate fully. Here are a number of simple steps you can take before and after meditating and during your session to relieve physical discomforts and make it easier to concentrate.
Steps To Take Before and After Meditation
1. Stay active. An active lifestyle and regular workouts will get and keep you in top shape for all activities including meditation. A supple body encourages a supple mind. Exercise also plays a big role in maintaining an ideal body weight, and that will help you to feel more at ease during your meditation sessions.
2. Train for flexibility. Simple body and joint stretches will help prevent stiffness and aches. Warm up first to prevent injuries. Hold static poses and gradually extend your range of motion.
3. Eat light. Heavy meals tend to cause drowsiness. Select foods that are easy to digest and try eating smaller and more frequent servings so that you aren’t sleeping through your meditation.
4. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Depressants and stimulants affect both your body and mind. Take prescription medications as directed, but limit other substances that can make you foggy or jittery.
5. Dress down. Wear clothing that feels good and fits comfortably. Garments that are soft and loose will protect you from feeling itchy or pinched. Bring along a sweater you can take on or off depending on the room temperature. Kick off your shoes and flex your feet to help them relax as well.
Steps To Take During Your Meditation Session
1. Scan your body. Start out by checking in with your body from head to foot. Breathe deeply through your nose. Become aware of any spots that are tense or uncomfortable. Imagine your breath is healing and relaxing them.
2. Minimize saliva. Our mouths produce saliva all the time, but it can feel more conspicuous when you’re meditating. Pressing your tongue lightly against the roof of your mouth inhibits any excess.
3. Rest your arms and hands. Bend your elbows and place your hands in your lap cupped together with the palms upturned. If you prefer, you can rest them at your sides.
4. Lower your shoulders. Stress often shows up in raised shoulders. Gently lower them and press them back. This will bring your chest forward and make it easier to breathe deeply.
5. Lift your head. Hold your head up and slightly forward. This will take pressure off your neck.
6. Support your feet. Uncross your legs and place your feet flat on the floor if you’re sitting in a chair. If you’re sitting on the floor, center them in front of you and bend slightly at the knees to relieve any pressure or tension.
7. Relax your eyes. Avoid eye strain and visual distractions by softening your vision. You can close your eyes or keep the lids barely open. Allow yourself to remain aware of your general surroundings without honing in on any individual item. Lowering the light level in the room can also help to relax your eyes.
8. Shift positions. It’s okay to move anytime you feel stiff or uneasy. Settle into a new position and resume your meditation. Retrace your recent thoughts if your attention gets pulled away temporarily.
9. Get a chair. Unless you grew up in a monastery, sitting on the floor for long periods may be difficult at first. Pull up a chair. Pick a style with a flat seat and straight back that allows your feet to reach the floor.
10. Walk around. Walking meditation is great for beginners or as a supplement to your seated practice. When your body needs a break from sitting, you can continue your thoughts as you pace indoors or out.
Staying fit and maintaining good posture will enrich your meditation practice. When your body is comfortable, you’ll be able to sit longer and experience fewer distractions as you develop greater peace of mind.