Written By: Erica Quam, Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and Superfeet Wellness Panel Member. Erica has taught yoga to athletes and active individuals for 11 years. Erica first began teaching to her athletes during her 15-year career as a college swim coach. She believes yoga can help prevent injuries and reduce stress, while building strength, flexibility and confidence.
With all the distractions in the world today, and your ever-growing list of to-do's, you may find one of the hardest things to justify is taking time to sit and meditate. (There's always so much to do!)
But, consider this: a meditation routine can bring clarity to your priorities, make your important decisions easier and help you better navigate your day.
Meditation can help you build awareness. You become aware of your thoughts. You also become aware of your thoughts about your thoughts.
With this clarity and awareness you may find you are also more effective and productive in your daily life.
Here are 3 simple steps that can help you incorporate meditation into your daily routine:
Make your meditation practice a conscious decision (not something you should do)! Choose a time, a place and a number of days each week to commit to your meditation practice.
Many people find mornings are best — meditating first thing in the morning can set a positive tone for the day. Other people like meditating in the evening to improve sleep. There's not a wrong time to choose — just make it right for you. Finding a regular time and place where you meditate can give you the consistency you need to make it a habit.
Start with a small goal that's realistic and do-able. For example, try five minutes three times a week.
Each time you meditate, give yourself a high five because you did it! Keep track of when you meditate and check it off your list. Acknowledging that you reached your goal for the day can actually give your brain a nice hit of dopamine.
Once you've hit your goal for a week or two, bump your timer up to six minutes. Try adding in one more day per week. Small incremental steps can help you from turning your meditation goal into an all-or-nothing approach.
Sit comfortably. If you're just starting out, you don't need to contort yourself into a complicated yoga posture in the middle of the room.
Find a comfortable chair that allows you to sit tall and easily maintain a good posture. Try having both feet on the floor and nothing crossed. This can help you feel more grounded and focus on your mind, not your body.
Start your timer. Focus on your breath. When thoughts come up, notice them and begin again. That's the practice. The challenging thing about meditation is you may never feel successful. Stopping your thoughts is not the point. It's all about awareness.
You may begin to notice things about yourself and your thoughts that you may not have discovered otherwise. This can be powerful.
There are a number of great apps out there with guided meditations. Using a guided meditation app can be a great way to get started.
If technology stresses you out, try setting your kitchen timer or your watch. If you use the timer on your phone, turn alerts and notifications off.
Good luck and have fun with your meditation practice. I hope it helps you feel more calm, alert, and clear.