3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Meditation Practice
It’s one thing to start a meditation practice, another thing to stick with it - and yet another to have it grow and deepen over time. I’ve found it’s worth the effort to figure out how to do that, because having a strong meditation practice creates a solid foundation for showing up the way I want to in my life. The more meditation has become a part of the fabric of my life, the easier it’s become to respond to all the craziness in my life, rather than constantly being in reaction mode. Here are three ways you can take your own meditation practice to the next level:
1) Get clear about why you’re meditating. If you’re just meditating because you think it’s a good idea, your budding practice is not going to last long. Everyone is drawn to meditation for their own personal reasons, and it’s those personal reasons that are going to keep you committed. Does meditation lessen your anxiety? Does it make it easier for you to be kind to the people in your life? Does it give you a break from the ceaseless noise of the world around you? Freewrite or talk with a friend about why you meditate.
2) Get guidance about what’s coming up. When you meditate, sooner or later you realize that you have questions about your experience. Maybe you’re noticing something going on in your body, or you’ve got a particular thought pattern that’s on a loop, or you’re beginning to question much bigger ideas (like, the meaning of life). You’ll progress much faster in your practice if you find people and resources who can help you look at your questions, and offer guidance. Books and teachers are great for this. Here are a handful of books that have been tremendous help to me when I've hit those points in my practice. I also have a meditation teacher I meet with regularly to talk about what’s coming up. At WITHIN, you can always ask questions of our teachers in class, or set up one-on-one sessions for more guidance.
3) Get away for a meditation retreat. The number one way to deepen your meditation practice is simply to do more of it, intensively. Meditation retreats are designed to do just that: you commit to a day, or several days, of being away from your regular life and doing nothing but meditating, eating and sleeping. While it may seem intimidating if you’ve only managed 20 minutes at a stint so far, being with a group of people who are all supporting each other makes it surprisingly easy to take the leap from 20 minutes to a full day, and the levels of stillness you can reach are way beyond what’s possible in short sittings. Here's one that's happening over New Years at the beautiful Mariposa Institute with our friends in the Sugarplum Sangha.
Ready to jump in? Join our #MindfulStart challenge, and start 2018 with the meditation practice you’ve been meaning to have. You’ll get as many classes at our studio as you wish, plus: a personal coaching session to help you get clear on why you’re meditating; guidance from our teachers and our #MindfulStart Facebook group; and a day-long retreat to cap it all off.
Give yourself the resources and guidance you need to take your practice to the next level. We'll be right there with you.