Morning routines are important because they set the tone for your entire day. When you wake up late and on the wrong side of the bed, chances are, the rest of your day will feel off too. On the other hand, when you’re calm and prepared, you’ll be able to take on whatever the day throws at you.
Meditating in the morning is a great way to feel grounded and start your day. This year, try meditating for just five minutes every day — you’ll learn more about yourself and feel more empowered in the process.
Here, we share the benefits of meditation, why you should try it, how to meditate for beginners, and tips for meditating, with input from a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher.
Meditation boasts endless benefits because changing your state of mind will affect your body, your entire day, and even your life.
Some of the biggest benefits of meditation include:
- Feeling relaxed: Taking time to slow down your heart rate and breathe deeply is a quick way to feel more at peace.
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Meditation can also translate to feeling physically and mentally calmer, lowering your stress and anxiety levels.
- Becoming more self-aware: As you sit in silence with yourself for a couple of minutes, you become one with your thoughts. You’ll learn to be more aware of your thoughts.
- Reflecting on emotions: Similarly, sitting with your feelings will help you to understand your emotions better.
- Increasing patience: When you first start meditating, you may feel that the minutes are crawling by. However, as you progress, you’ll become more patient and familiar with the process.
Other benefits of meditation include boosting creativity, providing a new perspective on your situation, and learning to be present.
Mention meditating, and you may think it’s about sitting down, closing your eyes, and staying still. While that is true in some ways, it’s not as simple as plonking yourself on the floor and keeping quiet.
One common misconception about meditation is that you’re supposed to clear your mind and think of nothing, but most of us know that that isn’t possible.
Rather than trying to silence your thoughts and mind, try letting go of your thoughts — not holding onto your thoughts and letting them pass by.
Sounds tricky? Here is a step-by-step process that you can follow when you try meditating.
- Shake out your limbs to release any kinks in your body
- Sit in a comfortable position, be it cross-legged or kneeling
- Remove distractions such as your phone, TV, and other sounds (as much as possible)
- Set the mood with candles, scents, or anything that makes you feel cozy
- Close your eyes or lower your gaze
- Slow down your breathing by taking longer breaths
- Relax your body by not tensing your muscles, especially in your face and shoulders
- Calm your mind by focusing on your breath
- Breathe deeply through your nose and with your diaphragm
- Be present — try not to doze off or get distracted
There are many methods to meditate. And the truth is, there isn’t one way that is the best or the most suitable for everyone.
Here are some simple breathing methods that can help you meditate:
- Deep breathing: Set a timer for five minutes and simply take deep and controlled breaths with intention
- Box breathing: Inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts
- Ujjayi breathing: Deep breaths through your nose while making an ocean-like sound at the back of your throat as you exhale
For complete beginners, concentrating on breathing may be challenging. To take the heat off yourself, you can try guided meditation. Use a meditation app or find a video on YouTube with a soothing voice that tells you how to breathe, as well as guide you through a relaxing meditation practice.
You can experiment with a few methods of meditation, and find one that you can stick to. Make sure that you give each method a few tries, instead of writing it off after just one try.
Don’t worry! We know that taking on a new task can be daunting, especially with meditation because you’re simply left to your own devices.
As a yoga teacher, here are some of my favourite tips to help students slow down and get into meditation.
If you feel anxious or are constantly thinking about your daily schedule during meditation: Tell yourself that you’re only going to meditate for five minutes.
You can relax for just five minutes before you get back to your to-do list. If that’s not enough, some people may prefer to do a brain dump in a notebook before meditating so that they can write down all their thoughts, tasks, and plans for the day.
If you feel uncomfortable sitting still for five minutes: Stretch it out or use a prop.
Sitting still for five minutes isn’t as easy as it seems because many of us are used to leaning on one side or slouching.
For those who feel tense after sitting upright for a few minutes, try doing a quick stretch on the tightest areas to feel more comfortable during your meditation.
It can also be helpful to use props to cushion your practice, such as sitting on a cushion for comfort, elevating your hips by sitting on a block to release your spine, or using a blanket to stay warm and prevent your ankles from rubbing into the floor.
Carissa Wong is a 200h Certified Yoga Teacher who focuses on alignment, mobility, and strength. She started practising yoga in 2016, and has been teaching since mid-2020. Currently, she teaches private 1-on-1 yoga classes (online and in person) and creates personalised stretch and strength plans.