inspirational tools to create life balance in your everyday

Meditation – What do I need to meditate?


You can meditate anywhere, just with you and your breath. Some of my favorite meditations have happened in unexpected locations. I remember sitting outside my parents house in winter snuggled under a blanket when a wild deer walked by, in the green grass of a dear friend’s yard with her cat brushing her body against my back and then resting in my lap (cats love to meditate!), on the plane from Sydney to San Francisco during turbulence and in a tiny room with a candle and strangers around me in the middle of a busy New York City Tuesday. The wonderful thing about meditation is that you carry all the tools you need with you everyday.

But, of course there are a few tools that for your regular meditation practice may make you more comfortable. This is a list of the tools that I often draw upon:

1. A comfortable meditation cushion, bolster or meditation stool.

2. A blanket in winter to wrap around your shoulders.

3. Books on meditation by authors that will inspire you. My favorites are: Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and Thich Nhat Hanh.

4. A guided meditation CD or mp3 (this is good for beginners)

5. A sandalwood candle or your favorite incense.

6. A clock or timer with an unobtrusive sound.

7. Meditation music (this can be nice to have on in the background)

8. A journal for insights regarding your practice.

9. A bell to sound before and after practice.

10. The support of a regular meditation or yoga group.

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Meditation for Beginners


Choose a place in your home where you can meditate comfortably. If you have space in your home to dedicate to your meditation practice, you may like to place a photograph of a place or person that inspires peace. You may also like to light a candle to signify the ‘illumination’ that you may reach through your regular meditation practice. I like to have books that support my practice nearby and read a passage before a meditation to set my intention.

You can use folded blankets, a bolster or a meditation cushion to sit either cross legged or in a kneeling fashion. If either of these are uncomfortable, use a chair or sit against a wall. Remember that the stability of your body will reflect the stability of your mind. You want to be as comfortable as possible and sit in a way that allows your chest to be open so that your breath can travel through the body with ease.

Choose a time of day that works well for you. If you are a morning person then when you first wake may be perfect. If you are an evening person, perhaps try the afternoon or shortly before going to sleep. Experiment with different times of the day to find what suits your schedule, home and body.

Start by meditating for a short period of time each day. A little bit often is much better than nothing at all. And quite often, if you intend to sit for five minutes, you may find yourself sitting for longer. Starting out with five minutes will help in ensure that you make your way to your cushion more regularly. Over time increase the length of time that you are meditating for. I enjoy twenty to thirty minute sessions.

Have a clock nearby or set a soft sounding alarm so that you aren’t constantly checking the time. Wear comfortable clothes so that your body can relax. Make sure that you won’t be interrupted. If there are other people in your home, let them know that you are meditating and for how long. Ask them to hold all phone calls or interruptions so that you can carve out this time just for you. If your family also meditates, this is a wonderful way to share time together.

When you are ready to meditate, close your eyes gently and take three deep breaths, imagining that all the tension is leaving your body. Come to focus on your inhale and exhale. In order to focus the mind, it may help to say the words ‘in’ silently to yourself on the in breath and ‘out’ silently to yourself on the out breath. You will notice that mind will become distracted, when this happens, gently bring the focus back to your breath. Let any thoughts fall away like Autumn leaves from a tree.

You may need to bring your mind back to your breath several times throughout your meditation, this is okay. Your meditations will change with everyday, depending on what is going on in your life and in your body. Be gentle with yourself. As you practice more and more, you will find that connecting with your breath will become easier.

When you finish your meditation, you may like to bring your hands into the prayer position at your heart centre and bow your head or your body. Take this moment to give thanks for this time of quiet and the opportunity to connect with your breath.

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