Haven Yoga outlines some common problems faced when beginning meditation, and strategies for getting past them.
Meditation, when practised effectively, can provide a wide range of benefits, including reducing stress, controlling anxiety and improving sleep*. However, if you are a meditation beginner, you may run into a few roadblocks as you start developing your routine. If you’re thinking of starting meditation in Brisbane, we outline some common challenges that you may encounter as a beginner and the strategies you can implement to overcome them.
Restlessness and Impatience
It’s very common for beginners to feel restless or impatient during meditation, especially if they’re used to a fast-paced lifestyle. Additionally, restlessness in meditation can stem from external distractions or unresolved emotions: both of which can hinder your ability to achieve a state of calm.
To help combat restlessness, start your practice with some gentle movement to get into your body and become present. Then start with 5 min short sessions and gradually extend their duration over time. During each session, focus on your breath, and if your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back. Recognise that cultivating patience is part of the meditation process – you will get better the more you practice.
Difficultly Quieting the Mind
Many beginners struggle with a busy mind, filled with thoughts and distractions, making it challenging to achieve a state of calmness. This can be particularly difficult for those struggling with psychological illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
To help with this, instead of trying to force your mind to be quiet, acknowledge the thoughts without judgement and gently guide your focus back to your chosen point of meditation, such as your breath or a mantra. Over time, the mind becomes more accustomed to stillness. In guided meditation classes, such as our Sound Healing and Meditation in Brisbane, your teacher can help draw your attention back to your breath and away from racing thoughts.
If you’re not used to it, sitting still for extended periods can lead to some physical discomfort, making it difficult to stay focused. Moreover, muscle tension and posture issues can add to this discomfort.
Experiment with different meditation postures, like sitting in a comfortable chair or using cushions for support. Incorporate gentle stretching or yoga before meditation to ease physical tension. Remember, comfort is key for a sustainable practice. Over time, you should find that you become more comfortable staying in the same position, as your muscles get used to the prolonged stillness. Regular stretching and working on your posture can also help.
Establishing a consistent meditation routine can be challenging amidst a busy schedule or when motivation wanes – however it is the key to reaping the benefits of the practice and for training the mind to accept and enjoy your sessions.
To help you steadily develop a routine with your meditations, start by setting realistic, achievable goals. Try a few minutes a day and gradually increase as you feel more comfortable. Scheduling meditation at a specific time each day (such as first thing when you wake up in the morning) to build a habit can also be helpful. Joining a class is another effective way of ensuring you keep up with regular sessions.
*Healthline – 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#8.-May-help-fight-addictions