From the outside, meditation seems easy. You sit and close your eyes. Hey, piece of cake! But when you start to hear about all the transcendent out-of-body experiences people seem to have while meditating, you think … OK, I *MUST* be doing this wrong.
The thing is, meditation is an individual practice. There’s no one-size-fits all way to do it, and everyone experiences it differently. By definition, meditation is practice that encourages you to slow down and find relaxation through mindfulness. So as long as you’re relaxed and focused—on anything, whether it’s your breathing, the feel of the wind, or the food you’re eating—you’re meditating. (You can always try one of these alternative ways to meditate.)
Mediation has a host of health benefits, including stress relief and even a lower risk of heart disease. (Learn more about meditation for stress relief here.) The best part? You can check it off your list for the day in less time than it takes you to get your morning bagel.
Ready to get started? Holly Rilinger, a Nike master trainer and avid meditator, gives her best advice on how to start finding your daily calm.
Start small. “My advice for anybody that’s starting out meditating is start small, start with five to 10 minutes and build up,” says Rilinger.
Be patient. Whether it’s your yoga practice, your sleep habits, or your weight loss goals, everyone has good days and bad days. The same is true for meditation. “There are going to be certain days where the 10 minutes go like that and you were able to really observe your thoughts and let them go. And other days it’s going to be a hot mess, and you’re going to walk away and be like that was a disaster, but hey, you learn something with those disastrous moments as well,” says Rilinger.
Seek help. “There are tons of apps out there that can help you. It gives you a little bit more structure within those 10 minutes. And I find that very helpful when you’re first getting started. Like anything else, to have a little bit of guidance or to have a coach in the beginning is nice.” Try the Calm app or this 3-minute guided meditation.