See if you prefer class meditation or solo meditation
Before you dive into meditation in the location of your choice, only to discover that your mind is always wandering, try different forms of meditation. A class setting offers shared energy and guidance by a teacher. Some might find this inviting and relaxing, while others find it distracting.
On the other hand, self-meditation is less intimidating as you can be vulnerable with yourself. However, some get more distracted when there’s nobody watching over them. You can also try YouTube videos or mobile apps for a free guided meditation session at home.
Find the right time
Everything has its season – meditation included. Even though yoga advocates for peace and tranquillity, it can be hard to always stay calm throughout the day. Pick a time of day where you feel relaxed and not rushed, so you can really immerse yourself into your meditation practice.
If you like sleeping in, it might be better to avoid meditating in the morning because you’ll be thinking about the time and whether you’re running late. If you sleep early, avoid meditating at night as you might be too sleepy to concentrate.
Sitting with yourself can be boring or awkward at first. You might be irritated when you don’t get into deep meditation immediately or get distracted often. But that is part of the process.
There is also nothing wrong with simply breathing. That is still great for your health. It is not necessary to dive into a super deep meditation that is tear-jerking or thought-provoking every time. In fact, frequent intense meditation sessions could take a toll on your emotional health. Take it slow, and you will eventually learn how to control your mind, breath, and body.
Don’t silence your thoughts
When starting to meditate, many people think that they have to calm their minds by stopping their thoughts. But that’s not really possible, is it? The idea isn’t to switch your brain off, but to switch your awareness on.
Let your thoughts come, then let them go. Listen to sounds, and just let them be. Hear your breath, and make your body and mind become one. This awareness will help you pay attention only to yourself and what you are doing in that moment. With practice, you’ll learn to reach a state where no thoughts, sounds or movement can distract you.
Attend a meditation class to learn the basics
At the Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga (SSMY), Sriman Japadas leads free group meditation classes on weekday evenings. During a one-hour session, he will guide you through meditation techniques you can use anywhere. The class schedule varies depending on his availability. Visit the SSMY Facebook page for the latest updates.
Do meditation exercises in the morning
When you’re just starting, it’s better to practise meditation in the morning before you get thrown into the daily hustle and bustle. Doing so will help you focus and prepare yourself mentally for the day’s work. As you progress, you will find it easier to meditate anytime and anywhere.
Don’t overthink the process or rush into it
In our daily lives, we subject ourselves to deadlines as well as strict and tangible measurements, so it’s natural for a beginner to want to measure themselves against a certain perceived standard, and rush to get there. However, this is counterproductive, and you would lose the essence of meditating. Take your time, and remember to breathe.
Do not compare your practice with others
Meditation is a personal journey. It’s like reading a book about yourself, so you shouldn’t compare who you are to someone else, as it will distract you from true self-discovery.
While meditation is meant to centre your mind and body, especially during stressful times, doing meditation during those high-stress periods can hinder your focus instead. Start out with short sessions during your preferred time in the day, and when you get more comfortable, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned to tackle your stress.
(Text: Carissa Wong, SHAPE / Additional reporting: Natalya Molok)