Meditation Basics: The three things you need to start meditating today

You’re sold on the amazing benefits of meditation! You’re ready to radically change your life 7 minutes of stillness at a time! You think you can do this probably almost every day!

Photo by    dorota dylka

Photo by dorota dylka

Well, good news, my eager little dove. You are probably closer to a monk-like state of zen than you thought.

  • You don’t need fancy athleisure clothes (or even Target-brand ones).

  • You don’t need incense or oils or salt lamps.

  • You don’t a temple in India, a beachside resort, or an old-growth forest.

  • It’s nice to have a cushion or a dedicated place for meditation, but you really don’t need those either.

If you want to start meditating, it’s honestly as easy as sitting still.

Here are the bare essentials you need to get started:

1

A timer.

You don’t have to sit and meditate indefinitely. Set a timer, and free your mind from worrying about how much longer you need to meditate. The alarm will ring when it’s over. You can use your phone or your alarm clark or your oven timer. But I’m a fan of Insight Timer, a free app that has lots of cool meditation stuff, but mostly an awesome timer.

OR

A guided meditation.

If your mind is especially busy, let somebody else talk you through it. Email me, and I’ll send you a recording of mine. You can also access a bunch of really good ones with Insight Timer.

2

A quiet-ish place where you can be alone. 

If you are a parent, I know what you are thinking: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Good one, Laura! 

For real though. You can carve out 7 minutes while they’re napping or watching Elmo or shaking salt all over the couch. 
Even if you don’t have kids, I know you are busy. 7 minutes though. You can find this. I BELIEVE IN YOU.

3

A comfortable position. 

You can sit in the stereotypical cross legged pose if that’s comfortable for you, but I find that it KILLS my back. Here are some alternatives:

On your butt on a chair: Sit with your back straight and your feet flat against the floor. If you can raise your hips a bit higher than your knees, that’s ideal. You may need to stack up a couple of pillows under your butt for that.

On your back on a bed: This is my preferred meditation position, because I’m in love with comfort and also my back is a mess. Lie on your back with your palms facing up (if that’s comfortable). Put a pillow under your knees if that feels good. The downside of this position is that if you get really comfortable you might fall asleep. Not always a bad thing.

On your back on a mat: Same as previous, only on a mat not a bed. I only do this when there’s no bed or I’m all sweaty from just having done yoga. 

On your back on a mat with your legs up on a chair: This is heaven if you have low back problems. 

On your butt on a bolster or some blocks: Probably you don’t have these things just laying around the house, but maybe you do or maybe you have access to a yoga studio? You can use some couch cushions or a bunch of pillows if you don’t. This one's nice if your hips are tight. This is true for most of us, which is why just sitting on the floor is generally quite uncomfortable for beginning meditators.

That’s it!

Now you have everything you need. Get to it. And let me know how it goes.