Of all of the questions I'm asked about meditation, the one that I hands-down receive most frequently is : HOW DO I ESTABLISH A HOME MEDITATION PRACTICE?
Let's level with each other: We have access to meditation apps up the wazoo, right there on our smartphones. We might even have a spotty silent practice of our own.
And yet. And yet...
Getting into a groove with it is a different story.
I've even heard a number of accounts from lovely humans who have weaponized their meditation practice against themselves as further proof that they "just cannot get their shirt together".
Or the classic -- "I just get too busy".
(No really though, I feel you on this one.)
When this is the case, even meditation can feel like just another chore that we have to fit into the minuscule crevices of our calendars that are not already spoken for.
Honestly, what a drag.
In the spirit of back-to-school season, I offer you a classic:
Three Forms of Consistency- traditional guidance points for how to make our home practice both joyful and 'sticky'.
Kind of like a Blowpop.
#1 :: Create a consistent space where you meditate.
The analogy that I’ve heard my husband use is that if we had to assemble our bed every single night before we went to bed, none of us would do it. Literally none of us. We would all just be sleeping on the floor. Because can you imagine needing to assemble a space each time you wanted to engage in a specific activity there? Nope.
Having a dedicated space to practice can be really powerful — it’s a large part of why going to a meditation center is so helpful. Meditation is the only thing that happens in that dedicated space, and you can feel it. The space supports the activity. One suggestion here is to make your meditation space as “magnetizing” as possible— aka, so undeniably lovely that you honestly want to be there. This can be as simple as having a dedicated corner with a meditation cushion that you really love, completed by a small table with fresh flowers or dried lavender. Or add some crystals, aspirational images, a candle. Make it simple, make it sacred -- You do you.
#2 :: Choose a consistent time of day that you meditate.
This one is tricky for a lot of us, however I’ve always found that the routine of practicing every morning frees up my mental space from the cycle of wondering when I’ll fit it in, thinking about how I need to practice throughout the day, and then inevitably feeling bad when it doesn’t happen. Because: time is slippery.
Something that can be really helpful is to link our meditation practice on to a pre-existing ritual or routine: if you know that you go through the same steps every morning or every evening, synching your practice into this routine makes it “stick” more easily. For example, I practice while my coffee is brewing. There is never a morning when I don’t make coffee because I am a fiend.
I also know many people who practice the RPM method… Rise. Pee. Meditate. The bonus of this method is that by prioritizing practice first thing in the morning, we're then more able to approach everything else in our day from a more sane, spacious, stable place. Sanity for the win.
# 3:: Set a consistent amount of time that you meditate.
So, meditation practice is a little bit like brushing one’s teeth — that fresh feeling only lasts for so long and then it starts to get a little gnarly in there. This is why it’s advised to do it daily. From this same perspective, it's considered more beneficial to practice meditation for short periods every day (or most days, don’t be too hard on yourself if you skip one) rather than practicing for an hour and a half, once a week.
Ten minutes is a really great place to start… and then incrementally bump the time up every two weeks or so. 10 minutes daily. And then 15 minutes. And then 20. No more, no less. It sounds silly, but committing fully to the exact same amount of time every day trains our minds to relax into that time frame. Even if you want to practice longer — stick with your 10 minutes. Consider this a practice in both boundaries and commitment.
On this same note, please don’t feel like you’ll eventually get to a point where you’re totally neglecting your life because now you have to meditate for 50 minutes every single morning while the cat screams for breakfast and the kids oversleep. I know many people who have capped their meditation sessions off at 20 - 30 minutes a day (with some skipped days) and have reaped all of the benefits of the practice.
*ACCOUNTABILITY. [ The silent + potent 4th form of consistency ]
On the note of how to keep practice from becoming a drag or adding to busy-ness, it can be super helpful to have other people in your life who also meditate and check in with you about your practice from time to time. This might mean finding a local meditation center or working with someone 1-on-1 or even on-boarding some friends or lovers to meditate also, so that you can talk about what you’re experience is like together.
When it comes to Vedic meditation, the initiation to get your mantra and even begin a meditation practice is anywhere from $1200 - $1800 depending on who gives you your mantra. Guess how many Vedic practitioners that I know who meditate EVERY. DANG. DAY. Twice a day. For 20 minutes a pop? All of them. Why? Because they just spent a small fortune on their practice so you bet your bottom feeders that they’re going to use it. They have skin in the game.
And that’s the power of accountability. x