Essential Tips for Frequent Meditators
By Lauren Laporte
If you have been meditating regularly for quite a while, then you’ve probably already overcome the most common meditation problems by now, including restlessness, boredom and doubt, and you most likely already have enough commitment, discipline and perseverance to continue with this mindful practice. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new and deepen your meditation practice even further by doing so. Here are some of the most essential tips for frequent meditators:
Focus on your breathing
Most adults use their upper chest for breathing, instead of their stomach, which is why even some frequent meditators tend to have problems adopting more appropriate breathing techniques. But when it comes to meditation and yoga, the best option is diaphragmatic breathing, which oxygenates the blood better and helps calm the mind. Once you get used to diaphragmatic breathing, it will become your default breathing pattern for the whole day, and not just the meditation session.
Both abdominal breathing and diaphragmatic breathing are better than breathing through your upper chest. Yogis have known this for thousands of years, and lately science has been catching up as to the health benefits of this practice.
Be mindful of your posture
The mind and body are connected and they influence each other in endless ways. The posture you take can help your concentration or act as a distraction, or even cause certain health issues. The ideal position for meditation is seated down on the cushion on the floor, without leaning on your spine. The key element of this posture is having the spine fully erect and unsupported from the pelvis to the neck, and your arms and legs relaxed. As we are not used to sitting unsupported, it’s important to keep your back straight in order to develop the back muscles and improve your overall posture, as well as spine health.
The experienced monks and yogis spent centuries trying out different postures, and found that sitting in what we know as “meditation posture” is the one that helps us focus the most. That is the reason why we sit down in a specific posture – your mind affects your body, but your body also affects your mind.
Take care of your knees
Even though the Lotus might be one of the most favorable positions for meditation, forcing the legs into the Lotus is one of the most dangerous things you can do while meditating, as many meditators seriously injure their knees this way. Often the main culprit is the lack of flexibility and an overenthusiastic meditator pushing themselves into the pose.
Fortunately, there are many techniques that can help you perform this position safely, the best of them being the regular practice of yoga. Helping you improve your flexibility, work on your core strength and even helping you deepen your meditation practice, yoga is the best solution for knee injuries. And the best part is, it doesn’t require anything more than some quality gym wear, a mat, and some dedication and perseverance.
Optimize your diet
Your mind and body are connected in more ways than one, which is why it is so important to optimize your diet in order to aid and deepen your meditation practice. A crucial aspect of any meditation diet is that you begin to see food as energy, and consider whether the food contains the vital life force that you need before eating any meal. Some foods are filled with energy, while others tend to dull the mind.
That is why the best option would be to opt for sattwic foods, those that are full of life force, and that give you strength, energy and joy. These foods increase your sense of peace, and make you more intelligent, creative and expansive. This category includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Take mindfulness with you
Even the most frequent of meditators often fail to remember that mindfulness is a practice that should be incorporated in every aspect of their life, instead of only during their meditation practice. If you want to implement mindfulness into your life, before you finish meditating and go about your day, try to form a clear idea of what you are going to do next. Whether you decide to take a relaxing shower, make a nutritious breakfast or even take your children to school, try to carry the mindfulness you cultivated during your meditation session with you into the next task and throughout the rest of your day.
Whether you are doing meditation for stress relief or spiritual enlightenment, this interesting information and essential advice will hopefully help you deepen your mindful practice even further.
Lauren Laporte is a professional health writer fascinated by the mind-body connection and the growing evidence showing just how much if affects our health and overall quality of life. Her writing is an aim to spread the wisdom to as many people as are willing and capable of understanding, but never without the support of science and the amazing research informing from the threshold of the human mind.