Many say that they’re going to start meditating every day.
Yet as their day progresses, life’s busyness takes over and they end up doing nothing, procrastinating or substituting it with something else. This can be a very destructive and disappointing process.
As multiple studies reveal, our willpower depletes throughout the day.
This means that it’s much easier to start a new habit (Eg. your meditation practice) in the morning. After a long, hard day at the office, you’re less likely to have the will power to commit to doing it..
Dedicate a time as part of your morning routine to get it done. This will not only set you up well for the day but will ensure that you don’t spend the rest of your day feeling guilty due to putting it off.
If mornings really aren’t your thing, then the second best option is to do your meditation just before bed time. This can help to relax you and improve sleep quality as well.
4. Stop Striving for Perfection
Meditation tip number four is to avoid striving for perfection.
This was the one that I kept getting caught up with. I’d see instagram or pinterest images and would wonder – why don’t I look like that? They look so serene, yet here I am unable to get into a comfortable position and finding myself constantly distracted in thought.
You’re talking to a friend who suddenly starts talking about a topic you have absolutely no idea about. The room noise is also so loud that you can’t hear a thing they’re saying.
You find yourself watching their lips moving, hoping to make out some words, but you’re getting zero. Nothing is processing. You have absolutely no idea what’s going on but don’t have the heart to say:
“MATE, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!!”.
All you’re left to do is smile and nod like a little bobble head dog….
Well… until recently, that was me with Chakra Meditation.
I’ve been practicing meditation for years, yet I’ve always avoided Chakras.
I just didn’t get it and the abstract-ness of the title scared me away. For ages I just didn’t want a bar of it BUT last week I finally ripped the band-aid off!
I started investigating what this “chakra” business was all about and now I GET IT! I’d made it so much more complicated than it actually is.
The things we make up in our heads ey…
For all those out there who have been feeling in a similar boat – I got you brother!
Today, prepare to have your mind unscrambled as I demystify the world of chakra meditation, in a way that makes sense for beginners. Let’s call it Chakras for Beginners…
Chakra Meditation – What the heck is it?
Alrighty so let’s dumb things right down to basics shall we?
When we talk about a “chakra” just visualise a coloured disc or wheel of energy positioned along your spine in various places. It’s kind of like a swirling, glowing or pulsating energy.
This invisible energy, often referred to as “Prana”, is considered the vital life force and is believed to keep us vibrant, healthy and alive.
Chakra meditation has been practiced for thousands of years with the key purpose being to target blocked chakras in the body.
Unblocking chakras in the body is said to:
Cleanse, clear and balance our your chakras to promote balance in the body
Bring the body into a more relaxed and fluid state
Improve overall physical and mental well-being.
As a beginner, it’s usually good to start first with guided chakra meditation that focuses on bringing your whole system into balance rather than focusing on one particular area.
With time and experience you’ll naturally get better at detecting individual imbalances and focusing your attention on specific chakras, but for now let’s keep things as basic as possible.
What is a Chakra?
There are 7 main chakras located from the base of the spine (root) to the crown of your head.
Each of the chakras are located where there are major nerves and organ bundles along the spine. They also tend to be in areas where we hold onto emotional, spiritual and psychological states of being.
This is why it is important to promote balance in our chakras and keep them aligned and fluid. If there is a blockage someone in the body, one or more of the chakras is likely to be affected.
As you may have seen from all the pretty rainbow pictures, each chakra has been assigned a colour to represent the type of energy that it is.
I must admit, it does look very pretty!!
There are some other chakras positioned around the body, but we’re not going to worry about those ones for now.
1. Root Chakra (Muladhara) 2. Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana) 3. Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura) 4. Heart Chakra (Anahata) 5. Throat Chakra (Visshuddha) 6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna) 7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Chakras Meditation – What do the seven Chakras do?
While there are hundreds of different chakras in the body (small and larger energy centres), in the early stages of meditation it’s best to just focus on the seven core chakras.
Let’s run though the different chakras from the base of your spine to the top of your head. The reason for this is that in most chakra meditations, you’ll start at the bottom and work up.
1) The Root Chakra (Muladhara)
Location: Base of your spine
Role: Linked to stability, security and our basic survival needs (food, shelter, connection).
When in balance: You feel safe, grounded, secure, fearless and energetic.
When out of balance: You may feel anxious, uncertain, stressed or stuck. It is also believed that issues with your root chakra can cause some physical disturbances (eg. digestion problems).
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation: Imagine a red growing ball at the base of your spine. As you focus on that areas take a moment to ask yourself “Do I feel grounded? Do I feel anxious or stressed?
Location: Lower abdomen between your belly button and pubic bone
Role: Linked to pleasure (sexuality), emotions and imagination
When in balance: You tend to feel more creative, frisky, sensual and sexual and in tune with our emotions. Our relationships also flourish when in balance too and you may feel more open to new experiences.
When out of balance: You may find yourselves suppressing emotions, experiencing turmoil in our relationships, we struggle to communicate how we feel and our creativity feels blocked.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation: Picture an orange wheel of fluid energy in your lower abdomen. Visualise this energy centre pulsing, spinning or expanding inside your body. How do you feel? How is your relationship with yourself? How are your relationships with others?
Other things that can help to balance it out:
Fluid & expressive dancing
Circular pelvic movements
Eat a mixture of grounding foods and also foods that give you pleasure whilst nourishing your body
Foods of a similar colour range
3) Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)
Location: Centre of our belly
Role: Linked with digestion and will power. Think of it like the “fire” and passion within us.
When in balance: You may feel wise, self-confident, energetic and emotionally in tune with your body. You may also notice that your digestion is really good too.
When out of balance: You may feel tired, weak, have low energy or motivation. You may also experience poor digestion such as constipation, or find yourself craving bad foods due to reduce will power. Having a bad diet or feeling hurt by others can cause this chakra to go out of balance.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation: Imagine a yellow wheel of energy pulsating in your belly. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: Do you feel in tune with your emotions? How’s your confidence levels? How’s your digestion currently?
Other things that can help to balance it out:
Eat foods that will ease digestion and are warm to “stimulate the fire” (eg. Sweet potato / lemon)
Avoid eating super cold foods and water
Start the day with a warm lemon water or tea to stimulate digestion
4) Heart Chakra (Anahata)
Location: Centre of Chest (not on the heart itself)
Role: Compassion, love and beauty
When in balance: You may feel a sense of compassion, empathy and love towards others and yourself. You’re able to give and receive love willingly. You may also feel deeply connected in your relationships and open to change.
When out of balance: You may find it difficult to relate to others or find yourself withdrawing. You may also feel a sense of envy or jealousy towards someone for little reason or feel highly co-dependent with someone else.
Some also suggest that imbalances with this chakra can also be linked with respiratory problems and high blood pressure.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation:
Focus on the centre of your chest. Can you visualise a green energy wheel there? Take a moment to ask yourself:? Am I expressing and showing love towards others? Am I experiencing a sense of co-dependency or feel envious or jealous of someone else that needs to be addressed?
Things that can also help to balance it out:
Lift up with the heart, without arching back
Foods – Dark chocolate (raw cacao), grapes.
5) Throat Chakra (Visshuddha)
Role: Expression, communication and using our voice.
When in balance: You are able to effectively communicate with others, speak your truth and express your opinions.
When out of balance: You may find yourself either speaking too much or unable to express what you want to say in a concise manner. You may feel slightly isolated, find it difficult to listen to others and can sometimes lead to swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat, hormonal impbalances or even break outs. Sometimes we will binge eat because we don’t know what to do with our words so tend to stuff them down with food, water or alcohol.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation: Visualise a blue energy wheel pulsating in your throat. Follow similar steps as mentioned above.
Other things that can help to balance it out:
Singing in the shower / car
Neck rolls and ask – are you speaking true to yourself, are you standing up for yourself
Foods – try eating blueberries or other brown & blue foods
6) Third Eye Chakra (Ajna)
Colour: Indigo / purple
Location: In between the eyebrows
Role: Related to intuition, foresight, imagination and interconnectedness
When in balance: You may feel spiritually connected, feel inspired, have strong intuition and a clear vision. When in balance it allows you to see how the world around you and your place within it.
When out of balance: You may feel stuck and your vision for yourself isn’t clear. You may struggle to see the big picture or have clarity. Sometimes you can also feel less open to anything outside of the usual, experience brain fog or headaches for little reason.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation: Focus your eyes on an imaginary position between your eyebrows about a hand distance from your head.
Other things that can help to balance it out:
Foods – Lighter raw foods and foods that are located closer to the sun (eg. Apples & fruits)
7) Crown Chakra (Sahasrara)
Colour: Purple / White
Location: Top of the head
Role: Gives us access to a higher state of consciousness and allows us to get in touch with our “spirit”.
When in balance: You may notice better brain function, wisdom, realisations and a sense of bliss. They also suggest that it is linked with the performance of the endocrine and nervous system.
When out of balance: When the crown chakra is out of balance you may feel disconnected with your body, closed-minded, anxious or “up in the clouds.” You may feel ungrounded and a desire to get bac to earth.
Balancing it out through Chakra Meditation:
Focus on the crown of your head and visualise a purple energy wheel there. How do you feel? Do you feel anxious or scattered? Do you feel wise and in control?
Other things that can also help to balance it out:
Try corpse pose (Shivasana)
Engage in things related to touch (Eg. Massages, cuddles, etc)
Eat lighter foods, and some grounding foods
Tuning into your Chakras Through Chakra Meditation
Chakra meditation is the best way to stay in tune with your chakras and bring them into a state of balance and harmony because it gives you the chance to check in on how you’re feeling (mentally, physical, emotionally and spiritually).
It can take some practice to master.
If you’re finding it difficult to visualise or sense a certain chakra, don’t lose hope or feel frustrated. Just try to reflect on what may be going on there and “where am I feeling most out of balance?”
Maybe there are blockages that need to be addressed in that location, so you need to spend some time getting back in touch with your body. You can also try journaling as well or using matching coloured crystals to help you with your visualisation.
When some of your chakras become blocked, closed, or imbalanced it can close off to the natural flow of energy through your body. This means that we sometimes compensate with the other more functional chakras.
This is a problem because it can cause an imbalance of hyperactive and underperforming chakras.
Chakra meditation can be really beneficial because it helps us learn to control how our energy flows through our core seven chakras.
If you’d like to try out some other types of meditation you can read up on them here.
Here are some ideas you can try if feeling any of the below. If you’re feeling:
Ungrounded or anxious, try sitting in meditation, journal and eat grounding foods.
Disconnected from your sexuality, spend time with your hands on your womb, go dancing, do something creative like painting or give yourself a massage. Maybe take some down time too.
Heavy or lethargic, try to incorporate higher intensity exercise into your routine and some light fresh foods.
When in doubt just come back to your breath, slow down and show yourself some love & compassion. Take a moment to look within and let your body reveal what areas need focus and healing.
If you’re finding it really difficult, just remember to be kind to yourself and have patience. Doing it the first time round can feel super weird. Sometimes starting with a guided meditation is a good way to go for some added direction.
So, there you have it – chakras for beginners.
You should now have a basic understanding of the 7 core chakras in the body as well as the basics of chakra meditation.
There may still be some things you don’t know or have remained unanswered, but at least you should now have a basic insight into what it’s all about.
To understand Mindfulness, the main thing you need to know is that it relates to focusing you attention on the present moment.
Through mindfulness you develop a greater awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
Your mind will naturally process the information around you, but rather than consuming your thoughts with these things, you simply focus your attention on something else.
This could be something that you find calming. For example, your breath.
Becoming more mindful can enhance your life by helping you to deal more effectively with stressful situations, improve your mood, be more compassionate, and appreciative of the things around you.
At the end of this article, I will introduce you to the Mindfully Happy Handbook. Download your copy today and learn more about how you can live a happier life through mindfulness, gratitude and meditation.
How to Incorporate it into Your life
There are many ways to incorporate Mindfulness into your life – that’s why it’s so AWESOME!! Mindfulness is very versatile!
To become more mindful in your life, here are some basic steps you can follow:
Choose something to focus on.
The natural rhythm of your breath is often the easiest to start with.
Tune into your body to see how you feel and to observe any thoughts running through your mind.
Remember to only observe them and then return your focus back to your breath.
Engage in your senses and surroundings.
What can you smell? What can you hear?
The concept of mindfulness is really simple. However, focusing on your breath without getting distracted can be challenging.
If you find yourself struggling with this, remember that it just takes some practice. Therefore, be kind to yourself and avoid getting frustrated or giving up. Instead, return your attention back to your breath and start again.
So, that’s mindfulness…Let’s now talk about “Mindfulness Meditation”.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is simply a type of meditation that uses mindfulness principles during its practice.
The two concepts are sometimes intertwined which can make things confusing at times.
During Mindfulness Meditation, you follow similar steps as those mentioned above (focusing on the present, your breath, clearing your mind and observing wandering thoughts), but, it is usually done for a specific amount of time and not whilst multi-tasking.
Instead, you usually adopt a certain pose to meditate in – whether it’s a seated, standing or lying down position.
Generally, the most important and challenging part of Meditation, is turning it into a daily habit. Some days it can take some self-discipline and determination, but I reassure you, commitment and consistency is key!
Today, we have a guest post from Adrianne at Your Happiness Quest about 5 ways you can incorporate Mindfulness into your daily life. Adrianne helps women to beat depression and overwhelm by teaching them how to grow a positive mindset and build the confidence to chase their dreams.
Today, I’m going to give you further insight into Mindfulness and how you can incorporate it into your daily life.
Mindfulness is truly great for everyone, which is why I want to show you how you can do it! AND without it being a burden on your time.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation.
The art of mindfulness is about learning to be simultaneously self-aware and aware of your surroundings.
Everyone should learn how to practice mindfulness to both enhance your daily life and help brighten your day when you are feeling down. It is one of the most important tools you can add to your mental health ‘toolbox.’
The great thing about it is that we can apply mindfulness throughout our daily lives.
Mindfulness can be broken into a few basic components which can be applied to vaious areas of your daily life.
First you want to choose a primary focus; usually breath, but the connection with your body and the ground is another common focus.
Next tune into your body and how you feel.
Finally, focus on your senses and surroundings.
This will change somewhat depending on your activity. Practicing mindfulness is easy, but like any meditation exercise, remember it is a practice so be kind to yourself and simply return to your chosen focus when you get distracted and make mistakes.
In this 3-Day FREE Meditation eCourse you I will help to simplify things by giving you an introduction to:
Health Benefits of Meditation
How Meditation can help you manage stress & anxiety
The importance of regular practice, and
Other Meditation Tips for beginners
Benefits of Mindfulness
Everyone can benefit from mindfulness meditation activities, and you only need to practice a few minutes a day to reap the benefits.
One study found that the more people meditated, the greater the benefits, indicating that it has cumulative effects over time. So the more time you dedicate to it now, the more you will benefit in the future. You can start to feel the benefits immediately, but like a muscle, the more you practice, the stronger you get.
Five Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life:
I love mindful walking because you can do it anywhere, around the house, garden, neighborhood, park, office, literally everywhere.
1. Firstly, Just focus on feeling the ground beneath you. Now focus on each step. Feel how your feet move against the ground. Heel first then toes. Is the ground soft or hard? Are you walking on grass or sand? Notice the grounding sensation that having your feet on the ground has.
2. Now focus on the sounds around you. There might be birds chirping, traffic driving past, trees swaying in the wind, lawnmowers humming. Listen carefully to what you hear. Is there anything in the far distance you didn’t notice at first?
3. Feel the breeze against your skin and in your hair. What sensations does it create? Warm, crisp, refreshing, chilling?
4. Finally, breathe. In and out through your nose and out your mouth. What can you smell? Remember to stop and smell the flowers you come by. Feel the fresh air while you breathe in and out.
Anytime you find yourself getting distracted, move back to feeling the ground beneath your feet. Remember to relax and observe. You could even listen to a few podcasts as you go along!
Mindful eating is about slowing down to savor the presentation, scents, and flavors of your meal. It’s about enjoying every bite to the fullest. Food can be one of the most pleasurable daily activities. It fuels us, it can enhance our energy levels, and if we’re honest here, it is just downright fun.
Mindful eating also helps us to become more aware of what we are eating and how much we are eating. If you want to enjoy food more, lose weight and feel healthier than mindful eating is for you! Yes, I did say lose weight. This depends on what and how you eat but typically when we eat too fast we overeat. It takes a little time for our stomachs to register we are full. When we slow our eating we allow time for our brains to register we are full so we eat less.
Mindful eating is simple, just remember to slow down and enjoy your meals.
Before you dig in, notice the presentation, the colors, ingredients, and scents.
Take one bite at a time and note the taste and texture. Is it smooth or crunchy? Does it melt in your mouth? Sweet or savory? Before you take your next bite note how you feel. Warm, refreshed, satisfied, hungry, full?
Every time you catch yourself getting distracted and eating too quickly pause, take a break and breathe for a moment. Go back to noticing your food and how you feel.
As with all mindfulness practices, remember to be patient with yourself, relax, observe & enjoy the pleasures of eating.
This is an excellent chance to practice mindfulness. You have some time to yourself without anyone disturbing you.
First, take a few deep breaths and notice how the water feels on your skin. Is it steamy or refreshing?
Showering and bathing is a very sensual time. What does the soap smell like? Listen to the water splashing or swishing around you. Tune in and enjoy the peace.
When you get out, stay in the zone. Notice how the fluffy towel feels. Take a moment to pamper yourself with body brushing &/or a full-body moisturizer.
As well as practicing this for a couple of minutes every time you wash you can also set aside self-care time for a more extended bath. Light some candles, add some bath salts and bubble bath, brew your favorite herbal tea, put on some soothing music, breathe and relax.
4. While waiting in line
Waiting in line can be one of the more monotonous parts of the day. Waiting in line to buy your groceries, waiting to bank a cheque, waiting in line at the clothing store. Why not turn it into a chance to get some meditation practice in?
Take a moment to focus on your breath, slow down and clear your mind. Breathe in and out through your nose. Feel your stomach and chest expand and contract with your breath.
Now just like in the walking mindfulness practice tune in to feel the grounding sensation of your feet connecting with the ground.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Notice any sounds or smells? What is the temperature like? Is there a breeze? How is the lighting in the room?
Then when you are next start to bring your breath back to normal. You will find the time has passed by and instead of feeling bored you feel refreshed.
5. During household chores
Just like waiting in line this can be a monotonous task, or you can turn it into a moment of peace. Your focus will depend on what you are doing but as we have discussed earlier take a moment to slow down and focus on your breathing. Then tune into your surroundings, notice the physical sensations you are experiencing, your movement, the temperature, the breeze and anything else you notice. Next pay attention to the sounds and smells of your environment.
When you are ready to come out of your heightened state of focus reverse the process. Focus on your surroundings, then go back to focusing on your breath for a few moments. At the end of any mindfulness practice always remember to note how you are feeling now compared to before you started.
Ready to Get Started with Mindfulness and/or Meditation?
When learning to meditate, maintaining concentration and preventing your mind drifting off into a parade of thoughts can be challenging.
Sometimes, listening to peaceful music can help to relax and calm your mind.
This is turn allows you to experience greater quality meditation sessions and therefore, reap greater health benefits from your sessions.
Here are some awesome & FREE Yoga & Meditation Music Playlists to help you get started.
I personally use Spotify for my music and this is where I came across these playlists.
But, I think you should be able to find them on Apple Music too.
1) Insight Timer (Free phone app)
This app is truly awesome for a whole range of reasons. Personally, I’m a huge fan!
Not only does it have a great range of meditation and yoga music you can choose from, but you also get access to a whole range of guided meditations – All for FREE!
These guided meditations are fantastic if you’re a beginner and have no idea where to start with your sessions or find it very easy to get distracted if not listening to something in the background.
The app also has an in-built meditation timer which allows you to set a time limit for your sessions. So, rather than being woken up abruptly by your phone’s alarm, can you choose your own Tibetan singing bowl that you’d like to use.
If meditating for over 5 minutes, you can also add interval bells to let you know where you’re up to during your practice. This means that you don’t need to open your eyes and pause your session to check your phone. Awesome! I know right…
This meditation playlist is available on Spotify and possibly Apple Music.
It’s great if you’re after some peaceful and calming music during your meditation or yoga practice. It consists of slow instrumental music – like that which day spas play when you’re getting a massage.
It’s super popular with lots of followers, so I would think that they update it quite regularly.
3) Meditation Music Zone – Deep Meditation: Relaxation, Sleep, Massage, Yoga, Meditation
This is another Spotify playlist which is again awesome for getting you into your meditation zone.
This playlist also consists of calming instrument music including piano and guitar, as well as sounds of nature. During your practice you’ll hear waves crashing, wind flowing, birds, rain and also a range of different binaural beats.
A great thing about this playlist is that they songs are actually named to match your practice. For example, they have songs titled: Reduce Stress, Reiki Healing, Mindfulness Meditation, Inner Balance, Relax & Meditate, Inner peace etc.
4) Music for Deep Meditation – Chanting Om
This meditation music playlist has a whole mix of different kinds of background music that you can meditate or practice yoga to.
From calming instrumental background music to music with chants and singing this playlist can help to add some diversity to your Spotify playlists.
If you’ve been meditating for a while and are really interested in the different Chakras of the body, many of these songs have titles related specific Chakras you may be focusing on.
5) Meditate to the Sounds of Nature
This meditation music playlist is awesome when you’re craving a certain type of weather but the current season is not in your favour.
You can listen to tranquil music that contains birds chirping, running river water, thunder storms with heavy rain and many other forest noises in the background.
Sometimes in summer, when I’m craving the cosy sensation of being inside whilst listening to a big thunderstorm , I’ll chuck this beautiful playlist on.
This meditation music playlist is also really chill and tranquil. You can also find it easily by searching on Spotify.
Regardless of whether you’d like to listen to it during meditation or as background music before bed, this music contains some lovely instrumental pieces to help you unwind and focus.
I listen to this one quite regularly myself and have it as a saved playlist on my Spotify account, so I can reference it quickly.
7) Buddhist Temple of Tranquility ZEN
The music in this playlist is nice if you’re looking for relaxation and calming music with peaceful instrumentals, sounds of nature and some Tibetan bowls in the background.
It is pretty similar to some of the playlist above, but is another options if you want to mix up the playlists that you listen to each day.
These 7 FREE yoga & meditation music playlists will make great additions to your meditation practice by helping to calm your mind, improve your focus and help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated after your practice.
If you’d like to learn more about meditation in general, you may be interested in checking out some of these articles too:
As a beginner to meditation, I started to think that maybe:
I’m just doing meditation wrong
My back muscles are too weak for the seated positions
I have really bad posture
Seated meditation just isn’t for me
It wasn’t until I started doing some research that I realised I wasn’t alone. Many other people had been experiencing the same problem.
This is when I was introduced to the concept of a Zafu Meditation Cushion.
What is a Zafu Meditation Cushion?
A Zafu meditation cushion is simply a round elevated pillow that you sit on during meditation.
They are designed to enhance comfort, spinal alignment, and provide adequate positioning for people whilst meditating.
They are usually made with heavy cloth and filled with buckwheat or Kapok (a fluffy material) This helps to ensure that they have the right amount of resistance and height to support your body during your practice.
You can get all different types of Zafu Meditation Cushions that vary in size, shape and colour.
Here are some examples of different Zafu Cushions below:
You can click on each of the images to read more about the particular meditation pillow.
How is it Different from a Household, Decorative or Sleeping Pillow?
You’re probably thinking – “But can’t I just use a traditional household cushion or bed pillow??”
My answer is no, not really.
Zafu Meditation cushions are different to your traditional household pillow because they are specifically designed for meditation purposes.
They are made with special material that provides the right resistance against your body weight, compared to other types of pillows that just flatten or sink beneath you.
They are designed to raise your body off the ground at the right height to promote comfort during your meditation practice.
Seriously, I have tried all the household cushions in the world, yet none of them relieved my back pain like the Zafu Meditation Cushion did.
Back in the day, I remember even trying to stack up four different cushions on top of each other for my practice.
I convinced myself that they’d flatten to the perfect height once I sat on them. This will be a GREAT idea…. I thought!
I’ll tell you now, not only did I look absolutely ridiculous, but it was a complete and utter failure.
Trust me, I’ve tried everything in the book to avoid buying a meditation pillow. But, after finally caving and buying one, I would never go back!!
I have been using mine for a few months now and it was definitely worth the buy.
How Zafu Meditation Cushions Relieve Back Pain During Meditation
During meditation, an ideal position should offer the following beneficial characteristics:
The ability to remain stable and balanced
Remain upright unsupported
By raising you off the ground a few inches, the Zafu Meditation Cushion helps to tilt your pelvis forward; encouraging the natural curvature in your spine and preventing slouching or overarching.
This prompts you to naturally adopt a better posture and feel more supported. It also reduces the tension on certain parts of your back and the straining of certain muscles to keep your back upright whilst unsupported.
If you’re not very flexible or experience pain in their knees or hips when sitting in seated positions, these pillows can also provide some relief for that too.
How to use a Zafu Meditation Cushion
Using a Zafu Meditation Pillow is actually really simple.
All you really need to do is:
Position it directly on the floor or on top of a yoga mat
Sit on the edge of the pillow (not in the centre) to encourage your pelvis to tilt forward correctly. Otherwise, it’s no different to sitting on the floor.
Cross your legs into your chosen meditation pose
Take note of how your body feels and make any final adjustments
Observe how your pelvis naturally tilts forward encouraging the curvature in the spine and check that your head and neck are in alignment.
There should be a straight connecting your head to your pelvis.
Where can you buy a Zafu Meditation Cushion?
I’m sure you can probably find some boutique shops that sell meditation pillows. But to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered with that.
The perceived effort of trying to drive and shop around to find the right pillow wasn’t a big turn on for me. Instead, I bought mine online on Amazon.
It was such an easy and quick process. They also have a really great range that you can choose from – all different sizes, colours and prices.This is the Zafu Meditation Pillow that I have and it has been fantastic: REEHUT Zafu Yoga Meditation Cushion.
If you are considering buying a meditation pillow for yourself, I can 100% recommend this one too you.
I own the purple one to match in with my yoga mat (I’m a bit fussy like that).
It is a reasonable price, has an OK range of colours and is from a trusted supplier.
To counter all the stress and overwhelm we experience in our day-to-day lives, creating a space where you can you can unwind, relax and chill out is becoming more and more important.
This can be easily solved by creating your very own meditation room and space of relaxation!
A meditation room can help to relieve stress and promote better sleep, in addition to many other health benefits.
Some of you may have access to a spare room that you can transform or play around with. Others may live at home or have kids running through the house. Either way, just work with what you have available to you.
As an example, I’m still living at home with my family, so I use my bedroom as my meditation space. It’s a small area and doesn’t satisfy all of the characteristics below, but it works for me because I’m less disturbed there compared to other rooms in the house.
When creating your meditation space, there’s really no “one way” to do it.
Here are five ideas to help you create a meditation room and a relaxing space that you love.
1. Find a Relaxing and Quiet Area
The most critical consideration when creating your meditation room is to find somewhere that is quiet, relaxing and where you won’t be interrupted.
Preventing disruption and distraction during your practice will be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face with your practice.
If you have an active family or live at home with your parents, this can be challenging! But, even just somewhere small and peaceful will suffice.
It can also help to let you family or housemates know when you’re meditating, so that they’re aware not to interrupt you for that period of time.
2. Avoid Cluttered Rooms
When creating your meditation room, be as minimalist as possible. You’re trying to cleanse your mind, not overwhelm it.
Cluttered spaces are not good for meditation because they can stress you out by reminding you of all the things that need to be done…. or cleaned up.
This defeats the purpose of your meditation practice – to relax and unwind.
Also avoid meditating in an office, if you work from home.
3. Get Away From Technology
Technology is known to have many negative impacts on our health, including the amount of electromagnetic radiation and positive ions they release into the air.
Technology also has the tendency to trigger irritability and stress, which is why you want as little as possible in your Meditation Room.
If you’re using your phone for the “Insight Timer” app or for background music, that’s ok. But, if you don’t need your phone, definitely LEAVE IT AT THE DOOR!
4. The Power of Nature
Did you know? Science has revealed that people with more frequent contact with nature are genuinely happier and healthier people.
They show improved mood, greater life satisfaction, lowered stress and anxiety, improved sleep, greater concentration, mindfulness and have less head-aches than those who don’t.
This is partly because the air outside contains a great source of negative ions which are known to have amazing health benefits by purifying the air around us. These ions have been found to enhance relaxation and promote natural healing within the body.
By contrast, the air we breathe inside our houses is often deficient in negative ions, stale, dry and contaminated – Eww!
You can get a good dose of negative ions by getting out in nature
Take time out to go waterfall chasing, walk along the beach, sit outside during a thunderstorm (under cover of course) or even just get out in some sunlight. If you’re a busy bee, like many of us are, you can also get a fair dose of negative ions by adding nature in and around your house.
You can do this by:
Investing in a Himalayan Salt Lamp or Candle Holder
Adding a live pot plant to your room (strive for low maintenance plants so you can’t kill it easily )
Opening up windows and curtains to let natural light in
If you meditate early in the morning before sunrise, like I do, getting natural light to stream into your meditation room is virtually impossible. But this may suit you if you meditate during the day.
Alternatively, having a plant or a Himalayan Salt Lamp can give you with the same benefits of nature, but without having to leave the house.
Himalayan Salt Lampsare becoming increasingly popular because of their perceived health benefits including that they:
Purify the air by restoring and preserving natural air quality
Correct the imbalance of ions in our home environments
Neutralise the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) that we get in our homes due to having so many electrical devices around us
Reduce symptoms of asthma, allergies and other illnesses
Improve mood and reduce stress or anxiety symptoms
Increase energy levels
Boost serotonin levels (Happiness vibes!)
Being made of a big chunk of orange hand-carved Himalayan salt, they make for beautiful home décor as well.
I personally own two Himalayan Salt Tea-Light Candle Holders and two Himalayan Salt Lamps – Yep I know I’m crazy but they’re my newly found addiction! I find them to be soothing and relaxing, especially after a busy day at work.
If you’d like to add some natural vibes to your room, but want something low maintenance, look no further than a Himalayan Salt Lamp. I can highly recommend it.
Here’s the link to the Salt lamp I bought and have at home, if you’re interested in checking it out.
5. Aim to Satisfy All 5 Senses
It’s believed that optimal meditation is achieved when all of your senses are in harmony with one another. This is why it is important to set your room up with things that satisfy all five senses – smell, sound, sight, touch and taste.
Don’t worry, it’s simpler than it sounds.
I’ll share some ideas below to help get your creative juices flowing.
Smell can have a profound influence on your mood and stress levels during meditation.
To create an uplifting and calming environment for your practice, I highly recommend using an oil diffuser or burner with 100% pure essential oils.
You can burn different essential oil blends based on your mood or your favourite scents which can help to get into the zone and feel great about starting your practice.
If you prefer candles or incense, these can work too. Just avoid candles containing additional chemicals or fragrances.
Otherwise, you could get headaches from the fumes they release when being burned. Strive for all N.A.T.U.R.A.L instead!
Whilst meditating, try listening to some meditation music or guided meditations. They can have amazing effects on your mood and concentration.
I highly recommend“Insight Timer”. This app is FREE (which is a rarity these days) and has an awesome range of music and meditation audios that you can sort through.
Tibetan Singing Bowls are also really cool. When you tap a stick or object on them they make a beautiful ringing sound.
I have seen and heard people use them as a way to signal the start and end of their practice, but I don’t personally own one yet.
As I mentioned earlier, Himalayan Salt Lamps/Candle Holders can make great additions to your meditation room.
In addition to their diverse range of health benefits, they can be a great thing to look at during your meditation practice to improve focus and peace.
I personally love to have my Himalayan Salt candle holder in front of me whilst I meditate, so I can see and feel that warmth of the flame flickering in the dark. I find it very calming and soothing during my practice. You should give it a try too!
Alternatively, you can use a nice big candle instead (but again, make sure that it’s made of natural ingredients so you’re not releasing chemicals and fumes into the air around you
Appealing to your sense of touch can also important to improve the quality of your meditation practice.
One way to do this is to sit on a yoga mat or a Zafu cushion to help you feel more grounded and comfortable.These products can also help to prevent and relieve back pain during meditation.
If you are meditating during the colder months of Winter, a nice warm & cozy blanketcan be really helpful. It can be a simple way to improve comfort and also help you to relax during your meditation practice..
Some people also like to use mala beads, but as a beginner, I think you can get away with not having them. I suggest investing your time and money elsewhere at this stage.
Mmm my mouth is starting to water already…. which shows how powerful this sense really is!
As you get ready for your session, why not have a nice warm cup of herbal tea.
You can try a Rose, Chamomile or Lavender tea blend as these ingredients are all known for their incredible relaxation and calming properties. They would work perfectly to get you in the mood for your meditation practice.
Try to avoid teas that are high in caffeine – for example green tea. You want to feel relaxed and unwound during meditation, not restless or wide-awake.
If you’re not a big tea fan, a glass of water is a perfect substitute. It may sound a bit boring, but your body will love you for it.
So there you have it, 5 Meditation Room Ideas to help you improve the quality of your meditation practice.
I hope you have found these ideas to be helpful, encouraging and insightful. Now you can start adding some things to your meditation room!
PS. It’s ok to just add one thing gradually at a time, rather than buying multiple things at once. It just depends on your preferences, budget and of course your objectives with meditation.
To give you an idea, I personally own and use the following products in my own meditation room:
One of the questions I get from time to time is “Why should I meditate?” or “How did meditation change your life?”. In other words: “Why meditation?”.
In response, I could speak about the over 70 benefits of meditation on your health, mind, emotional life, and performance.
Sometimes that helps, but I often feel it doesn’t really communicate the real value of this practice. Personally, I didn’t start meditating because I was seeking any of those benefits – they were just very nice side effects.
At the same time, I cannot answer that question by mentioning the spiritual value of meditation, because not everyone is spiritually inclined.
Why Meditation Matters – The 4 Super Powers of Meditation
Why Meditation Matters
The real point that meditation addresses, and that makes it quite relevant and universal, is this:
You have a mind, but you are not the boss of your mind. Often, your mind is the boss of you.
Your mind is your most valuable asset. What’s going on in your mind can make you happy or miserable, successful or broken, energetic or lifeless. In short, the quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.
So, then, what is the value of meditation? It helps you to know your mind, and master your mind (gradually). And this affects everything else, in all spheres of your life.
Let me now dive in and be really specific. I’ll cover four main “skills” that meditation will give you. These are so great that I actually prefer to call them “superpowers”.
1. Zooming In
The first skill that you gain from meditation is improving your ability to focus.
Focusing means that you can zoom your attention in on anything, and sustain it there, ignoring distractions. The length of time you can sustain your attention increases with practice.
It’s quite evident how the ability to focus is essential in all spheres of life: career, education, finances, and performance (be it in work, sports, or art).
We live in times of continuous distraction – our attention span keeps getting shorter. We lack focus because so many things are auditioning for our attention, and as a result our mind easily gets dispersed everywhere.
Soon, survival of the fittest might as well mean survival of the focused…
There are also many other expressions of focusing in daily life.
Focusing allows you to:
Be more present in your daily activities, rather than getting lost in your mind
Be a better listener and communicator, because you become more present
Not fall into the trap of multitasking, enabling you to become more time and energy efficient
Enjoy more deeply the blessings of your life, however small (a good meal, time with your family, your favorite hobby, etc.)
When there are competing voices in your head (such as the voice of fear and the voice of confidence) you can zoom in and focus on the voice that is most empowering to you.
In meditation, we are training this skill every time we zoom in our attention into the object of our focus (breath, mantra, etc.).
2. Zooming Out
If zooming in gives you focus, zooming out gives you perspective.
It’s the ability to not get sucked into mental and emotional stuff. It’s the ability to see with clarity and serenity.
Oftentimes we don’t want to zoom into something, but we just can’t help it. Emotions are usually the driving force for this. They can get sticky and messy pretty quickly.
Maybe it’s a traumatic incident from your past or an addictive emotional pattern such as victimization or negative self-talk.
Perhaps everything is going well with your day until someone says something that triggers you to fall down a rabbit hole of confusion, anger, and doubt.
Or maybe it’s just your thoughts bullying you into interpreting things through the lenses of fear and pessimism.
In situations like these, zooming out comes in handy. It frees your mind, allowing you to see the bigger picture.
It won’t stop those pesky thoughts and feelings – but it will make them be more like a cup of salt thrown into the ocean, rather than a cup of salt thrown into a small bucket.
In meditation, we train zooming out every time we realize that we’ve gotten sucked into a stream of thoughts, and reclaim our attention by removing it from that thought-funnel.
This is the skill that most people associate with meditation.
When we live in an unconscious, automated way, we become the product of our environment. We react, rather than respond.
In this mode, we are acting on the loudest impulse in our heads. We’re reproducing our past conditioning.
Living a creative and fulfilling life requires just the opposite. It means to be intelligently present in the moment, acting fresh. For that, the ability to pause is essential.
Pausing gives you space to:
Prevent you from acting on anger or other destructive impulses that ruin relationships and lives. (In a way we can say that when pausing is absent, regret takes its place.)
Break bad habits
Find clarity about what’s really going on
Make wiser decisions based on the needs of the moment
Re-align your actions in life to your core values
Think less, worry less, and be more
Reacting without thinking is easy – it’s the path of least resistance. Pausing is harder – it’s a skill that needs to be trained, a virtue to be developed.
In meditation, we train pausing every time we notice that we’re distracted, and we interrupt that stream of thoughts. It’s a condition for you to be able to zoom out.
4. Changing The Channel
The powers of pausing, zooming out, and zooming in come together as the ability to “change channels”.
Think of your mental world as a TV with several channels. Some of them are informative, entertaining, or useful. Others are full of bad shows, even though you might find them addictive.
The problem is that this TV doesn’t obey you all the time. It randomly pops up shows from channels you dislike, and doesn’t even allow you to mute them. Sometimes you try to change the channel, but after five seconds you find yourself back to the old channel.
The more you develop the abilities to pause, zoom out, and zoom in, the more you fine tune your remote control. As a result, your favorite channels get more screen time, and the crappy ones end up being discontinued due to lack of attention.
The formula for changing the channel is:
Notice that an unhelpful channel has come up. It could be fear, anxiety, self-hatred, etc. Sometimes labeling the feeling can be helpful.
Pause it. Breathe in and take a step back. Don’t fight with it, but rather realize that you don’t really need to be watching it.
Zoom out. See the bigger picture – your consciousness is larger than this thought/emotion. Let the thought be there, but realize that you don’t need to zoom into it.
Switch channels, and then powerfully zoom into a more helpful or enjoyable channel.
This is changing channels.
It is a natural exercise of control over your attention – reclaiming the power to decide where it should be focused on. It is not repression and doesn’t involve any self-violence.
In meditation, this ability is trained every time we gently return our attention back to our chosen object (breath, mantra, etc.). So basically hundreds of times! ? This is why meditation matters!
5. A New Baseline (Bonus)
What is your baseline emotion(s)?
By that I mean, what are the feelings that are always there in the background of your mind during most of your day?
For many people, it is anxiety, depression, fear, self-pity, or greed. Or perhaps an intangible sense of dissatisfaction with oneself and one’s life.
Meditation helps you become aware of your baseline emotions, and slowly uproot their causes, or at least “change channels” before you get all sucked in.
For me, my baseline emotion was a sense of restlessness and a hunger for something. After years of training, that cooled down. Now my baseline emotion is peace, contentment and a solid sense of unfuckwithability.
Having said that, it is misleading to say that meditation alone will accomplish this.
For most of us, it is meditation coupled with continuous self-reflection, contemplation, and radical self-honesty.
Studying spiritual texts or personal growth literature can also help; and so can therapy, deep relationships, and making real changes in your life.
Feelings come and go. Yet our baseline emotions seem to persist for much longer, and define what is our level of wellbeing.
So, for me it seems like a good idea to put some love into upgrading it.
So these, dear reader, are some of the reasons why meditation matters and is valuable technique to learn.
These skills are all forms of mastery over your attention, over your mind.
You don’t get these “superpowers” quickly, though. They are muscles that develop with consistent practice. But know that every time you meditate, you are taking solid steps in increasing these natural superpowers.
Do you need some help choosing a meditation technique and establishing a solid practice?
Today I want to run you through 10 Common Myths & Misconceptions of Meditation that could be holding you back from succeeding with Meditation and adopting it into your daily routine.
Before I learned of these myths, I found meditation to be a slow and frustrating process. I was putting tons of work and effort into my practice but wasn’t seeing results (or so I thought anyway).
Once I learned how to Meditate the right way through extensive research, courses and trial & error, it was like “BOOM!! Myths Busted!” And, it all started falling into place.
Meditation became a lot easier because I realised I had been overthinking it. You may be too.
Since learning to meditate the right way, I feel happier, more productive and more able to effectively manage stress and anxiety symptoms.
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this video below. In this video, I explore 4 common meditation misconceptions that may be holding you back from getting started.
4 Common Meditation Misconceptions
Meditation Myth #1:
Meditation is difficult. You need to be a trained professional to do it
Myth Busted! Although meditation is not always easy, it doesn’t have to be difficult all the time either.
When you learn tips and tricks from an experienced and good teacher, meditation can be easy and fun to learn.
Sure, not all sessions will be “out of this world”. Some days you may struggle to focus but that’s all part of the practice. You just continue to push through.
Some of the concepts and techniques used in Meditation are actually really simple such as focusing on your breath or repeating a mantra (a single word or phrase). However,some people perceive meditation to be difficult because they:
Over-complicate or overthink it
Try too hard to concentrate
Become overly attached to seeing results
Are paranoid about whether they’re doing it right
As a newbie with no idea what I was doing, I experienced all of these at the start of my Meditation practice. I was overly focused on seeing results and would worry about whether I was doing things right.
This caused me to struggle with getting into a relaxed state, but now, through patience, commitment and consistency, I have learned to relax my mind, let go of the things listed above and just go with the flow.
This has improved my meditation sessions immensely.
Meditation Myth #2:
You have to quiet your mind from all thoughts
Myth Busted! This is probably the biggest Myth when it comes to meditation and mindfulness and is the cause of many people giving up in frustration.
Meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts or trying to empty your mind completely. If you try to do this you’ll just end up even more stressed and distracted as it is literally impossible.
We can, however, decide how much attention we give our thoughts.
When they arise, as they inevitably will, do not judge or try to push them away. Instead, acknowledge that they’re there and gently bring your attention to your object of focus (eg. Your breath).
The more that you practice meditation, the longer the period of silence and calm will become in between thoughts.
Meditation Myth #3:
You have too many thoughts and not enough time to Meditate
Myth Busted! Many try to use the excuse that they don’t have enough time or think too much to be able to spend time on meditation.
Yet, there are many highly successful and busy executives around the world who swear by daily meditation and have not missed a session in years. If they can do it whilst managing an empire, so can you!
It’s up to you, and only you, to make meditation a priority.
If you feel like your schedule is too full for the day, even just sitting down and meditating for a few minutes is better than not meditating at all. You can always scrummage up 5 minutes and use a meditation timer to ensure you don’t go over time.
In relation to this myth, I have my own experience to back this up.
I personally found that my morning Meditation actually makes me feel more in control over the time in my day and as though I actually have more time. It makes me feel refreshed enabling me to accomplish more in the day, even though I kind of feel like I am doing less.
Instead of struggling to achieve daily goals like I once used to, I feel like I am spending more time in a “flow state” of calm.
This particular myth was once used as my excuse to procrastinate with my practice. Don’t let it be yours too.
Meditation Myth #4:
You need to be a spiritual or religious person
Myth Busted! Absolutely not. Meditation is a very old practice and although yes it was once created or discovered within religious contexts, most modern techniques of meditation have nothing to do with religion.
For many, meditation doesn’t require a spiritual belief and those with varying religious beliefs can practice it without feeling any conflict with their current religious beliefs.
On the other hand, there are those who have no particular religious beliefs or are atheist or agnostic – like me! I’m not religious or a very spiritual person, yet I love meditation!
For me, I wanted to get started with meditation for its health and well-being benefits such as:
Developing a positive mindset
Feeling more content with life
Being able to handle Anxiety, Stress and managing difficult emotions
But with time, I have become more open to spirituality and am very much aware of the power of the mind on our bodies.
Meditation Myth #5:
You need to meditate for long periods of time to achieve results
Myth Busted! If you’re just getting started with Meditation, daily sessions as long as 2-5 minutes are probably all you need.
People who meditate for 20+ minutes per day are unlikely to be beginners, so keep that in mind. However, the duration can also depend on your preferences.
For me, as an example, I traditionally meditate for 10-15 minutes. But it can also depend on whether I choose to meditate on my own or by following a guided meditation. With guided Meditations, I can meditate for over 30 minutes.
For you, it’s no different.
There is no set time on how long you should meditate for, however, always start small and work your way up from there. Just as you would at the gym.
Meditation Myth #6:
It takes years of dedicated practice to notice any benefits
Myth Busted! The benefits of meditation can be both immediate and long-term. Some say that they have noticed benefits from meditation in the first few days of daily practice.
Other scientific studies show that meditation can have profound health effects on the mind and body within 3-8 weeks of practice.
For example, a landmark studyby Harvard University and Massachusetts’ General Hospital revealed that even eight weeks of meditation can help people to decrease anxiety and feel a greater sense of calm. It also helped to promote growth in the areas of the brain associated with:
Sense of self and
Meditation Myth #7:
Meditation is for people wanting to escape their problems
Myth Busted! To be honest, Meditation is not a great technique if you’re trying to escape or run away from your problems. The reason for this is because really, the main purpose of meditation is to tune in and get in touch with your inner self.
Kind of contradictory, I’d say…
Through Meditation, you’re able to delve below mind’s surface (which is often consumed with repetitive thoughts and worries about the past and future) and into a quieter state of consciousness.
If you start your meditation practice with an “I’m running away” attitude, you’re going to be disappointed because, unlike your expectations, everything that you’re trying to escape or supress is likely to come to the surface.
That is why some people can find meditation a bit daunting and difficult in the beginning.
Meditation Myth #8:
There is only one type of Meditation
Myth Busted! The word Meditation actually acts as an umbrella title for many different types of meditation.
This was a shock to me at first when I was getting started because I had not realised that there were so many different meditation types out there. It can become quite confusing.
So, before you start feeling overwhelmed, just think of it this way: If one type of Meditation isn’t working for you, just try another one, rather than dismissing the whole idea of meditation altogether.
You may discover that your body responds better to a technique you hadn’t even considered in the past.
Meditation Myth #9:
You need to meditate in a special location
Myth Busted! Meditation can be done almost anywhere.
Whether you find a nice spot on your bedroom floor, on a chair at your desk or even as you go on a walk during your lunch break, meditation can be done.
As long as you have a quiet space, where you’re unlikely to get distracted, this practice is very versatile.
This is what makes it so great!
Meditation Myth #10:
There’s only one Meditation position to sit in
Myth Busted! When many think of meditation, they picture a Buddhist monk sitting in the full lotus pose – sitting on the floor with their legs tangled around each other like some intense game of “Twister.”.
Like really, who can even do that, right?
But contrary to this myth, no, that is not the only pose for Meditation.
There are actually a large variety of different poses and postures you can try based on your experience, flexibility, and comfort.
In addition to sitting poses on the floor, you can also try lying down or even leaning against a wall.
This is great because it means there is a range of poses you can try to find what works best for you and your body.