How to build a meditation practice

Have you ever tried to meditate but ended up going over your to-do list or fantasizing about what to eat for lunch? Or sat there feeling every little itch or ache in your body, not really understanding why everyone thinks this is so great? Meditation can be intimidating. We get it. Sometimes it can even be frustrating.

That’s ok. Meditation never promised to be easy. In fact, that’s why it’s called a “practice” – because even the experts need to work at it. But it’s also something that pays off enormously if you make time for it consistently. If you’ve never meditated before and are looking to build your own meditation practice or need some help with your current meditation practice, we’ve put together four steps to help you get started…

Begin with guided meditations

Guided meditations are the easiest to break into meditating with because they give your mind something to follow. You can do this through a meditation class at a local studio or with a recording (Anamaya co-owner Kelsey Matheson has a great meditation series available online). Try different styles to help yourself get comfortable with it. There are all kinds of guided meditations; some incorporate the breath, some use mala beads, some use chanting. Once you find the style of meditation that works for you, it’ll be much easier to do it on a regular basis because you’ll actually enjoy doing it.

Schedule meditation into your day

Part of building a successful meditation practice is consistency; meditation is best done regularly. The easiest way to achieve that is to schedule it into your day like you would for any other activity, appointment or meeting. Block off as much time as you want to meditate and put it in your daily schedule. Regard it like it’s any other appointment so that you don’t feel compelled to postpone or cancel it. The more you treat it like something worth your time, the more it value it will hold for you. Eventually it will become so integral to your day-to-day that you won’t need to formally schedule it because it’ll be something you prioritize doing (like brushing your teeth or taking a shower).

Create a meditation space

Find a calm, quiet space and make it your meditation spot. While you can’t control outside distractions or noise, it really helps to put yourself in a quiet place to focus on your meditation. It doesn’t have to be an entire room or a fancy studio – it can be as simple as a corner in your bedroom. Decorate that spot any way that makes you feel tranquil. Maybe that’s fresh flowers, incense, crystals or a picture of a calming landscape. Add a meditation pillow (you can buy one or use any pillow – it doesn’t need to be complicated) and you’re set. You now have your very own meditation space.

Enjoy it

Most importantly, make meditation something you enjoy. It’s not punishment or something you “should” be doing. Set a meditation intention before you begin, such as: I want to feel less stressed, I want to have 10 minutes of peace each day, I want to be connected with my Inner Self. This is something you can come back to when you struggle with your practice, so you can remember why you do it. It’s not always easy to meditate and there’s no “perfect” way to do it. So don’t get lost in being a “perfect meditator” and just enjoy it. Consider it a gift of self-love that doesn’t stop giving. You deserve it.