Meditation, But Make It Chill


What does the word meditation bring to mind, for you? Did your eyes start to roll? Did you think that it’s something you really ‘should’ be doing? Did you think that you don’t have the time or just can’t do it? Did you fall asleep when you last looked for tips on how to meditate? I hear you. In our usual pursuit for perfection, meditation has become a victim. When actually, there is no such thing as meditating perfectly. We are just showing up as we are and seeing what happens. 

Is meditation for everyone? No, because nothing is. But, I really do think that more of us can benefit from it, if we just redefine it, take the pressure off and let it be messy. As a certified trauma-sensitive meditation teacher with a personal practice of over a decade, here’s what I’m boldly considering my Ultimate Meditation Guide if you want to learn how to meditate in a more individualised way.

You can meditate wherever feels good and comfortable to you. Try not to stress too much about controlling your environment and having total silence, we’re aiming to find inner stillness even if your outer world is noisy. With that said, setting yourself up in a quiet space to begin with, will allow you to bring all of your awareness to your practice. You can bring in any resources that will support you, such as a warm blanket, candles or incense. You don’t have to shell out for a meditation cushion or any props, you can meditate on a chair, sofa, sat up in bed or on a blanket on the floor. Whatever you have and whatever you’re able to do is perfect. If you’re not using a guided meditation, you can create a playlist with relaxing music. I often meditate to film scores and classical music, so choose what gets you in the zone. Remember, you can meditate (as long as it’s safe to do so), on the train, in the park, in the bath etc, so your environment never has to be picture-perfect. 

Come exactly as you are and know that your practice can be an imperfect one. This means arriving without expectations and giving yourself the permission to fidget, move around if you get uncomfortable and you don’t have to close your eyes if it doesn’t feel safe for you. As long as your back is straight and aligned, you can be in any position you fancy. Release any ideas that you’re not going to get distracted or have any thoughts. You are human and the point of meditation is that when you have a thought (like what you’re going to have for dinner), you just shift your attention back to your breath and affirmation or noticing different parts of your body. You have a thought, you breathe in and out, you have a thought, you breathe in and out. Over and over again. If your breath is making you feel a bit out of balance, you can breathe normally and place a hand on your chest or stomach instead. Some days you’ll find yourself distracted and others you won’t. It’s a practice and each time you show up will be different. 

You can meditate for however long you want to. It might be 2 minutes, it might be 10 minutes, it might be 45 minutes. Let your practice work for you and your life. It is your practice. If you have very little time on your hands, then weaving it into your day could be a pressure-free way to begin. You can do 1 minute of deep breathing while you wait for the kettle to boil. You can do 5 minutes when you get into bed or do a walking meditation when you have more time at the weekend. Doing it at the same time each day can help, if you want to build a habit, but it should be enjoyable, so go with how you feel. It shouldn’t be a chore. 

There are so many different styles of meditation, so it might require a little browsing around to find one that works for you. You might be into relaxing body scans, mindfully eating some chocolate, being extra present with a nature meditation on your next dog walk, or repeat affirmations for more compassion. You can also mix and match different styles (if you want to base your meditations on how you feel and what you need). Meditation can be dysregulating for some people, so try to work with qualified meditation teachers where possible and always remember that you are in choice. Simple shifts such as opening your eyes, moving around, placing a hand on your body and having something comforting like a blanket or mental ‘happy place’ can be really helpful.

Head to my meditation directory to try some out and see which ones work for you, if you want to meditate in a group setting, come to the next Repose, where you can also bring any meditation questions you have that you’d like answered.