Fundamentally, meditation doesn’t require anything more than you and your ability to breathe. It is about being present with whatever is, regardless of the circumstance. That said, the realities of life mean that from time to time we need to give ourselves an extra helping hand to keep a daily practice going. When it’s cold outside, and warm in bed (yes, I touched on this in my last post too, there has been a theme this month!) it can be hard to motivate yourself to sit and watch the breath.
Here are 5 simple ways I’ve added a little extra colour and comfort to my routine.
1. Invest in a good shawl
It’s funny, I am definitely a minimalist and generally do not advocate purchasing things to make you feel better, but I can’t deny how nice it feels to treat yourself to something like a beautiful shawl that is only to be used when you meditate. Somehow it feels like you are taking your practice seriously, investing in something that will help you keep at it. Wrapping yourself up cosy and warm prevents the distraction of cold hands, or the chill of a breeze against your body. It can be that little nudge that convinces you to sit down, which is sometimes all you need!
2. Sit on a comfortable cushion, or in a chair
On very similar lines, make sure you have somewhere comfortable to sit for meditation. Personally I use a crescent shaped buckwheat cushion, but if my hips ache I sit on a chair with a couple of cushions underneath me. You want to be able to stay awake and alert, so make sure you can sit up with your back straight, but you don’t need to be uncomfortable or straining to maintain a particular posture.
3. Practice with a group
Don’t let your meditation dwindle just because you can’t face getting up early to sit on the floor by yourself. Keep things going by seeking out a group you can practice with or enrol in a course to go back over the fundamentals. This month I have returned to a group on the North Shore that I visit from time to time, and attended a course and a day retreat in Newtown. Meditation with other people can be lovely, and it is helpful to remind yourself that you aren’t alone in trying to maintain this habit.
4. Find soothing music
Normally I won’t practice with music on, as it shifts the mood and distracts me. However, I do find it soothing and comforting at times and occasionally it is just what I need to get me onto the cushion. At the moment I’m particularly enjoying Moby’s Ambient Sounds, which you can download for free.
5. Wear really lovely socks
Yes, this is a little silly but why not try it! I have many colourful socks that I wear when I I’m at home having a cosy day of meditation, writing and yoga. They are playful and comfortable, super warm and help me shift into the mindset of practice. Putting them on in the morning feels like I’m dressing up a little for meditation, getting comfortable and ready to sit. This is a little nerdy, but it works for me, and might work for you too!
How do you motivate yourself to keep going when the days are shorter and the mornings chilly? Feel free to share over on the Facebook page.