Once I realized that I wanted or needed to start a consistent meditation practice, the question arose of when and where could I meditate?
I had decided that I would meditate for 12 minutes a day. Any 12 minutes of the day and surely, I could find and spare 12 minutes. I had been practicing yoga for 12 years at that point in my life and had attended many workshops about meditation and how to meditate. I felt that I had the knowledge to do this. But the funny thing was, that it was a time in my life where I needed to stop or slow down the mental noise and I was struggling to meditate as I had always been able to. I had to change things up.
One of the things I needed to figure out was where was it best to meditate. I had three sons at home and had a busy life, (yes, like almost everyone else!) so where would I go to meditate? It soon became clear that if I would only meditate in a certain dedicated place, then I wasn’t going to be meditating every day. It is ideal to meditate in a place where it is quiet, calm and where you can choose to sit or lie down. But if I was going to make this a committed daily practice, I would need alternatives.
I started thinking where I could medidtate at home choosing the room next to the kitchen and for more days than I can count, 12 minutes before I began preparing the family dinner. I took my yoga mat out and sat in a traditional crossed legged, straight back position to meditate. As time went on and this plan was getting me to meditate daily, I decided to try for longer periods, 15, 17 and then 20 minutes when time permitted. What I discovered though was that at around the 25-minute mark, my feet and legs would go to sleep and I mean to where I could no longer feel them.
Which led to another discovery, as I became physically uncomfortable meditating, the more distracted I became and could no longer focus on the meditation. I was focusing on the discomfort and trying to shift my weight around to ease it.
Around this time, I found Mandy’s True Rest Meditation classes, and I was thrilled to learn that we would be lying down to meditate. We covered ourselves with blankets, had a pillow and eye pillow to make ourselves comfortable. How great was this practice! I learnt that it was from the traditional yoga Nidra style of meditation. By making the body comfortable, the mind can focus on the guided meditation. Once my body became uncomfortable, my mind and thinking would quickly focus on the pain and how was I going to shift to stop it and then it’s like the green button gets pressed for all sorts of thoughts entering the arena.
From this, I learnt that not only was it ok to be comfortable in meditation but that it actually helped me to stay with a regular practice of meditating which was the goal. Additionally, I also found that I could meditate in a chair with either my feet on the ground or folded cross legged with my eyes closed. On the train, subway or plane were also convenient places to meditate. Having a guided meditation on my phone really helped out as I could plug in, hit play and close my eyes.
On the occasion where I could take the time to go to my room, light a candle, lie down on the floor with a blanket covering me and an eye pillow over my eyes became blissful. Carving out that space both physically and energetically just for myself did wonders for quieting my busy monkey mind. Times like these could be savoured. When possible in places like this, I meditated longer than 12 minutes, usually between 20 – 25 minutes.
The bath also became a favourite place to mediate when my schedule allowed. I could keep the lights off, light a candle, add bath salts, place a folded towel under my neck, put on a meditation, click play and close my eyes.
The more flexible I became on where to meditate on a daily basis, the more I would meditate. Seems obvious but it is so easy to put my meditation practice off until something else gets done or until I’m in a certain physical place. And this comes back to why make such an effort to meditate regularly? For the benefits – they are worth it. My mind, although resisted at first, became calmer, quieter, less busy and I was then able to focus my mind on whatever tasks I was undertaking at other times.
Overall, the best place to meditate is where you can and be comfortable. Seated, laying down, on public transportation or in your bathtub – any place that works for you, is the best place to meditate.