10 Steps to Meditation

Many people often have the perception that starting a regular practice of meditation is only reserved for the disciplined, the radically spiritual types and/or when you are "ready". These are some of the biggest misconceptions about meditation. You will never be "ready"; you can prepare yourself but you'll never be really ready to start. And with that kind of attitude another few years will have passed in which you are still "thinking" about doing it.

First, it is helpful to briefly explain what meditation is. Simply put, meditation is a conscious attempt or effort to focus our scattered minds. I find the best way to understand meditation is by thinking of it as the highest and purest level of concentration. You don't need to be "ready" or "into" spiritually. You do, however, need to be prepared to commit yourself to establishing a regular practice. If you learn to sit one day and never return to this for several weeks you'll find it hard to make any progress. It's also helpful to understand that your sitting practice is not much different than other habits you have such as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Certainly, most of us would never leave the house or apartment without doing so (we hope). Meditation is a similar routine that can be established into your daily habits.

It is usually helpful to have a teacher who can assist you with the basics. The 10 steps below are a general outline and guide to starting your practice. It may also be helpful to find a teacher with whom you can discuss how to sit (re: finding the most appropriate position for you). In the meantime, these 10 steps are straightforward and will help you to get started.

1. Choose a regular time to sit.
2. Meditate in a quiet place.
3. Select a sitting position.
4. Keep your head, neck & shoulders aligned.
5. Focus your mind on your breath.
6. Repeat in your mind "I am sitting."
7. Practice for 10 - 15 minutes.
8. When distracting thoughts arise label them as "thinking".
9. Let go of expectations & looking for results.
10. Close your session by repeating the word 'peace'.


heather said...

For more information on meditation see: Swami Rama's book on meditation, Dipa Ma, Eugene Roy Davis, Swami Sivananda....these are good starters.

The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


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Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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