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Developing Mindful Habits

Ideas for Finding Balance

It's ridiculously easy to meditate. Truly, it is. You stop and focus on your breath for a few minutes. That's it. Countless research studies (like the ones here and here) have shown the benefits of daily breath meditation on both the mind and body.

So, why don't people do it? Well, humans are creatures of habit. More so, we're creatures of bad habits. If we don't consciously create a new habit that benefits us, we simply won't do the thing. But, there are small things we can do to cultivate an environment for ourselves that is more conducive to developing mindful habits like meditation.

 

Mindful Routines, Mindful Spaces

Create a routine that carves out space for meditation

  • Meditation fits best for me in the morning after my shower. That's when my body and mind would rather stay still than rush off to work. I feel resistant at that time toward what comes next. So I give myself a few minutes to meditate and just be. It clears up the clutter in my head so I can go to work without feeling like I should be elsewhere.

  • Is there a time of day where you typically feel resistant toward what comes next? Can you set a routine of pausing then and breathing?


Create a meditation space for yourself

  • If you had a corner that was designated for reflection and calm, wouldn't you want to be in it? Perhaps it has a meditation cushion, a soft throw blanket, some essential oils, gentle lighting, mala beads, or images that help remind you of your purpose. That little corner could become your daily reminder to spend a few moments at peace with yourself.


 

Ideas for a Mindful Space


The fact is, you don't need anything special to meditate. You don't need any equipment, and you can meditate anywhere. But if we create spaces for ourselves that are more conducive to meditating, then we're more likely to do it.


Meditation is more comfortable if we elevate the hips and let the knees drop. That way, the belly is soft and the spine long. The simplest way to do this is to sit on a yoga block. A more comfy way is to sit on a yoga bolster or a meditation cushion.


There are multiple types of meditation cushions, from simple cotton-filled, to taller foam-filled, to buckwheat-filled. The buckwheat zafu meditation cushions tend to feel the most comfortable in the long term.


A zafu cushion can be used alone, or with a floor cushion to support the knees and ankles. Both a zafu cushion AND a floor cushion? Now you're not camping anymore: you're in, like, the luxury hotel version of meditation.


You may have seen yoga teachers wearing long necklaces made of different colored stones or of wood. Sometimes they have them wrapped around their wrists. These are called "malas." They are simple tools to help us focus during meditation.


As we touch each of the 108 beads of a mala, we complete a cycle of breath, or we repeat an affirmation with the breath. In this way, the mala serves as both a meditation timer and a tactile way to steady the mind and body. During the day, the mala can be worn as a reminder to return to our meditation practice.


So take some time to intentionally cultivate positive routines for yourself.

You deserve the benefits.


 

May you be happy. May you be well.



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