Meditation & Inspiration

meditation cushion

What is meditation?    Meditation is a technique or a tool that anyone can use to help them cope with physical problems, stress, anxiety and the ever present flow of thoughts (Monkey Mind).

“How to Meditate”, for Beginners

There are many different ways to meditate, here at Mindful Living the beginner will be taught Mindfulness Meditation or Anapanasati. (observation of the breath)

Always keep in mind, this is a ‘practice’.  For those who are new and aren’t sure how to start, try following these basic guidelines on developing a 20-40 minute daily meditation practice.

1)  Designate your space.  In the beginning, it’s best to try and use the same space every time.  It doesn’t have to be a large space, just an area that is free of excessive clutter, interruptions and loud noise.

2) Set a timer Set it for 2 minutes more than you plan on meditating for as this will give you a couple minutes to “settle in” and to come out of your sit gently. Aim for  20-40 minutes daily This is ideal, but do whatever you can. Just be sure to ‘sit’.

3)  Get low.  To provide a sense of grounding, sit as close to the floor as possible either on a zafu (meditation cushion, bench or back jack-see the shoppe) or a chair.

4)  Proper posture. This is important for the flow of energy.  Sit up tall with a straight spine.  Cross your legs in a way that is comfortable (because we all have different body types and injuries, sitting in full lotus isn’t an option for many of us!).  Rest your hands on your thighs, or cup your hands together and rest them in your lap. If your body says “no” to sitting on the floor, you can also sit in a chair. You will have the same quality meditation sitting on the floor or in a chair. Best not to lie down as our bodies associate this with sleeping.

5)  Close your eyes, gently. If having your eyes closed leads to you falling asleep, then leave your eyes open softly glancing at a space 4-6′ in front of you. But looking ‘through’, not ‘at’ the floor.

6)  Focus on your breath.  Keep it natural, don’t force it.  Notice the inhales, notice the exhales.  Simply be aware, the ‘silent observer’, the “witness to” the breath. Observe the breath, do not try and control it.

Be aware of your belly, or the chest, rise as you inhale and softly lower as you exhale.  Within a few seconds, your mind will start to wander…your neverending to-do list, job issues, family issues, cat (or dog) issues…it will all come up.  You may be surprised at what you think about.  The moment you’re aware of these thoughts, simply acknowledge that you’re ‘thinking’. Then…simply go back to focusing on your breath.  Observe the inhales, observe the exhales. No judgement, no punishment. Just awareness…

7)  Your thoughts will start to wander – go back to focusing on your breath.

8)  Your thoughts will start to wander – go back to focusing on your breath.

9)  Your thoughts will start to wander – go back to focusing on your breath.

10)  Your thoughts will start to wander – go back to focusing on your breath (notice a pattern here?).

When your timer goes off, slowly open your eyes.  Take a moment to scan your body and notice how you feel.  Remain in silence for as long as you can, even if it’s only for a minute. Always go into and come out of meditation slowly and gently.

As you go on with your day and you experience moments when you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, go back to focusing on your breath and notice how this has an immediate calming effect. You cannot be angry or mad if you are following your breath, breathing in, breathing out. And even if you are angry or mad, just notice and acknowledge this state (what does anger feel like in YOU?) and bring yourself back to the breath.

Mindfulness Meditation is not about trying to clear your mind of all thoughts, but rather noticing the thoughts, letting them go and then returning the awareness to your breath and the present moment.  You’ll soon notice there are larger gaps between the wild and wandering thoughts and the space of calm and stillness.

Keep practicing and feel free at any time to lengthen your meditation session. A good guideline is to start with 20 minutes and build to 40 or 60 minutes daily.


Beginner or advanced  meditation instructions are available on a 1:1 basis or in groups within your home or at the Centre.
Together we will create a personalised meditation plan that fits your environment, your daily routine and all that is your life.
Mindful Living can provide your group or place of employment with a speaker to talk on meditation.

20-30 minute presentations are available free for non-profit organizations.

Join us for book clubs and other courses too. Check out the calendar for current events.

As well, Mindful Living facilitates  1/2 day retreats on topics such as “Metta”,’Karma” and “Forgiveness”.

If you wish to participate in any of the offerings contact us at 519-503-0400 

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