You already know your life would benefit from daily meditation in numerous ways. Still, you may struggle to make it part of your daily routine.
The problem is, many books, websites, and gurus suggest you meditate in a knee-wrenching pose for 30 minutes right off the bat. That’s absurd, destined for failure, and may even result in pain.
Let me give you some you some tips that have helped me to build a strong habit and maintain good posture —without sacrificing comfort.
To maintain a habit of daily meditation, employ the following strategies:
- Use a meditation bench for maximum comfort and solid posture
- Set a micro goal aiming for 1-minute sessions only
- Put a half-smile on your face
- Meditate before bed, not in the morning
- Visualize yourself meditating
- Put the meditation bench under your sleeping pillow
- Use a meditation timer and track your progress
Now, keep reading below, where we go through each strategy in detail.
Use a Meditation Bench to Sit in Comfort and Avoid Painful Postures
I’ve tortured my knees meditating in the half lotus half lotus pose for three years, till chronic pain kept me from meditating at all —for almost a decade. And, only after I’ve discovered the existence of the meditation stool (or kneeling chair), I got back into it. This time zero knee pain.
But aside from keeping yourself from ruining your knees, using a meditation bench will benefit you in many ways.
- Easy to keep your balance and your back straight. When you sit in the lotus, half lotus, or even quarter lotus pose, you wrench one foot atop the other. And sitting like frequently may harm your knees, even your spine, if you can’t keep your back in perfect balance at all times.
The bench makes it easy to sit ergonomically, without having to twist your body out of alignment.
- No need for flexibility. Are you very flexible? No? Good, because you don’t need to be. If you can kneel easily, you can sit on the bench for 30 minutes or more without problems.
- Legs won’t fall asleep. Because of my knee pain in the lotus pose, I tried sitting in thes seiza pose, where you kneel with a cushion between your legs. Wow, it felt like putting my legs in a vise, causing them to fall asleep in a matter of minutes. (The hero pose or Virasana is even worse!)
With a bench, you can sit for an hour without messing with your blood circulation in your legs.
- Instantly comfortable. You’ll sit on the cushion of the bench. Then, its slight forward tilt makes it easy to keep your spine straight so that you don’t need to strain your back muscles. (You know what I’m talking about if you tried meditating on a regular chair.)
I think it’s horrible advice to say you should start meditating in the lotus position or any other pose where you’re putting your knees or spine at risk. Yes, perhaps if some master is looking over you, correcting any errors in your posture, checking and listening for trouble in your knee joints.
But if you’re a beginner and you start out alone at home by yourself, I recommend getting a meditation bench. I’m using one from Lotuscraft every single day for over a year now. It has eliminated my constant struggle to find the right balance, and I haven’t had any knee pain since. Have a look for yourself on Amazon here.
Also, for better comfort, you can put a yoga mat underneath, which will cushion your knees joints and keep them in a stable position.
Commit to 1-Minute Micro Meditations
If you’re like most people, sitting without moving for more than 5 minutes is hard, if not close to impossible.
The truth is, expecting to be able to meditate for 30 minutes or more —as many books tell you to do— right from the get-go is, quite frankly, unrealistic. You can compare it to many other disciplines, like climbing, visualization, or reading. It takes practice to build skill and endurance.
And that’s where the Kaizen way comes in handy.
You start with tiny steps that eventually lead you down the road to success. Here’s how it works:
- Set out to meditate for just 1 minute every single day. If you happen to meditate longer, just because you feel like it, more power to you.
- Soon, if you keep at it, you may find yourself meditating for 10, 15, and perhaps, finally over 30 minutes. Each little session is self-rewarding. You’ll build a strong habit, nurture stillness and find moments of sweet peace.
Frequency leads to habit. It all starts with 1 minute. Do you think you can do that? I bet you can.
Vietnamese Monk’s Meditation Method: Use the Half-Smile
You tried to meditate, but you didn’t enjoy it?
Particularly as a beginner, it can feel more like torture than an exercise in finding peace and inner bliss.
Well, don’t fret, as there’s something you can do about it.
I’ve discovered this little gem in the book called “Miracle of Mindfulness.” It’s an inspiring book by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh who reveals some great methods to find more happines and live more in the present moment.
One method in particular made all the difference for me:
- As soon as you start your session, put a gentle half-smile come on your face. (Just imagine how you’d smile if you’re in a state of complete serenity.)
- Allow that smile to evoke a feeling of happiness growing in your chest, manifesting on your face. Notice your cheeks rising in delight.
- Let your smile reinforce your joy, and simultaneously, the joy amplify the smile.
It’s a beautiful cycle, and it can turn a boring sitting session into a moment of blissfulness.
Use This Free Meditation App to Track Your Progress and to Time Your Sessions
You know the saying, “Winners are trackers.” And it’s easy to do with a simple meditation app.
I use the 100% free Meditation Assistant for years already, and it works like a charm. You can find it here on Google Play.
The main reasons that it’ll help you to form your habit are:
- Tracks your progress. With each consecutive day you meditate, you build a streak in the “Don’t Break the Chain” fashion. The longer the streak, the more likely you’re to keep going.
- Set a gentle meditation alarm. You may set the alarm to go off after a couple of minutes and, if you keep meditating, it’ll still keep progress.
- Silences your phone. The app puts your phone into silent mode automatically so that you won’t get interrupted.
With the app, you can set the alarm to go off after one minute to let you know you’ve reached your daily meditation goal. Then, should you feel like, you can keep going. The app will keep tracking the duration of your session, nontheless.
Don’t Meditate in the Morning. Meditate Before Bed
You’re not a morning person and can’t find the energy to meditate right after you wake up?
That’s totally fine.
I’ve tried waking up early, meditating first thing in the morning, too. Though, I’ve failed miserably, because I’m not a morning person and I have to be caffeinated before I’m fully functional.
For that reason, I usually meditate at night, right before bed. It’s the next best alternative to not meditating at all.
So, if you’re the same and you can’t discipline yourself to meditate in the morning, compromise, and have your contemplation session before you go to sleep.
Put Your Meditation Bench Under Your Sleeping Pillow
To make sure I won’t weasel myself out of my commitment, I came up with a simple trick that works if you meditate at night like me:
As soon you wake up and make your bed and put the meditation bench under your sleeping pillow. Then, at night, when you want to go to sleep, you have to put the bench out of your way before lying down… which’ll instantly remind you of your commitment. Works every time.
If you’d prefer to meditate in the morning, put the bench someplace where it interrupts your usual morning ritual. Like, place it in front of your bedroom door, on your laptop, or in front of your coffee machine.
Program Your Mind to Meditate with Visualization/Mind Sculpturing
If you struggle to practice frequently, and you’ve tried all else, then try using mind sculpture. It’s a tip I gleaned from the book “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.”
In his book, Robert Maurer explains a method called Mind Sculpture. It’s a short visualization technique that helps you to overcome the resistance to performing complex tasks.
Here’s how to use Mind Sculpture visualization:
- Decide to allot about 15 seconds (not more) each day to visualize. Give yourself at least one month before having to perform consistently what you imagine.
- To practice mind sculpture, relax and close your eyes.
- Mentally rehearse, with your mind’s eye, that you’re sitting down on your meditation bench. You turn on the timer and start your practice with a half-smile on your face. Feel joy rising in your chest.
- This should be easy for you to do every day. Once this little routine becomes habitual –after about a month– you may surprise yourself by automatically doing what you’re visualizing.
It’s like planting a seed. You water it every day with a bit of water, expecting results in a few weeks, not in a day.
Make sure to keep this exercise as short and easy as possible.
A Quick Question to You
Why do you want to medite? Are you looking for the inner peace, more meaning in life?
Anything else you want to ask?
I’m genuinely interested about you. Please leave me a quick answer in the comments.