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Creating a Meditative Lifestyle., Meditation, Spirituality

How to Benefit From Meditate Even if You Can’t Sit Still

Yes, you can gain the benefits of meditation even if you can’t sit still.

Do you want to meditate, but have trouble sitting still? That was and continues to be me. It is especially challenging when the facilitator prescribes a very specific way of sitting and where to put my hands. For many adults, the most difficult part of meditation is finding a way to sit or lay down that is comfortable and in which they can stay without moving for at least 20 minutes, frequently much longer. Maybe your legs start or your back or neck begins to throb. You may need to shift around frequently. Regardless of what is keeping you from settling into a comfortable position, it’s difficult to still your mind when it feels like your body is refusing to cooperate.

Studies show that moving during meditation has its advantages, including burning more calories and living longer. On the other hand, excessive movements while you are meditating can distract from your meditation being as powerful as it can be.

Luckily, you can enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of meditation even if you are unable to find a comfortable resting space. Start with these proven strategies that will help you feel more at ease during meditation.

1. Prepare yourself. Switching gears quickly from driving or during a busy day to sitting or lying still can be a struggle. Smooth out the transition. When possible spend some time before your meditation preparing for your session. This could be as simple as 3 deep, intentional breaths as you get out of the car into the meditation space.

2. Remember your purpose. Moving can be an indication of boredom or lack of engagement. Remind yourself why meditation is important to you. If you must move your body due to physical discomfort do this keeping your mind focused on the meditation.

3. Fold your hands. In meditation, we are frequently asked to have our palms on our laps facing upwards. If this does not work for your body change your hand positions. Just pressing your hands together can encourage you to be still. Experiment with different hand positions.

4. Hold something. Holding something in your hands makes it less likely you’ll engage in movements.  You can use traditional prayer beads or any small object like a crystal.

5. Touch a wall. The desire to move during meditation can be associated with nervousness or anxiety, which is especially troublesome if meditation sometimes brings up disturbing emotions for you. Sitting with your back against a wall can help you feel supported.

6. Keep practicing. Being distracted by the desire to move during meditation is like any habit. Each time you manage to overcome this desire, you’re training yourself to make positive changes in all areas of your life.

7. Respect your limits. Just as with any new physical practice you many need to start with a shorter period of time.  You are much more likely to succeed if you start for shorter periods and increase over time.

How to Meditate When Your Body Does Not Seem to Cooperate

Very few adults can sit in a full lotus position when first learning to meditate.  Give your body permission to let you know what it needs and adjust accordingly.

Use these strategies to loosen up before meditating.

1. Stretch regularly. Stretching will help you become more flexible and will open up your hips and shoulders.   Even what may seem to be the smallest movements will be hugely beneficial

2. Do yoga.  Many say that they can’t fit a yoga class into their already busy schedules.   Learning just a few poses and practicing them regularly can be a significant help in keeping you flexible.  YouTube has a large number of yoga videos.  If you do have some physical issues search for “restorative yoga”.

3. Warm-up. Heat can make your body instantly feel more flexible.   If you are meditating at home take a warm shower first.  If you out rub your hands over your legs and arms to stimulate your circulation before meditation.  During meditation, our bodies tend to cool down so it is very helpful to have a shawl or a blanket either on you or close by before you meditate.

4. Sit up straight. Proper alignment relieves aches and pains.   Check that you are sitting with your weight on the center of your sit bones. Relax your shoulders and lift your chest.

5. Use props.  Especially in any type of restorative process props during meditation can become your best friends.  They can be household pillows and blankets or cushions and bolster made specifically for meditation.

6. Listen to your body. Any modification can be beneficial if it helps you to focus. Sit on a chair or on a cushion. Stand up or move around when you need to.

With a few simple adjustments, you can meditate comfortably even if you tend to be restless or have trouble touching your toes. Bring greater happiness and peace into your life by developing a regular practice.

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