7 items to heighten your meditation practice
One thing I'm always reminding myself to do is to find those quiet moments. By nature, I love to be busy and on-the-go, but I know this sort of lifestyle isn't the best for me. I make it my mission to let go of the fast-paced and indulge in the slow life. Meditation keeps me grounded and committed, and it's been a big component since going rogue. Plus it has SO many health benefits. But hey - I get it: meditation can be hard. That's because we're accustomed to living busy. We are always concerned if we are doing it right. When I was getting started, I used to suddenly remember a bunch of things I forgot to do while I was meditating. Talk about distracting.
So if you're getting started or a seasoned vet, check out these seven items to heighten your meditation practice:
SAGE OR INCENSE
One great way to help your meditation practice is to burn sage or incense as part of the ritual. These cleansing scents will, over time, help to ease you into a meditative state more quickly the more frequently you use them. Think of it like muscle memory, but for your nose and mind. Burning sage is part of a sacred ritual practiced all over the world, and it helps to purify your energy, making it wonderful for setting the tone for your meditation. It does double duty and cleanses your space, too. A modern supplement is an incense blend of your choice.
I talk about this app all the time because - it is the best! I've tried all kinds of apps to help me with meditation but none have come close to how easy, user-friendly, and effective this app is. Headspace has mini challenges, helping you get to ten days straight of quick, effortless meditation. There are also quick hits targeted to specific needs, like SOS, the guided meditation for when you're having a meltdown, On-the-Go to help you with mindful living, and more. You can also get really specific by using meditation to help you with your relationships and your health. It's totally customizable. Andy, the narrator, is a pro. He gently guides you when you stray. I love it. Also, this is not a sponsored shout out - I just actually love Headspace.
Crystals are one of the staples to my meditation practice, and I don't even begin my session without choosing one to work with. Poke through your crystal collection, or if you're a beginner, find your first crystal, and either hold it between your hands or place it in front of you throughour your meditation. Crystals hold their own vibration and energy, and they will help ground you and focus your attention. The properties each crystal has is a good way to select which one you'd like to work with. Rose Quartz is great for self-love, Pyrite is great for motivation and Labradorite is great for discovering your sacred path.
Mala necklaces are little beads strung into a sacred and magical garland. They have roots in Hinduism, Buddhism and yoga, and were traditionally used in Japa meditation. Malas have 108 beads, and the beads were used to help Japa meditators keep track of repeating a positive mantra or affirmation 108 times. Regardless of the style of meditation you choose to practice, a mala can help keep you focused. The number 108 has multiple significances which you can peruse here. You can also find malas with beautiful stones on the end, like Labradorite, Nummite, Amethyst and more. These powerful stones will help even further to focus your energy.
You know what the worst thing is for meditation? Being uncomfortable. A too tight waist on your jeans, or itchy tag under your sweater is seriously the worst. It'll distract you the entire time you're trying to settle in, and the purpose of meditation is to relax and improve your health. One of the biggest hiccups we come up against is being hyperaware of everything around us - like a buzzing fly, or bead of sweat. So make sure you're comfortable to eliminate any potential distractions. If this means buying yourself a special meditation outfit - then do it. I recommend loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, that fall away from the body. That being said, I usually wear tights - but I'll be braless, sporting a drapey sweater, topknot and cozy socks.
One of the first meditations I ever did was helped by the flame of a candle. It's actually a form of scrying - gazing into the past and future - by gazing into the flame. But candles aren't just conducive to flame meditations. A candle gives off a faint sound of burning (I like wood wicks like these DIY beeswax candles) to help calm you, sometimes a gentle scent, and of course, the warm glow to ease you into the theta state, ideal for meditation.
MEDITATION PILLOW OR BOLSTER
One of the most important components to a successful meditation is feeling comfortable. The quickest way to improve your practice is to invest in a meditation pillow or bolster - or just snag that throw pillow off the couch. Place it under your bum, and finally quell all those hemorrhoids worries, OK? (Seriously, we make all kinds of excuses) It's important to eliminate as many potential distractions as possible, so a comfy cushion is a great starting point. If you're someone who prefers to lie down when you meditate, a bolster beneath your knees will keep you feeling comfortable for longer. If you're always cold, tack on a blanket.