How to sit still when you're no good at sitting still

The Buddhist saying goes, “Everyone should meditate for at least 10 minutes a day. Those who are too busy, should meditate for an hour.” 


By far the hardest aspect of my yoga practice is my meditation. It just doesn't come naturally for me to stop moving, sit quietly and live in the quiet. That's why my asana practice is a strong and physically challenging one - so that at the end I surrender and give up resisting. When I get there I'm so thankful but it is quite an effort to reach that quietness each time. 

If you're like me, wanting to make meditation a regular and meaningful part of your life but find it a challenge here as some things to consider. 

  1. It's not a test. If you "fail" at keeping your mind still and focused/unfocused it just means you're exactly like everyone else. 
  2. Find the time of day that works for you. Though there is a strong tradition of early morning practice, that just doesn't work for me. Drop the guilt and if you can't sit until 8pm, so what. 
  3. Yes, you can have that cup of tea/coffee/juice etc. OK, so don't drink it during the meditation but if you need something to get you in the zone, why not. Think of it as a  part of the preparation like getting your seat ready. 
  4. Start small and build up. If it's just 5 minutes that is better than none. Meditation is a practice just like every other skill and needs work, patience and progress. Build up one extra minute at a time and see how that extra length affects your practice. Not everyone has time for a whole hour of meditation so even 10 minutes is worth doing. 
  5. Get some help. From a book, a teacher, a centre or an app. They will give you the tools you need to explore the mind. And yes, you'll probably need a whole roster of techniques!
  6. Work with what you've got. So if it's a sleeping puppy or baby, so be it. Life doesn't always hand you the time, space and energy to meditate so sometimes you have to shove it in amongst the chaos. 

In short, unless you have dedicated your life to a monastic existence, you're going to have to deal with what's going on with you and all that means. You'll have good days and bad, but isn't that true of everything?

If you have any tips or thoughts, please share them with me.