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How to Set Up For Successful Meditation

Kevin Schoeninger specialises in mind-body training, in today’s guest post he shares some of his expertise and experience in:

How to Set Up For Successful Meditation

By Kevin Schoeninger

"How to Set Up For Successful Meditation" By Kevin Schoeninger

What is the current status of your meditation practice? Is it in the idea stage, waiting to be implemented at the right time? Maybe you know it’s something that would be good for you, but haven’t yet clicked into doing it as a daily routine?

Or maybe, you’ve done it at times, but either been frustrated by the results or lost interest? Or perhaps, you love to meditate and would like to gain some insights about how to go even deeper or make it even more effective?

In this article, we explore 4 Steps to Setup a Successful Meditation Session.

1. Set Up a Meditative Space

Whether it’s a spare room, a closet, or a part of your bedroom, define a space that you dedicate to meditation. You can mark this space with a rug, a meditation bench, chair, or cushion.

By meditating in the same space consistently it comes to represent “meditation” to you, and thereby becomes a space that supports you moving into a meditative state. After a period of time, just sitting in this space will relax you.

Another way to enhance the atmosphere of your meditation space is to set up an “altar” that represents what is important to you in your practice and your life.

If the idea of having an altar inspires you, it can take any form that is pleasing and motivating to you. It can include photos, symbols, candles, flowers, offering bowls, statues, quotes, and so on. The basic idea is to put significant items there-ones that put you in the right mindset for meditating and remind you WHY you are taking time to practice.

If you use meditation to support a religious faith, place images or items that represent your faith on your altar. Personally, I have symbols of several different spiritual traditions in my space to represent the Universal Spirituality underlying all faiths and traditions. I also have family pictures and quotes that remind me of my higher intentions. The most important quality of your altar is that it represents what is important to you.

Once you’ve meditated in your sacred space for a while and used it to grow your inner skills, you’ll be able to take your meditation on the road and do it virtually anytime, anywhere-no matter what is going on around you. This is when your meditation becomes truly powerful. Yet, even then, you’ll probably really appreciate and value those times when you get to meditate in your sacred space.

2. Create a Ritual Around Your Practice

Set a regular time for meditation and create a consistent routine that moves you into your practice.

One way to support regular practice is to make meditation a part of an established routine that you already do. For most people, the best way is to integrate meditation into their morning routine. This encourages you to start your day from a relaxed, present, intentional perspective-and it insures that you meditate before other events in the day get in the way.

Once you’ve decided on the time you will meditate, plan your day accordingly. If you are meditating first thing, make sure you go to bed early enough that you can comfortably wake up early enough to practice without rushing. Set your alarm to wake you up with plenty of time.

Once you get up, have a routine to move you into your practice. For example, I first massage around my eyes and back of my head while still lying in bed. I then massage the bottoms of my feet with some tennis balls that are at the foot of my bed when I sit up. I use the toilet, then splash water on my face and massage my scalp. Then, I do some stretches to limber up before I stand in my standing meditation posture. All of this awakens and loosens me up and prepares me for a good practice session.

After standing meditation, I do a seated meditation, then I shake out my whole body, and finish with prayers for my family and the whole planet at my altar.

Having a routine that includes how I wake up, makes the movement into my practice seamless and reliable. Over the years, I have adapted and grown my routine as needs, insights, and new learning have guided me. Yet, the basic idea of having a ritual sequence has made waking up something that I look forward to and moving into my practice easy and natural.

3. Adjust Your Posture

If you search for photos of people meditating, nine times out of ten you’ll find them seated in a cross-legged position. Unfortunately, this gives many people the impression that this is THE WAY to meditate. I heartily disagree.

In fact, unless you’ve grown up in a culture in which that is the way you normally sit, I encourage you to sit on a chair, bench, or bed that puts the soles of your feet flat on the floor and parallel with each other, with your hips level with or slightly above your knees.

Having the soles of your feet flat on the floor and parallel to each other puts you in a “grounded” position that also bio-mechanically aligns your feet, knees, and hips. This position is easy on your joints.

There are many acceptable hand positions for meditation-each with their own purpose. A basic starting position is to place your hands palms-down on your legs. This position is relaxing, while it also supports upright posture and alert attention. Finer points are “softening” your hands and lowering your shoulders to release tension and having a slight space under your armpits to encourage an open, expansive, spacious feeling in your body.

Next, imagine a string attached to the top of your head, drawing your spine into an upright position. Tuck your chin slightly to lengthen the back of your neck and put a subtle smile on your lips to encourage a calm, accepting, positive attitude.

Lightly close your eyes to support you in focusing inwardly. Unless you are using a technique that focuses on energy above your head, direct your gaze slightly downward. After practicing a while, you may notice that your eyes naturally open just slightly, with a soft focus to the outer environment.

Finally, sit forward on the front edge of your seat. Sit far enough forward so you feel some weight in your feet, which encourages a grounded, present feeling in your body. Sitting without back support also aligns and strengthens your spine, which has an empowering affect.

As you align and strengthen your spine, you are more likely to stay aligned with your higher intentions and feel strong in following them, rather than getting distracted and swayed by less important desires. You develop a strong “backbone.”

Now, many people email me saying that this posture is just too hard and painful to maintain.

The reason for that is tension along the spine, weakness, and misalignment. Meditation practice is actually a powerful way to overcome these issues. First it reveals those issues, then it heals those issues.

During your meditation, you become aware of spinal tension, weakness, and misalignment. And, yes, that doesn’t feel so good, initially. Yet, if you can accept it and observe it without judgment, without fighting it, over time, you’ll notice that the tensions release, the spine adjusts, you come into alignment, and get stronger.

A well-known meditation teacher, Dr. Meares, says that some discomfort when starting to meditate is actually a good thing, because it teaches you to be able to observe discomfort without reacting, judging, or running away from it. As you calmly sit with discomfort, over time, it resolves and changes for the better. This is a powerful lesson to take with you into any uncomfortable situation in life. Be calmly present, relax and observe things non-judgmentally, then notice resolutions as they arise.

All that being said in favor of sitting upright without back support, you might approach this incrementally. Start by sitting forward for just a minute or two, calmly observe any discomfort until it is just too distracting, then sit back against support for the remainder of your practice. Gradually increase the amount of time that you sit in an unsupported upright position. After practicing for a period of time, this will actually become a comfortable, relaxed, and empowered way for you to sit.

One caveat is that some people cannot sit this way due to severe physical impairments. If that is the case, you can use back support or even lie down to meditate. If you do that, simply try to keep your spine as straight as possible by imagining that string extending your spine, tuck your chin slightly, adopt a subtle smile, soften your hands, and lightly close your eyes.

4. Adopt the Three Noble Principles-Good in the Beginning, Good in the Middle, Good at the End

In their book, “Meditation: An In-Depth Guide,” Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson share these three principles for meditation practice.

“Good in the Beginning” means that when you start a meditation session call to mind your intention, your motivation for practicing. You might want to “relax, to be calm, to let go of stress, to be well, to heal. But what is suggested here is that the more we can expand our motivation, the more encompassing our motivation, the more meaningful our meditation becomes, the more we will value it, the more likely we are to do it, and the more benefit it will bring.” (p.69, Meditation: An In-Depth Guide)

Consider how your meditation practice will have a positive impact on your day, on your interactions with others, and even on the collective consciousness of “all of us together.” What if your practice is making a positive contribution not only to your life, but also to the lives of others, and to all life on Earth?

In the Buddhist tradition, the goal of meditation practice is enlightenment, so that we can use our enlightenment to bring enlightenment to all beings. In the Christian contemplative tradition, meditation leads us into deeper communion with God, so that we bring Divine Love and Light into the world. In a mind-body view of meditation, we come into a relaxed, expanded, focused state so that we heal our wounds, grow our inner skills, be more effective in anything we do, and more caring and compassionate with others.

What motivates you to meditate?

“Good in the Middle” has to do with your attitude during meditation. The attitude to practice is calm, present, non-judgmental awareness of whatever happens. Recognize whatever comes up, accept it, release it, and return to your focal cues.

“Good in the End” has to do with how you finish your practice. Rather than rushing off into your day, it’s important to end intentionally and even to dedicate your practice to someone or something beyond yourself. From a meditative state you can more easily visualize positive outcomes for yourself, others, and the planet. You are also in a powerful state from which to pray. You can use your meditation to connect to a greater mission in life, such as being a vessel for Spirit to be more present in the world.

As you end your meditation think of how the skills you developed and the state of being you entered can have a greater impact in the larger whole.

When you Set Up a Meditative Space, Create a Ritual Around Your Practice, Sit with Good Posture, and Adopt the Three Noble Principles, your meditation practice will become much easier and more enjoyable, significant, and successful.

Enjoy your practice!

Looking for a powerful proven technique to quickly shift you into an empowered meditative state? Click Here to download The Core Energy Technique to release anything that holds you back, connect to your heart, and raise your vibration!

About Kevin Schoeninger

Kevin Schoeninger’s lifework is mind-body training through daily practice. He graduated from Villanova University in 1986 with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and is certified as a Personal Trainer, Qigong Meditation instructor, Life Coach, and Reiki Master Teacher.

Kevin’s published programs include:

  • The Power of Practice Program
  • Learn Qigong Meditation Home Study Course
  • RAISE YOUR VIBRATION: A Guide to Core Energy Meditation
  • The Life You Are Meant To Live Program
  • Holistic Fitness Training Program
  • SpiritualGrowthMonthly.com

His programs are available online through The Mind-Body Training Company: Feel free to email Kevin with your questions through the link on The Power of Practice Home Page:

Connect with Kevin Schoeninger on Social Media

 

 

Article Source: How to Set Up For Successful Meditation

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Walking & Talking in Nature

 In today’s guest post performance coach Anna-Marie Watson shares some of her experience and knowledge.

Walking & Talking in Nature*

By Anna-Marie Watson

"Walking & Talking in Nature" by Anna-Marie Watson

Do the following questions strike a chord for your clients or maybe just you?

Working 11, 12, 13 or more hours a day cooped up inside and permanently attached to a computer?

Struggling to hit 10,000 daily steps to satisfy the FitBit?

Mentally fatigued juggling 101 dead lines and demanding clients who add to a never-ending “to-do” list that regularly spirals out of control?

Was that a resounding “Yes!”; grudging “Maybe”, niggling “Sometimes” or resolute “No”?

For most of us who fall in the “Yes”, “Maybe” or even “Sometimes” bracket, the perfect yet often overlooked antidote to modern life is nature.

The simple act of stepping beyond the four walls of our work spaces and spending time in the natural environment improves creativity and productivity, reduces stress, aids mental clarity and encourages a wider appreciation of different perspectives. Our human brain with unique cognitive skills was developed over hundreds of years in the presence of permanent movement outdoors. From an evolutionary perspective our bodies are designed to walk up to 12 miles per day, unlike our current obesio-genic environment where on average we remain stationary for over 8 hours (Medina, 2014). Taking our clients outside for coaching sessions creates a physical shift from immobile to active and provides natural inspiration to stimulate cognitive thought to support our genetic heritage.

Neurons image

Neurons image

Just take a moment to appreciate your brain with its approximate eighty-five billion neurons that constantly wire, fire, re-wire and re-fire to process and transmit information. This 1.4 kg tofu-like mass weighs a mere fraction of our total body weight yet devours over 20% of our daily energy needs to maintain essential chemical and electrical processes way beyond the scale of any other human organ. The amount of energy needed on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis that’s necessary to navigate a myriad of tasks is simply mind-boggling.

The physical, biological and chemical interactions to process our thoughts, make decisions, silence our internal critic, organise daily tasks, unconsciously regulate the immune, cardiovascular, muscular, skeletal, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems, and then remember to email our accountant the end of year figures, are endless. Ultimately the brain, or more specifically the prefrontal cortex, like any other muscle becomes fatigued and needs time out to rest, relax and recover then return fully recharged with resilience boosted to increase productivity and reach optimum performance.

The routine dual attack and constant over stimulation from external sources and internal rhetoric can be turned on its head by stepping outside into nature*, taking a deep breathe, placing one foot in front of another, stilling the mind and living in the present moment. These recommendations from the global scientific community are reflected in British government policy with the advice to move from a sedentary position every thirty minutes and engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of 3 lots of 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise sessions per week (Public Health England, 2014).

From a coaching perspective the combination of physical movement, different environment and mental exploration leaves the client feeling refreshed, restored and with improved mental performance. Walking & Talking coaching sessions inevitably facilitate the creation of different states, energy and perspectives, which in turn influences subsequent outcomes and results compared to a traditional static conversation. Next time you’re scheduling a client coaching session cancel the conference room or confines of a café and opt for an urban venture outside the four walls hemming you in to reap physical and mental rewards.

I’ll conclude with the succinct and simple words of Elizabeth Hurley “spending time outdoors makes you feel great”.

Note*: Nature literally exists on our doorsteps and is best accessed on two feet.

References

Medina, J. (2014). Brain Rules. Pear Press, USA.

Public Health England. (2014). Everybody Active, Every Day – An evidence-based approach to physical activity click here to read Accessed 6 Sep 16.

Williams, F. (2016). This is Your Brain on Nature. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2016/01/call-to-wild-text Accessed 4 Sep 2016.

About Anna-Marie Watson

Anna-Marie WatsonAnna-Marie is a performance coach who draws from NLP, sports psychology, neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness theory to craft industrious and dynamic coaching partnerships with clients who yearn for more and desire balance within their life. Anna-Marie’s specialty is “walking & talking” where the Great Outdoors inspires facilitates deep level insights, encourages different perspectives and ultimately optimises performance. She integrates Analytic-Network (http://www.analyticnetwork.com) and mBraining (http://www.mbraining.com) methodologies to unlock and unleash transformational change.

Anna-Marie has been at the forefront of leadership and personal development for over 16 years working with high performing individuals and teams across three continents. Anna-Marie’s core values of growth, balance and energy are reflected in her business Reach for More. where improving yourself is an all round experience.

Reach For MoreFor more information on Anna-Marie’s performance coaching services, visit www.rfmcoaching.com

 

Connect with Anna-Marie on Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RFMCoaching

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RFMCoaching/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/awatson4

Google+: https://www.google.com/+AnnaMarieWatson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rfmcoaching/


Are You Primark Or Harrods? Pricing And Positioning Is Your Choice

When you are starting a coaching business one of the early questions you have to answer is how much you will charge. In today’s guest post Vicky Fraser discusses price …

Are You Primark Or Harrods? Pricing And Positioning Is Your Choice

By Vicky Fraser

"Are You Primark Or Harrods? Pricing And Positioning Is Your Choice" by Vicky Fraser

Man, we have a lot of hang-ups about money. And a lot of false beliefs, too.

I’m gonna share possibly the most important thing nobody’s ever told you about money:

Price is elastic.

What do you think people consider most important when deciding to buy something? Actually, I can’t tell you the answer to that, because it depends on the person, the product and their reason for buying.

I can tell you, though, only a tiny proportion of people make their decision solely or mostly based on cheapest price. You might be sceptical, but think about it for a second and you’ll realise I’m right.

If everyone bought on price alone, the only clothes shop would be Primark and we’d all be driving Dacias (Britain’s cheapest car) and shopping in Poundland.

Do you think someone buying a Rolls-Royce gives price any consideration at all? I can tell you now: they don’t. People who want a Rolls-Royce want one because it’s a Rolls-Royce, not because they need a car to get to work or take the kids to school.

This is important to you because it means you get choose how to run your business, too. You can charge whatever the hell you want, because “the going rate” is a dangerous myth.

“But wait!” I hear you cry. “All my competitors are around the same price range. I can’t possibly go against that can I?”

Yes, you can. This sameness in pricing is great for you, because you can let those sheep get on with it.

Look, industry norms are meaningless to your business.

It’s really common, when starting a business, to look at what everybody else is charging. I did it. I’m sure you did it – and perhaps still do.

We look at what others are charging and pick somewhere in the middle. Or even near the bottom if our confidence isn’t up where it should be.

It’s a crazy way to sell for a couple of reasons. I mean, if you came to your prices like that… most other people must have done the same thing. Right? Which makes pricing completely arbitrary.

Dan Kennedy, marketing genius, puts it like this: “Understand that everybody else has arrived at their price decisions through the same foolish process as you might now. It’s price incest, which works like regular incest: over time, everybody gets dumber.”

So how do we set prices? Honestly? Get a dartboard, stick some numbers on it, and chuck darts at it. See how your sales go. Include “safe” numbers that keep you in your comfort zone… and include “I can’t possibly charge that!” numbers too – the ones that make your hands all sweaty and set you on edge.

Then go with the number the dart lands on, even if it scares the bejeezus out of you.

I’m being deadly serious here. Because… you don’t have any competitors. You really don’t, and when you get your head around this, your business will become much more fun. And much more profitable.

Your business is different from everyone else’s in the sense that it has you. How you structure your business, how you package your product, how you sell it, how you deliver it… all this means you can price it differently. It makes direct comparison impossible.

Which means: you can wave goodbye to the price buyers!

Most business owners live in fear of pricing – don’t you be one of them. A bit of healthy awareness is fine… But any business decision made out of fear is a bad one.

Fear drives people to needlessly under-price, to avoid raising prices in time (if at all), and to ignore opportunities to sell the deluxe version.

Fear leads to Comparison. Comparison leads to Discounts. Discounts lead to the Dark Side.

I’m not kidding: discounts will destroy your business if you succumb to them. I’ll explain how in my next article.

But first, I really want you to understand that you can choose your position. Are you Primark, John Lewis or Harrods? (If you’re not in the UK, Primark sells cheap stuff, John Lewis is mid-range, and Harrods is… well… Harrods.)

If you’re Primark and you’re happy, that’s cool. As long as you’re comfortable with your positioning and it will get you closer to your goals, that’s great. I’m not judging – not everybody can be Harrods! People buy at different price levels.

My point is: you don’t have to settle for average and you don’t have to compete on price. In fact, you shouldn’t.

Competing on price is a dangerous game.

The really successful business owners understand this.

If you can’t be the cheapest and make that your USP, there is no benefit at all in being at the bottom of the barrel with the rest of the “almost cheapest”. That is truly rubbish positioning.

So choose your position. Make a decision. Take control of your own profits.

I really want you to understand the importance of getting your head around pricing and positioning, so I’ve got something for you: a free chapter of my book, where I dig really deep into pricing and positioning. You can download it at http://www.businessforsuperheroes.com/free-preview-chapter-4

About Vicky Fraser

Copywriter. Entrepreneur. Ran away with the circus.

Vicky Fraser has built her business up from a few hundred quid a month to six figures a year – and counting. She’s author of the book Business For Superheroes, runs the prestigious Small Business Superheroes Inner Circle, and publishes free daily marketing tips on her website.

Article Source: Are You Primark Or Harrods? Pricing And Positioning Is Your Choice

Ezine Articles Expert page: Vicky Fraser