In a world where we’re constantly thinking to the future or focusing on the past, meditation can feel downright impossible, given that its entire premise is to situate yourself firmly in the present. That’s something that many of us have no experience with—why is why meditation is truly worth the effort. It teaches you, and allows you, to be in the present, while relieving stress and promoting a happier, healthier lifestyle. With the right instruction, finding your zen is easier than you’d think. Kelly Morris, the founder of Conquering Lion Yoga, tells you all you need to know.
1. Being present makes you happier.
“If it’s true that life is about living, and if it’s also true that what is alive can be found in the present moment, then in order to feel fully alive, we need to step out of the mind a bit and into the moment,” Morris says. She says that we prevent ourselves from being truly happy because we are so caught up—even trapped—in our own lives. “We feel best when we aren’t thinking about ourselves,” Morris adds. Focusing solely on ourselves brings an unnecessary amount of stress.
2. The breath brings you present.
“The breath is the one thing that is definitely occurring in the present moment, the very place you are trying to enter fully,” says Morris. “Hitch a ride on the breath and know that, by doing so, you are at the very least present with the present.”
3. If you can breathe, you can meditate.
“The breath is completely natural without any interference. The aim is to feel the breath as it moves in and moves out of the body,” Morris advises. Gain control of the mind by focusing merely on the breath—and that’s it! You’re meditating.
4. You can meditate anywhere.
You don’t need a yoga studio or special room for meditation. The key, however, is to create a space specifically for your practice. “It can be simple: a cushion, a candle, a flower. Anything that makes you feel like you want to stay there, that makes you feel something special is going down. Things are as sacred or as mundane as we make them,” says Morris.
5. Mediated meditation is a good starting place.
Mediated meditation with a teacher or experienced guide gives you an initial feel for the practice before you try it alone. “A good teacher will make sure to include at least five minutes of meditation,” Morris says. She also recommends Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness: A 28 Day Program. “You can listen along as Sharon guides you through. It’s like training wheels on a bike,” she says. Once you feel comfortable, you can do it on your own. Anytime, anywhere.