Although meditation is pretty much about what’s going inside the head, the body plays a very special role. It can either help you achieve that elusive moment of total stillness and clarity, or it could be a constant source of annoyance and distraction.
Stepping into the meditative state and staying there isn’t easy. It’s not like a switch you can turn off and on any time you want. More often than not, you have to condition yourself first — centering, breathing deeply and slowly, and deliberately calming down — before attempting to step into the zone. You just can’t dive in. You have to ease yourself into it.
So, imagine how hard it would be if your body doesn’t co-operate?
Tight shoulders, numbness or tingling in your limbs, feeling cold or uncomfortably warm, a grumbling stomach, sore spots, tensed areas — these are common sensations that practitioners encounter during meditation.
Experiencing physical sensations while meditating is normal. However, these could be insanely distracting. So, learn how to fend them off before you start meditating. Here are a few tips to keep your body comfortable:
Perform a few gentle stretches to loosen up your muscles. If you’ve been on your feet the entire day or if you’ve been sitting behind a desk for hours, some parts of your body are likely to feel stiff and sore. So, prepare your body first.
In addition, regular exercise helps. It strengthens your muscles and keeps your body flexible. Yoga is great for anyone who’s into meditation. Aside from improving balance and co-ordination, it trains the mind to stay in the present at the same time.
Set the Temperature Right
Meditating in a room that’s either too cold or too warm won’t help. Set the temperature just right. If you’re feeling extra cold, cover your legs with a blanket.
On the other hand, if you’re meditating outdoors, it’s important to wear the right kind of clothing. Wear light clothes during warm and sunny days, and bundle up if it’s chilly.
Eat Just Right
If you’ve just eaten a huge cheeseburger with an upsize soda, it’s not a good time to meditate. You’re too full and you’ll probably end up yawning and thinking about the couch. The same thing goes if you’re hungry. A grumbling tummy will only prod your thoughts toward steaks, pasta, ice cream, and all the comfort foods you know.
So, before meditating, make sure your tummy is happy, but not too happy so that it distracts you.