Close up of a person on a beach in a meditation pose.
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A guide to deepening your meditation practice

Words by Carlie Barlow, health & wellbeing coach

If you’ve added regular meditation to your routine, congratulations – you’re doing your emotional health a real favour. After all, meditation, a practice with roots stretching back millennia, can offer a gateway to inner peace, stress reduction and sharpened focus.

But maybe, now that you’re no longer new to meditation, you want to grow your practice further – just as someone new to the gym might start off with the lightest weights and then progress to more challenging workouts. And even if you’re a seasoned meditator, you might find yourself
stuck in a rut, yearning to delve deeper and unlock new levels of serenity.

We’re here to help with that. This guide explores ten key strategies to refine your meditation practice and cultivate a stronger sense of inner calm.

1. Build a strong foundation

The first step to deepening your practice lies in making sure you have a solid foundation – and that means revisiting how you meditate, right down to the basics. Refining your technique is key, and this begins with posture.

While comfort is important, aim for an alert and upright position with a lengthened spine. Props such as a cushion or block can support you in improving your posture and comfort. Avoid stiffness; imagine a gentle thread pulling the crown of your head upwards.

Next, focus on the type of meditation you’re doing. In order to grow your practice, it may be helpful to explore different approaches. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the breath and observing its rise and fall without judgment. Mantra meditation uses a repeated sound or phrase to anchor the mind.

Experiment to find what resonates most with you. Remember, a wandering mind is a natural part of meditation. The key is to guide your focus back without self-criticism.

2. Lengthen your sessions

Begin with shorter sessions, perhaps five minutes, and gradually extend them over time. Don’t
be discouraged if you initially find longer sessions challenging. Even short daily meditations offer
far greater benefits than sporadic, longer ones.

3. Explore guided meditations

Guided meditations can be a valuable tool, especially for beginners or those facing challenges with focus. Many free guided meditations are available online – or if you’re a David Lloyd Clubs member, you’ll find sessions on our app. These sessions can introduce new techniques, provide prompts to deepen your practice, or simply offer a soothing voice to guide you through the process.

4. Create a sanctuary

Minimise distractions during your practice. Silence your phone, inform family about your meditation time if necessary, and choose a quiet, comfortable space.

Consider creating a designated meditation area with minimal clutter, and use meditation props: bolsters, blankets and eye pillows can really enhance your practice. This dedicated space can become a physical and mental trigger for focusing your mind and entering a meditative state.

5. Integrate meditation into daily life

The benefits of meditation extend far beyond your meditation cushion. Cultivate a practice of mindfulness throughout the day.

Try mindful eating: savour your meals, focusing on each bite’s taste, texture, and aroma. Walk mindfully, paying attention to the sensations in your body and the world around you. These seemingly mundane activities become opportunities to cultivate presence and quiet the mind.

6. Track your journey

Journaling your experiences before, during and after meditation can be a powerful tool for self-discovery. Note down any thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations that arise. Over time, you might identify patterns in your practice, track your progress and gain valuable insights into the workings of your mind.

7. Find your community

Connect with others who share your interest in meditation. A meditation buddy can provide encouragement, a safe space to share experiences and offer valuable insights from different perspectives. Sharing your journey with others can bolster your motivation and deepen your understanding of the practice.

If you’re a David Lloyd Clubs member, you can find that sense of community by joining SPIRIT, SPIRIT Sound Meditation, SPIRIT Dance Meditation and other holistic sessions and events in our clubs.

8. Be patient and kind

Remember, deepening your meditation practice is a journey, not a destination. There will be good days when you experience profound calmness and challenging days filled with distractions. Be patient with yourself, and avoid getting discouraged. Even a short meditation session offers benefits such as stress reduction and improved focus.

9. Embrace the lifelong journey

Meditation is a practice that unfolds over a lifetime. As you delve deeper, you’ll likely discover new aspects of yourself and the world around you. Approach your practice with curiosity and a willingness to learn. Celebrate the small victories, embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth, and enjoy the process of cultivating inner peace and a more profound sense of self.

10. Deepen your practice with retreats

For a more immersive experience, consider attending a meditation retreat. These retreats
provide dedicated time for practice, often in a serene environment, and can offer valuable instruction and group support.

Being surrounded by others who share your interest in meditation can create a powerful sense of community and deepen your commitment to the practice.

And finally…

Meditation is a personal practice. There is no “one size fits all” approach. Experiment with all these strategies, find what works best for you, and enjoy the transformative journey of deepening your meditation practice.

Deep meditation brings profound peace, replacing racing thoughts with stillness. Your body relaxes and time seems to slip away. Thoughts become fewer, replaced by a gentle inner joy. As you progress, awareness deepens, and you become a calm observer of your thoughts. Deep meditation is a journey; savour the experience.

By incorporating these ten strategies, you can refine your technique, cultivate consistency and unlock new levels of serenity within yourself.

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