A practical guide to your morning meditation routine
Early morning meditation can help reduce the feeling of daily stress and boost clarity, calmness and mood. Take a deep breath and relax through our guided morning practice.
Research has shown that morning meditation can help to improve brain function, boost energy levels, reduce levels of negativity, as well as reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, keep you motivated to exercise and help aid a restful sleep. Seems there’s no better way to start your day.
And if you think “namaste in bed”, hit snooze and choose to push your morning mindfulness meditation back to the evening then consider this: according to a study by the University of Toronto, morning people reported higher levels of happiness and productivity.
We rose early and asked meditation expert, clairvoyant and healer, Emma Lucy Knowles, how to get up and at ‘em with your morning meditation practice.
Why is morning meditation so beneficial?
Aside from the reasons mentioned above, there are some less certifiable reasons why your morning meditation for stresses, gratitude or energy is so important.
“Morning meditation is important for so many reasons, my list could go on and on and on,” says Knowles. “My top ones would be that it allows you to really come and lovingly take hold of all that you are: mind, body and spirit.
“On one level it allows you to soften your thoughts and emotions – holding space to witness them without just taking them as a given. On the other level it allows you to connect to your life force – that perceived ‘higher power’ that lives within us all – in order to create, shape and take hold of where and who we are now and where we want to be.
“On a physical level it allows us to come into the breath and tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, calming, soothing, nurturing and relaxing the body, allowing it to recoup and recharge.”
In fact, studies do seem to confirm that meditation activates the parasympathetic and quiets the sympathetic nervous system.
Medical studies have revealed that individuals who practice transcendental meditation daily had lower blood levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
Some forms of meditation also led to lower respiration rates and heart rate and better blood flow to the brain, indicating less constriction of blood vessels.
What does a step-by-step morning meditation session look like?
First and foremost, don’t pressure yourself on the amount of time you spend doing it, advises Knowles. “Build on your practice. Set a timer for three minutes and add a minute every day. It just eases you and your brain into the habit and the routine.”
Next come to the breath. “We use the breath as the focus tool for the mind. To work our way into distracting the ego so space can slide in or through. A guided count is my go to for anyone starting and something I’d always encourage people who have been meditating for months, years or decades is to come back to just to reset yourself.
“Start with your eyes open, sitting comfortably with your back supported and feet firmly on the ground. Alternatively lay with your palms facing up, which is a sign to self and spirit or universe that you are open to receiving,” explains Knowles.
Then focus on the breath. Studies show that breathwork is a great self-help technique for winter stress. “Take a long cleansing breath in and a long breath out. Go as big as you can and then breathe in for a count of five and out for the same duration,” says Knowles. Repeat three times.
Next, hold for six on the in and out breath, and repeat that three times. Then do the same for seven and eight.
“Now you have to work your way backwards,” Knowles explains. “Breathe in and out for seven, then six and five and keep going until the timer sounds.
“In time the counting will naturally drift away within your window of meditation time and your mind can soar. Other days, you’ll feel you need to focus on the breath more. Play with it. Explore with it. Have fun with it.”
Is there anything else you welcome into your morning meditation practice?
“I’d always advise making notes after,” Knowles suggests. “What did you feel or witness within your body? Where did you feel ‘stuck’? Where could you sense ease in letting go?
“Having a bag full of tools is great because the mind gets wise to you trying to calm it down. Running, boxing and yoga are also types of mediation depending on the individual.”
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