Meditation is a way of clearing junk thoughts from your head. Just like the garbage man comes around in the early morning, you should be taking out that trash from your head upon waking up. Perhaps not immediately though.
This is my morning meditation routine that I’ve developed over a number of years of trial-and-error. I’ll show you exactly how to meditate in the morning to get the best results. Along the way I’ll mention some common mistakes to avoid because they can seriously ruin your practice.
How to meditate in the morning
1. Get out of bed
I know that some people meditate in their bed as soon as they wake up. I think that’s not the best way to go. Your bed is associated with sleep and perhaps some other fun activities, but it’s not a place of concentrated relaxation.
Meditation in bed is more like fighting with fuzzy thinking that gets you nowhere. You’re more likely to fall asleep in meditation in bed than anywhere else, for quite obvious reasons. Furthermore, the bed’s surface is typically too soft for your back.
Sitting cross-legged on the bed will make your butt drop too low while your legs remain higher. This will make your upper body lean forward to make up for the unbalance. This is really detrimental for meditation, because you want to be sitting upright in order to breath easily.
Meditation works for the most part because it creates a gentle breathing pattern. Leaning forward will make breathing gently next to impossible. So get out of bed and find a relatively firm surface to sit on instead. A thick yoga mat is my preferred choice.
2. Refresh your mind AND body
Take a shower BEFORE meditating. Trust me, you’ll get all of the sleep funk out, physically and mentally. A cold shower will be even more beneficial for placing you in a positive, charged state.
So start your meditation practice fresh instead of sleepwalking through it. It’s a way to show respect to your practice as well. Samurais used to wake up in 5 AM, perform their entire hygiene routine which took a long time considering their supremely long hair, and only then they would meditate.
Also make sure to hydrate first thing in the morning or after showering and brushing your teeth and tongue. Drink a bottle of water or another healthy alternative like lemon juice. But I don’t recommend eating just yet. Save your breakfast for AFTER meditation, otherwise all that food running through your stomach won’t make for a pleasant “relaxed concentration” experience.
If you have a stuffy nose, use a saline solution to flush out your sinuses. Some people use a basic neti pot, while others prefer a pulsating sinus irrigation device like SinuPulse. Using this device can feel pretty amazing because the water clears the upper sinuses as well (in the forehead).
If you’ve ever tried meditating with a cold or a sinus infection, you know that it’s very, very difficult to concentrate so it’s important to clear any obstructions from your nasal passages so that the air can flow freely.
Remember, meditation is not some woo-woo practice. It’s purely physiological. Your body needs to be prepared for it. At least until you reach enlightenment, that state where your mind is no longer conditioned by your physical existence, your practice will be susceptible to environmental and physical influences.
This is why yogis and monks pay so much attention to where and how they eat, breath, sleep and conduct their everyday affairs. I’m not saying you have to be super strict, but it would be very beneficial to follow these tips to get the best results from those 10-15 minutes of meditation in the morning.
3. Stretch first!
Unless you’re some super-stretched yogi, you’ll experience back pain in the lotus position. And any other position for that manner if you stay in it for a long time.
That’s especially true in the morning as your body probably took a beating in the bed, sleeping in all sorts of weird positions or doing God knows what else. 🙂
Take at least 5-10 minutes to stretch. It will improve your meditation considerably because you won’t feel all those neck and back aches that can make it impossible to breath gently.
I recommend performing a simple yoga routine in the morning before meditation to relax your body. You can find many yoga morning routines on Youtube that are easy to follow. This routine is excellent for beginners and will make your back feel very smooth:
After a few tries you’ll memorize the routine and you can then use it every time without too much thinking. Consider this part of your meditation routine, because it definitely is.
4. Find a space with least distractions
If you can get out in nature to meditate in the morning that’s obviously the best choice. If you can’t, choose a part of your home with the least amount of distractions. I just meditate on the floor next to my bed on a yoga mat. Very simple.
I highly recommend getting a thick yoga mat, both for stretching and for meditation. Sitting on the floor provides a grounding effect. But sitting on a surface that’s too hard or rough can be painful for your knees, ankles and lower back.
I don’t recommend mats that are TOO THICK because you won’t be able to do certain yoga poses on them, especially poses that involve balancing on one leg. One inch or so seems to be the ideal thickness both for comfort and functionality.
If you want to get fancy and have some extra cash to invest in your meditation space, a meditation chair can be a great investment.
5. Design a meditation routine
Imagine if you went to the gym and just randomly threw around the weights. Sure, you’d get some muscle accidentally, but you’d be better off following a good exercise routine. Meditation is no different. To make your job easier, just imagine that there are two main types of meditation, because there actually are:
- Concentration: Focus on a certain physical or visualized object, a sound (chant) or repeat a word inwardly (mantra). I personally drew a dot on the wall with a pen. Just a good old dot, nothing fancy. I focus on the dot for 10-15 minutes and try not to blink. Doing this will seriously improve your visual perception, making it deeper. You will be able to “look through objects” and observe the background. So instead of focusing on the immediate surroundings as you’re walking around town, you’ll notice trees or mountains in the background. Transcendental Meditation (TM) has you repeat a personalized mantra for 20 minutes, and it would fall in this category as well. Alternatively, you can simply observe your breathing.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is all about detachment, the opposite from focusing on any particular object or sound. You are trying NOT to focus on anything. You are just observing the flow of thoughts. So one thought enters your head, you see it and then let is slide. Only for the next one to appear. Play this game for long enough and soon there won’t be any thoughts passing by. That’s when you’ve entered the blank state of mind known as mindfulness where you’ll be at peace. You’ve just found your bliss! And some of that blissful state will follow you throughout the rest of the day. There are more forceful ways to get into this state where instead of acknowledging these thoughts you shut them down immediately. This is for more experienced practitioners and I recommend you start with the gentle approach first.
Both 1) and 2) type of meditation will relax and improve concentration. But they place a higher emphasis on one or the other effect. So choose the type of meditation that suits your goals the best.
If you have a heavy exam schedule ahead, concentration might be the better type in order to learn the material faster. But if you’re struck with anxiety about these exams and can’t even begin to study because you’re scared you’ll fail, maybe mindfulness is more important to you. Either way, make sure to pick one method and do it for at least 10-15 minutes.
Having said that, you can combine both methods in a single session. But make sure you are aware of what you’re doing, so it’s not a haphazard performance where you end up not being sure what results you want or expect. By having clear intent you’ll feel more in control about your practice and overall progress.
6. Create a meditation schedule
There’s a chance that you’ll feel more calm and relaxed after your first meditation session. But in order to receive truly powerful benefits that stay with you throughout the day and even longer, you need to make meditation a habit.
Consistency is the key. It’s better to meditate 10 minutes every day than do it once or twice a week for an hour. Try not to focus too much on the time you’ve spent meditating, unless you’re on a tight schedule of course. Just do it until you reach that peaceful state of mind you’re after.
You might also feel tingling sensation in your forehead or see lights if you keep your eyes closed. These are all signs that you’re making spiritual progress. Slowly keep increasing the amount of time you meditate by prolonging your morning session or having multiple sessions each day. Even if it means just closing your eyes and relaxing for 5 minutes in the afternoon and before going to bed.
Those who want to get more impressive results should obviously be even more vigilant and meditate as much as possible. Find your pace and trust in the process.
Final Word: How to Meditate in the Morning
Meditation is a wonderful practice. If you’re into other esoteric practices like myself (qi gong, yoga and western magic tradition) it’s simply a must. It’s hard to achieve success in any endeavor when your mind is racing and you’re a victim of your own thoughts and emotions.
Meditation is a tool for taking charge of your “monkey mind” as the Buddhists call it. If you’re able to meditate consistently in the morning, you’ll be way more productive the rest of the time and with less stress. So make that small sacrifice of 10-15 minutes because the benefits are well worth it. Hope this helps!