Every morning, I wake up to sirens, birds, noisy neighbors, construction drills, or a combination of all four.
Living in a cramped city apartment means there’s rarely a quiet moment to start the day. This often means my morning begins with a jolt — rushing to new tasks and sometimes (ok, frequently) losing focus. To force some focus into my life, I tried meditation for beginners every morning for the last week.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been introduced to the practice — I’ve been to my fair share of wellness events that included a meditation session. But this was the first time I was taking the initiative on my own. Like so many “I could never do that” individuals before me, I’m antsy and meditation’s stillness seemed daunting. This isn’t to say that I didn’t fully believe in the benefits of meditation, it just appeared like it was going to take some real effort on my part.
There are numerous reasons the experts recommend beginning your day with meditation, like higher energy levels, a clearer mind, and the ability to cope with stress easier. Sure, meditation at lunchtime or during my afternoon slump might follow (baby steps!), but I decided I needed to align my focus to start my days off strong. I began with five minutes of meditation with Morgan Tyler, a yoga, mobility, and mindfulness coach.
I decided to meditate in my living room instead of my bedroom for the sole purpose of not crawling back under my weighted blanket and falling asleep. In hindsight, it’s a good thing I made myself leave the cozy bedroom before closing my eyes again — otherwise my quiet time might’ve just been catching extra Zzzs.
Morgan’s meditation offerings are pretty versatile, meaning that I could choose a 5-minute session based on what I hoped to get for the day. She also has longer sessions, for those of you who are ready to jump into the meditation deep end. After trying each of her 5-minute options, I found myself going back to the Inner Smile Meditation and the Body Scan Meditation later in the week.
These two meditation sessions asked me to focus on breathing that helped both my body and mind to “get my wiggles out,” giving me space to roam and adjust while bringing me back to stillness. I thought meditation was all about being still and quiet, but these two sessions pointed more toward alignment (in meditation, alignment means getting your thoughts and energies to work with your body in harmony). This alignment is what helped focus the rest of the day.
No matter how long you’re meditating for, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Have a designated space where you can sit in quiet without dozing off. That being said, this space should still be comfortable. The experts suggest placing a pillow or soft blanket on the floor to keep you both comfortable and grounded. You can also use scent to set the mood — place a few drops of a soothing essential oil (like lemongrass or lavender) into a diffuser to transform your space into a calming oasis. Setting up a space that promotes calm mindfulness will help ease you into the practice of meditation, making those five minutes even more enjoyable.
When you’re not accustomed to sitting still with your eyes closed for five minutes, those five minutes can last a LONG time. I found myself squirming like a toddler as my mind wandered to each new Brooklyn noise that entered the space. I was convinced that I was really butchering this whole "quiet time" concept! Then a very wise friend (and mediation enthusiast) mentioned that it’s actually normal for your brain to think during meditation — the time allows you to meet thoughts as they come, address them, and move on. So good news, you aren’t a meditation failure when you remember what to add to your grocery list.
I anticipated a calm, relaxed feeling after my morning meditation, but the focus that followed was a welcome surprise. My workday was a little clearer, as if the jumble in my brain had already been filtered out, making space for the tasks that needed to be accomplished. Worth the five minutes of squirming? Absolutely.
As the week finished, I found myself fidgeting a little less and looking forward to my meditation a little more. If anything, my focus came into vision quicker, making space for the rest of the day. That alignment that started my day? It stuck with me.
So will I continue with this new morning ritual? YES! Five minutes in the morning that set my day up for success is a win in my book.
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About the author
Lily is a Brooklyn-based wellness enthusiast who never says no to trying a new fitness class. As a previous fitness coach and current health editor, she loves New York's health scene and can often be found in a hot yoga studio, attending a meditation seminar, or going for a long run in Central Park. Lily is originally from Oregon and moved to Brooklyn in 2017—one day when she makes it big, she'll spend her winters on the West Coast and her summers in New York's best borough.