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Working Skilfully with the two Most Common problems when starting meditation

The two most common problems when starting a formal sitting meditation practice are : tiredness, sleepiness and mental dullness or alternatively we can experience physical and mental agitation.

A useful way to manage dullness is to initially do short practices of five minutes or so. It can also be helpful to take longer deeper breaths with a particular focus on the in breath as this stimulates the sympathetic nervous system so we become more alert. Making sure that our spine is erect yet comfortable so our breathing / energy flow through the body isn't restricted can also be helpful. You may also wish to get up and go and splash some water on your face.

When you sit and you notice restlessness in mind and/or body - just notice, not judge, the restlessness and agitation and allow it to be there without reacting to it and overlaying a story on top of it. Sometimes the agitation will settle by itself. Accentuating the out breath slightly and perhaps saying to yourself " letting go" as you breath out can also be helpful ways of allowing yourself to settle.

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