images-1Winter is a time of returning inside. The days are shorter and the nights longer. It’s traditionally a time of reflection and introspection in preparation for a new year. It is an opportunity to find stillness inside and hear its voice. Yet, with lives that are increasingly busy, and holidays around the bend, how do we make time for the quiet that is calling to us? Give yourself 5-10 minutes every day for a time of silence.

Take it a step further and you’ll find yourself meditating.
Start Small. Make it doable, but consistent. Sit in silence or meditate five minutes a day or 20 minutes two times a week. Whatever amount of time you choose, make it a pattern that you can stick with.

Watch the Sunrise. Morning is when we are at our freshest, before our mind has started spinning. Try sitting first thing in the morning, before that cup of coffee. There is something special about the transition from night to day. It allows you to drop into a meditative state more easily.

Comfort Matters. A lot is said about the importance of posture and sitting straight, but it doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. Having a slight arch in your lower back helps to “set” your position, without straining your back with effort. Always keep your hips higher than your knees if you sit cross-legged sitting on cushions to get a comfortable position.
Find your Inner Jaws. Loosen and drop your jaw, allowing your mouth to open a bit. The difference between a loose jaw versus a tight jaw can determine the trajectory of your experience.

Rinse and Repeat. Find a place where you can sit each time you are seeking that quiet. Your body recognizes patterns and will begin to relax and unwind even before you close your eyes.
Choose Breath. Thoughts will try to fill your silence. There’s no way around it. Just catch them when they come and before they steal you away, remember to return to your breath. An awareness of your breath is a way to let the thoughts go.

During the day, keep an eye out for emotions and self-judgment. Self-judgment has a crippling effect on our lives, keeping us constrained within self-limitations. We push down our emotions with our self-criticisms. The more we can see our self judgments, the better the chance we can release ourselves and feel the beauty and complexity of our own emotional lives.

If you have tried meditating on your own but want more, try a deeper immersion with a
weekend meditation workshop, like the Awakening the Third Eye Series, that occur throughout California. There is one in Los Angeles, Dec 6-7 and one in San Diego March 7-8, 2015.

For more information:

Jennifer Pennell is an IST Practitioner, working with people to clear emotional blockages and further their meditation practice. You can find her at