I love answering questions from readers because I know that I am serving you in the best way possible and giving you exactly what you want. Here are the answers to your questions!

Question: I can’t stay awake during meditation. Even if I only do a five minute meditation, I doze off. How do I keep this from happening? Although the power nap is nice, I want to be mindful during meditation.

Answer: When I read this question, I wondered about the position you are meditating in. It is really important to be sitting up during meditation. If you lay down, your body will always search for the most nourishing experience, and if you are the least bit tired that will be sleep. It is much easier to stay alert and awake in an upright position, so be sure you are sitting up nice and tall.

I always teach my students to meditate using a focus, such as your body, your breath or a mantra. If you have something to focus on it will be easier to stay awake as well. When you notice your mind drifting, you simply return to your focus. A few simple ones to try are counting your breaths, matching the length of your inhale and exhale, or using a simple mantra like in/out.

Meditation is a practice, so don’t get discouraged or give up! Even if you don t think anything is happening, it is.

Question: How do I make time for myself? Life is busy with a growing family, but I need and want time for myself.

Answer: This is a great question, and one that is so important for parents, especially. I help my coaching clients with this all the time. As a self-care coach for moms, I teach people how to fill up their own cup first, so that they have more to give those they care for. If you allow yourself to get depleted, you won’t have anything to give. It’s like they say on the airplane, “put your oxygen mask on first, before those you are caring for.” Trust me, this can change everything.

Self-care has to be a priority every day. The best ways for your body to deal with stress are sleep, exercise and meditation, so I would start there. Be sure you are getting the sleep you need. Set a bedtime for yourself if you have to. Try to shut off all social media an hour before bedtime and give yourself time to wind down. Read, journal, stretch, watch a show, and have a lights out time. Mine is 10:30.

Plan when you are going to exercise during the week, and treat those times as nonnegotiable, just like a doctor appointment or a meeting for work, or better yet, and appointment for your kids!

Take a few minutes a day to sit in stillness and just breathe. You can practice a formal meditation or sit with a mug of hot tea and just let yourself relax. Decide what time of day is best for you to do this. It could be before your kids wake up, after they go to school, or after they are tucked into bed at night. Whatever you pick, do your best to be consistent.

Question: Can you meditate anywhere? I have anxiety and panic disorder and sometimes need to calm my serves or slow down my heart rate. How do you meditate in public or even while talking to people?

Answer: Sound and your surroundings are never a barrier to meditation, however if you have a formal seated practice, you would most likely try to have it be in a quiet place. I would recommend you begin a daily seated practice because there are many proven benefits from a consistent practice that I think would appeal to you.

I also think you would greatly benefit from quick, in the moment, one minute meditations a great deal. You can do these anywhere, at any time, and nobody even has to know that you are meditating. You can have your eyes open, and you can even be in an activity or conversation while you are doing one. I think these will be your new best friends!

A daily seated practice is like taking a vitamin. One minute meditations are like taking a tylenol when you need one. We need both in our lives.

You can do anything for a minute, such as:

a quick body scan- Relax parts of your body one at a time beginning with your head and working down to your feet. Notice if you are holding tension anywhere, and if so, relax that part of you.

match your inhale and exhale- breathe into a silent count of three, and match that count of three on your exhale

use your five senses- take a moment and notice what you see, hear, smell, touch and taste in that very moment

There are lots more, but these are a great place to start. You can also do these at traffic lights, or even in line at the grocery store!

I hope that you learned something valuable from reading these answers. If you have additional questions, please write to me at ali@atozenmeditation.com

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