You've begun your meditation practice. You know all the amazing benefits of meditation and you're excited about this change in your routine.
And then problems set in: body aches, itching, thoughts, sleepiness. Who ever thought just sitting could be so hard?!
I've practiced meditation for several years, and while I enjoy meditating, I've hit some bumps along the way, too. We all encounter bumps along the way, don't we?
The thing is, there are no problems in meditation.
A problem is only a "problem" when we perceive it as such. In fact, meditation is a great way to help us reframe how we interpret and experience what we judge as "negative"
Bodily aches are common in meditation. They can be a result either of our posture, or small discomforts that previously escaped our attention. When you experience itching, pain, or discomfort during meditation, bring your awareness to the sensation. What does it feel like? Where exactly do you feel it? I find that doing this immediately lessens the sensation of pain or irritation
1) Back pain: The key is in your posture, and in keeping your pelvis straight. This is often easier to do on a meditation cushion(known as a zafu). When seated on the zafu, your seat should be about three inches off the ground.
2) Knee pain: Many people use a mat underneath their cushion (called a zabuton) that reduces the pressure of the knees against the hard floor. You could also use soft blankets or towels.
3) Thoughts: It's a terrible misconception that mindfulness meditation is about emptying the mind, or getting rid of thoughts entirely. You will have thoughts while you are meditating! Stopping your thoughts in meditation is about as likely as stopping your breath.
When you have a thought while you are meditating, simply acknowledge the thought and watch it rise and fall in your awareness. You don't need to engage the thought; you just observe it.