To begin, plan to dedicate 5 minutes to your sitting practice daily. Using a timer is ideal so that you won’t be distracted by checking the time and can relax into your practice. 5 minutes is a great way to start and you may increase to 10 or 20 minutes once you establish a regular practice. 10-20 minutes per sitting is a beneficial time-frame for most meditators. Starting with a small amount of time then then adding more time meditating will help prevent frustration and build a solid foundation of practice.
Try not to judge yourself around the amount of time you meditate. Quality and consistency of practice is more important than quantity. Your focus and energy for meditation may vary day to day. It's best to stay with the length time you committed to, not going over or under.
You may also incorporate mindful, awareness in daily activities: Take 3 slow breaths any time; practice common tasks like washing dishes with mindful awareness; take time to notice surroundings and the rhythm of your footsteps while walking.
Find a space in your home that is free of distractions or potential interruptions. Some people like to include elements like like plants, inspiring images, a candle, a view of nature etc. but none of these is required. Anything that inspires you can be added to the space. While we are not trying to block out “the outside world”, an easeful quiet space supports contemplation.
Whether sitting, knees down, or lying down, be sure the position is sustainable for the time you have set aside. Physical comfort is an important point of self-care. Be aware of your physical contact with the chair, cushion or floor and keep an upright but not-rigid posture. Lying down may be better for some people but stay aware of the tendency to fall asleep in this position.
Meditating lying down is helpful for insomnia, anxiety and pain management. Notice how lighting or temperature affect your comfort and adjust as necessary. Conditions don’t have to be perfect- note preferences and slight discomforts and let them be part of the exploration. However, do adjust or end the session if you feel undue physical or emotional strain. Experiment with the conditions to find those that suit you personally. This experimentation is itself mindfulness practice.
A note on trauma-sensitivity: mindfulness practices heightens awareness of our physical and emotional states in ways that are surprising and sometimes challenging. This can be an engine for growth. However, it's important to honor you limits and engage the assistance of a trauma-informed meditation instructor or mental health counselor if you experience emotional states that feel unmanageable or overwhelming.