Mediation is a practice which helps an individual intentionally train their brain to become more aware of their thoughts, body, spirit and/or surroundings. During meditation, an individual may also choose to focus on one thought, moment or nothing at all. While the practice of meditation may seem easy, implementing the practice into your routine is not always so simple. Which prompts the question – how do you meditate?
Before we discuss how to meditate, let’s look at the benefits of meditation. In addition to increased awareness, meditation has many other mental and physical benefits.
Note: If you would like to a brief history lesson about meditation, I suggest you check out this short article.
Benefits of Meditation1
- Aids in relaxation*
- Reduces stress*
- Helps to manage anxiety *
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improves mental health (i.e. reduce symptoms of depression)
- Aids in substance abuse management
- May aid in strengthening memory
*I have experienced the marked benefits.
When I first started practicing meditation, I felt silly because I was not sure if I was “doing it right”. Meditation felt awkward. Additionally, I felt like I was wasting my time. This is likely due to the fact that I did not always know what to do nor what to expect during meditation. However, with practice, I learned how to calm my spirit and truly focus on one thing at a time. Now, I frequently experience the benefits of meditation.
Here you will find tips and advice to help you meditate-
Before You Meditate
Rule out doubts and misconceptions
You may find it difficult to meditate due to misconceptions and doubts. If you really want to reap the benefits of this practice it is important to be aware of them. This will allow you to rid your mind of these thoughts before you start practicing. Common doubts and misconceptions include:
- Meditation is only for people from a certain background.
This is false. Mediation is for anyone who desires to train their mind to focus. It is also for anyone who desires to reap the benefits of meditation. Remember you have the freedom to choose how and what to meditate on as it relates to your values and beliefs.
- I cannot think about anything during meditation.
This is another common misconception. In some meditative practices, you are encouraged to completely empty your mind. However, when starting out you do not have to completely empty your mind. In fact, you want to bring your attention to your thoughts and then slowly focus your attention on one thing.
- Meditation is a waste of time.
Taking time out of your day or week to meditate can help alleviate some of the ailments working in society brings such as stress. So, meditation is not a waste of time. Instead, meditation is an investment of your time.
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Create a peaceful and comfortable atmosphere
With time you may be able to practice meditation regardless of the outside noises around you. However, when you are just starting out you may find it helpful to follow the tips below.
- Find a place that is quiet and free of clutter.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Find a space on the floor to sit or lie down.
- If necessary, sit up against a wall for back support.
- If you would like, you can use a meditation pillow to add comfort to your seated position. Or you can fold your yoga mat for added support and comfort.
- If you are lying down, you may find it helpful to place yoga blocks under your knees to alleviate pressure on your back. Play around with different positions and stick with what works best for you.
- Lastly, make sure to silence your phone.
Determine the nature of your practice
- Will you focus on your breath, let your thoughts roam or use guided meditation?
- How long will you meditate?
How to Meditate
- Comfortably position yourself on your yoga mat, rug or chair.
- Close your eyes.
- Allow yourself to breathe in and out through your nose. You want to breathe freely. So, just breath regularly in and out through your nose.
- If you would like, you can place your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. Connecting your thumbs and index fingers. Alternatively, you can let your arms rest by your side, in your lap or on your stomach. Do what feels most comfortable.
- Continue to breathe through your nose as you prepare yourself to meditate.
- As you breathe, bring your awareness to your body. How does your body feel today? How does your body feel as you inhale and exhale? Do you notice any sensations, soreness or openness? Continue to bring your attention to your body with each breath.
- Now bring your attention solely to your breath. Notice the natural rhythm of your breath and imagine how it flows in and out of your body.
- Continue with this focus for 2-5 mins.
Once you get more comfortable with this short meditation you may want to extend the time frame of your practice. You may also be interested in following guided meditations. Click here to check out some guided meditations.
I hope you found this article helpful. I wish you nothing but success on your journey.
P.S. I would love to hear from you. What is your experience with meditation?
As always peace, love, and joy!