Meditation is a fantastic way of relaxation that is suitable for everyone and has some magnificent benefits for the body, mind and the soul. Especially in this day and age where we are all so busy with one thing or another that we barely have the chance to catch our breaths and just relax!
It used to be that people would associate mediation with Buddhists and those hippy folk, however, these days, the love is spreading and so many people are coming to realise the wonderful benefits of meditation.
First of all I think we will start off with the basics:
What is meditation?
In brief, meditation is a variety of different practices that one does in order to learn techniques that have been designed to calm the mind, promote relaxation and held to build our qi (internal energies or life force). In essence meditation is a way of training your mind just like exercise is a way of training your body.
Why should you meditate?
There are so many reasons that we should all meditate – need to de-stress, need some quick anger management before you say something that you shouldn’t, need help with your anxiety? These are just a pin point of what meditation can help with.
Meditation can help to heal the body and the mind. For example, meditation has been proven to help lower blood pressure and even depression. It has even been said to have helped fight diseases. Here is just a small list:
– Lowers blood pressure
– Lowers hear rate
– Deeper state of relaxation
– Induces a better sleep
– Higher feeling of well being
– Helps combat stress, anxiety and depression
How do you meditate:
There are so many different ways in which you can meditate and it is a common misconception that you need to have hours of spare time a day in order to do it. Such crap!
A few minutes, 5 minutes. 10 minutes, you can spend however long you have and how ever long that you like.
Here I will cover the very basics of meditation which you can adapt and build on once you are comfortable with your technique.
Before you get down to meditation, believe it or not you need to do a little prep work first.
Choose a peaceful spot – as time goes by you will learn to meditate pretty much anywhere however, as a beginner I would urge you to find a nice, quiet peaceful spot to start with as this will allow you to fully concentrate and not be bothered by lots of little sounds or people vying for your attention.
This space can be anywhere just so long as you will be uninterrupted. Walk in wardrobe, spare room, anywhere!
Make sure that your phone is off! Background noise is ok such as lawnmowers and general outside noise are fine as being aware of sounds but not letting them dominate your thoughts is part of meditation.
If indoors is not good for you then outside meditation works great for many too. Perched under a nice tree or in a quiet park.
Clothing – you need to make sure that you are wearing unrestrictive and comfortable clothing. I would suggest wearing the same kind of clothing that you would wear for yoga and the likes. You don’t want to be distracted by your belt buckle digging etc.
Choose the length of time that you wish to meditate for – once you seasoned at it you can choose to meditate for as long as you like and as often as you like however, to start I would choose anywhere between 5 & 20 minutes just once a day. It doesn’t matter if you stick exactly to that time or not. You can set a gentle reminder to go after your chosen time so that you don’t clock watch.
Once you have chosen he how long, next comes the when. I always try to meditate at the same time every day so that it becomes part of my routine.
Sit yourself down – being comfortable is key in meditation as if you are uncomfortable in any way it can break your concentration.
You can sit on the floor on a cushion or depending on how that feels for you, you can sit on a chair.
Ideally you need to be sat so that your pelvis is tilted forward and so that your spine sits straight above the 2 bony bits in your bum This is so that you spine supports all of your weight from your waist up. This helps to maintain good posture.
If you decide to sit on the floor, lotus position is standard along with your hands resting upturned on your knees.
Sit there for a few seconds and make any adjustments that you need to ensure maximum comfort.
So, that’s the prep done. It may feel like a lit the first time round however, once you have done it once, it takes minutes the next time round. Ok, so, are you ready? Time to meditate
Close your eyes – you can meditate with your eyes open or closed however I would advise having your eyes closed for a little while as otherwise you can easily become distracted.
Once you have become accustomed to the art of mediation then you can try it with your eyes open. Many people find this easier as they relax so much that they fall asleep. You need to be relaxed however remain alert otherwise this would be called nap time 🙂
Breathe – follow your breath. Breath normally and pick a spot on your body where you feel the breath the most. For some it is the expansion of the belly or chest and for the air running through the nose or the back of the throat. if you mind begins to wander, no matter, just mentally shake your head and refocus.
Clear your mind and enter the meditative state – easier said than done, I know! Not everyone is able to relax so far that they can completely clear their mind. This is something that some never achieve and this is ok. You do not have to be able to clear to meditate successfully, just calm down the chatter and relax.
Ideal meditation is to be able to focus on just one thing. Start with breath and see how you get on from there.
You can use a mantra to help – this involves repeating a word or a phrase until you have managed to silence your mind (as much as you can) and enter a meditative state.
Here are some mantras to get you started
– Om – this word symbolises the consciousness
– I am at peace
– I am one with nature
– My mind is strong
You can make up your own, find one that works for you and stick to it!
You can use a visual object to enter a state of serenity. Pick an object that you like, perhaps a crystal or a lit candle and put it nearby at eye level so that you do not have to strain to look at it. Gaze at the chosen object, do not let your eyes wander and keep staring until your vision starts to dim and all you can see if the object. Once you are completely focused with nothing else reaching your mind then you should feel calm and at total peace.
Keep practicing and soon you will have mastered your mind and be able to get yourself into a calm and relaxed state.
Just remember that it takes some time to get the hang of and is not something that you can master over night.
Persevere and you will be glad that you did.