Meditation is excellent for conditioning the mind. According to “Havard Health Publishing“, it helps ease anxiety and mental stress by eliminating negative thoughts, worries, and all factors that can prevent us from feeling happy.
While the far-reaching benefits of meditation are well known, the exact way to go about it is a bit obscure for most people.
If you happen to be in this vast pool of individuals aching to start meditating but don’t know how to begin, follow through this guide to meditation to find out all you need to know about starting your reflection journey.
To me, proper meditation is a culmination of continuous practice and a simple gradual progression. In this regard, beginner mistakes are not frowned upon, but learning from mistakes is highly encouraged.
Before we learn how to start meditation, let’s first discuss how it can be beneficial to us.
Benefits of Meditation
- Meditation is great for reducing tension. The calming effects of meditation result from reduced EEG activity in the brain as a result of proper breathing.
- People who meditate regularly are known to have increased energy levels throughout the entire day, and better sleep at night for lesser hours.
- Meditating improves your flow of thoughts and heightens your focus.
- Betters performance in school tests is attributed to regular meditation among students.
- Meditation slows down your mind’s aging process and increases the amount of grey matter in your brain.
The Meditation Process
Let’s now dive deeper into the Meditating process by first discussing the concept of meditation.
Basics of Meditation
As mentioned above, meditation is a simple process that requires a bit of practice to perfect. With meditation, your thoughts become centered on your breathing only. If your train of thought shifts to something else, you are required to divert your attention back to breathing immediately.
Keep this up until the timer stops, and you’re well on your way of becoming good at meditating. If you can finally go through an entire meditating session without drifting away from your breathing, then you can comfortably say you have the skill on lock.
Now that you have a rough idea of the meditation process, I bet your next question is, what do I need to get started?
Well, all you need is a quiet, well-ventilated space, the “Guide: Everything you need to start meditating,” something to sit on, a timer and possibly a mobile app.
While anyone can find a proper space for meditating, the tricky part is where exactly should you sit. For sitting purposes consider these three options:
1. A Chair
If you are prone to occasional back pains, then the chair is your best bet. A chair is also best for beginners who haven’t gotten around the dynamics of a meditation cushion and hence find it slightly uncomfortable. When you can comfortably meditate from your chair, you may want to switch to a meditation cushion next.
2. A Meditation Cushion
Most people meditate on these cushions since they make it easier to sit upright while meditating. Also, know as a zafu, these pillows are available in lots of stores and are really cheap. Unlike chairs, these pillows don’t allow slumping and hence enhance concentration and alertness.
3. A Meditation Bench
The meditation bench is excellent for tall people who find meditation cushions uncomfortable for their gait. This bench is also slightly more comfortable and won’t allow any slumping while meditating so your posture will be kept in check always.
For timing purposes, you have your most trusted companion- your mobile phone- at your service. Every phone comes with an in-built timer, but if you’re a bit extra, then you should get yourself a good meditation app. I recommend Mindworks since it also provides guidance and tips for proper meditation.
Your sitting posture will determine the effectiveness of your meditation routine. With that in mind, here are the do’s and don’ts of sitting while meditating.
- Always keep your back straight
- Slightly look down without slanting forward.
- Cross your legs comfortably, so you don’t tire them out quickly.
- Keep your eyes closed if you cannot concentrate with them open, otherwise having your eyes open is okay.
- Your hands are free to do whatever they can to help in meditating.
The correct posture is all about finding the optimum balance between comfort and an upright position.
The Actual Meditation
Meditation is anchored on your breathing. It entails directing all your attention to your inhales and exhalings while firmly blocking out any distractions. After finding a quiet and comfortable spot to sit on, start your timer and follow the meditation guide below.
First, close your mouth and inhale deeply through the nose focusing every thought on the breathing pattern. Next, shift your attention from the movement of air through the nose to any other aspect of breathing you feel most comfortable with. Lastly, maintain this pattern of natural breathing all through till the time elapses.
When your mind wanders slowly bring it back to the breathing. It is difficult at first, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Check out Maggie Kelly’s blog to learn more.
Tips for Meditation
Now that you’re well on your way to becoming a meditation guru, here are a few useful tips to help you on your journey.
- Consistency is the key – Meditating every day, even for only a few minutes will significantly improve your ability to concentrate on your breathing and keep your mind from wandering.
- Baby steps – It’s best to start small with about five to ten minutes a day and increase the time only when you feel comfortable.
- Don’t fret – If you keep drifting in and out of thoughts, don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, practice makes perfect.
- Counting helps- if concentrating isn’t your strong suites, try counting your breaths instead
Wrapping It Up
This simple guide should be a stepping stone for you to begin your meditation journey, expand your horizons and venture into other techniques of meditating for much greater benefits. Remember, your mind is your greatest asset; taking care of it is an obligation.
For more on lifestyle, read the rest of our site.