In this busy world we can spend so much time rushing around that we are left feeling stressed, overworked, tired and even unhappy. What’s the solution? Meditation! Meditation is a simple, effective and convenient way to calm your mind, relax, become grounded and find inner peace amidst the chaos of day-to-day life. Want to experience the benefits of meditation but don’t know where to begin? Here’s a guide to get you started on the path to a more peaceful, centered life.
What is Meditation?Meditation is a tool you can use to develop your concentration, clarity, and cultivate a more peaceful mind. With practice, you can begin to recognize your mental patterns, then use that knowledge to create new ones, promoting a sense of control, peace and happiness in your life. You can meditate before a job interview, an exam, an important meeting or any other stressful situation in order to calm your mind. You can use it at the end of every day to decompress, and you can fit a quick session in in the morning to start your day on the right foot. The uses and benefits are endless.
How To Begin
1. Find the perfect spotMany experts recommend creating a sacred space in which to meditate, but you can also do it any time, any place if that’s more your style. It’s really about whatever works for you to get you in a focused and relaxed state of mind. For some that’s on a hike in the woods, for others that’s in a quiet room in their home. Do a little experimenting to find the place that is best for you.
2. Set a clear intentionThink about why you are choosing to mediate and what you hope to get out of it. Entering into a practice without an intention is like setting off on a journey without a map- how will you end up where you want to be if you don’t know where you’re going? Setting a clear, attainable reason for beginning your meditation journey will help you achieve the results that you want.
3. Work on your postureSit with a tall spine in a comfortable position. Drop your chin slightly toward your chest and close your eyes. If you are holding onto some tension, breathe in and pull your shoulders up toward your ears. Then breathe out and push them back down. Repeat four or five times until you feel the tension melt away.
4. Focus on your breathListen to your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Focus your awareness completely on it, and on the sensations of your chest rising and falling. If any images or distractions appear, move your thoughts deliberately back to the rhythmic in-and-out pattern of your breathing.
5.. Observe without judgmentCompletely clearing your mind can seem like an impossible task at first. Don’t stress! The point is not to completely empty your head of all thoughts. Instead, let your thoughts come to you as they will. Observe them, but don’t assign meaning to them. Then let them go and refocus on your breathing.
6. Start smallRather than setting a goal of an hour of meditation each day, set a small, easily achievable goal and then build from there. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can still set aside time for yourself each day. Try this one-minute meditation to get you started:
Breathe in for 5 seconds
Hold the breath in for 5 seconds
Release for 5 seconds
Hold for 5 seconds
Repeat this pattern for one minute each day.
Newbies to the world of meditation are often intimidated by the idea and not sure how to get started. The truth is anyone can meditate, you just need to set aside a few minutes and commit yourself to the process. We hope this guide has given you some ideas to jump start your practice so you can begin to experience the benefits of meditation in your life.