All the celebrities are doing it. Your doctor may have recommended it. You have a few hippie friends that swear by it. Meditation, it’s all the rage. You have tried, but it doesn’t seem to “work”.
Meditation is a practice. Unlike in our Western culture that is eager for instant results, meditation works best as a sustained practice. When it becomes a sustained practiced, then you will reap maximum benefits. Many long time practitioners will tell you, it is hard work. The benefits received go beyond measure.
Benefits of a meditation practice:
- Relieve stress
- More restful sleep
- Improve concentration and focus
- Reduce anxiety
- Gain clarity
- Cultivate mindfulness
How to meditate?
1. Environment. Create a quiet space. This could be the corner of a room or a separate room. Set up an altar and/or desired meditation tools. Meditation may include pictures, seating, cushions, essential oils. Anything that gives you a sense of peace and serenity.
While it is true that you can meditate anywhere, I advise new practitioners to create a safe space. Meditation can bring up past memories and traumas. It is important that while you are in a vulnerable state that you feel safe.
2. Get into a comfortable position. For many beginners, you may find you are most comfortable lying on your back. Legs extended or knees bent if you’re experiencing any pain or pinching in your low back. Another option would be to sit on a cushion or chair. Sit tall and lengthen up through the spine. Relax your shoulders and face.
3. Close your eyes and connect with your breath. Take a few deeps breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth to release any stress or tension in the body. Resume your normal breathing pattern.
4. Technique. Start with a focal point. Below, I have listed three simple focal point techniques.
- Label your breath. Simply label your breath, “Breathing in” “Breathing out”
- Count your breath. Recite on your inhales, “Breathing in, 1, 2, 3, 4,…” “Exhale, 1, 2, 3, 4,…” As you continue to practice, lengthen your breath, counting to 5, 6, 7, 8, depending on your practice and comfort level.
- Recite an affirmation or mantra. Find an affirmation or mantra that resonates with you. If you’re going through a transition, it might be helpful to meditate on your ideal outcome. Affirmations are great if you’re working through something specific. i.e. Pregnancy, childbirth, new job, move,