Anyone can learn to meditate
You may be wondering why you should learn to meditate (if you don’t do so already?) Meditation has been around for over 5000 years. To practice meditation, you do not have to be apart of any religion or culture. It is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health. You can do it anywhere, without special equipment, money or memberships. I have meditated for years and I can assure you that meditation has become a necessary & way for me to unplug from the stresses of the modern world, even if its just for a few minutes a day.
The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience only what can be described as peace, happiness and inner calm. To get to that state though, it is a process of practice and training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. You can use meditation not only to increase awareness of yourself but to your surroundings too. It helps many people to reduce stress and develop concentration.
People also use the practices to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood or outlook, healthy sleep patterns and even a increase in tolerance. Many practice several different forms of meditation, most of which don’t require specialised equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily in the comfort of your home or you can choose to meditate in a group. The changes you will start to see in your life over time is incredible.
Different types of meditation
There are different types of meditations and there is no wrong way. Even if you just take a few minutes to sit quietly every day, concentrate on your breath and clear your mind of clutter, you will start to reap the benefits. If you start wanting something more out of mediation then you can research some different options to see what will benefit you and to help you grow.
Mindfulness Meditation – This is a process of being fully present with your thoughts. It’s the ability to be fully present, aware of where you are, who you are and what you are doing in that moment. It’s important to not be overwhelmed by what has happened in the past or what the future holds.
Transcendental Meditation – A technique for detaching yourself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self realisation through meditation. Usually this is done through repetition of a mantra and or with other yogic practices.
Guided Meditation – When you are guided through your meditation by a narrator. You are instructed on how to relax your body and mind then you are taken on a journey to either reach a specific goal. Example: Letting go, creating abundance or clearing negativity.
Vipassana Meditation – (Also known as incite meditation) is the practice in which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation taught by the Buddha himself.
Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation) – Loving kindness meditation is a method of developing compassion. It comes from the Buddhist tradition but it can be adapted and practised by anyone. Loving kindness meditation is essentially about cultivating love.
Chakra Meditation – Consists of a set of relaxation techniques focused on bringing balance and relaxation to align the chakara’s to flow steadily through the body with no blockages.
Benefits of Meditation
If you still wondering why you should take some time out to learn to meditate and make it a part of your daily life then here are just a few of the benefits that it includes: stress reduction, reduces anxiety, promotes emotional health, enhances self awareness, lengthens attention span, generates kindness and tolerance, reduces blood pressure and improves sleep.
Never tried meditation before?
Here is a very easy guide to start you off
First find a quiet room or space and get comfortable. If you have any injuries or other physical difficulties you can sit upright in a chair just make sure if doing so that your feet are touching the floor. Alternatively you can sit in the meditation posture, legs crossed on the floor or on a cushion, either way you have to be comfortable.
Straighten your upper body but don’t be at all stiff. The spine has a natural curvature so let it be. Your head can comfortably rest on top of your shoulders.
There are different ways you to place your hands, these being the two most popular; You can place your hands in your lap, put one hand on top of the other palms facing up, that’s it. You can also do the classic way by resting your hands, palms facing up on your knees. Connect the index fingertip to your thumb fingertip in each hand. Extend the remaining fingers of each hand outward while keeping them relaxed.
Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward with your eyes about half shut and try focus on a spot in front of you on the floor. If you feel the need to close your eyes while meditating please do so but it is important to be focused and not to doze off. Stay there for a while and bring your attention your breath or the sensations in your body.
Feel your breath as it goes in and out and feel the air moving through your nose or mouth. with your attention on your breath feel the rising and falling of your belly or your chest. If you start noticing your mind wondering just gently return to your breath.
When you are ready, gently lift your gaze or open your eyes and take a moment to listen and notice the sounds and environment around you. Be in that moment. Notice your emotions and how your body feels. Then up you go and start your day on that positive note. It does take a few times to get into it, even if you just start with a few minutes a day and make tomorrow a few minuets more within a few weeks you will have the full benefits of meditation.
Tools to enhance Meditation
There are a few tools to enhance your meditation if you are not comfortable using them at first you can start incorporation them one by one in your own time.
Music – if you are doing a guided meditation they usually have soft meditation music in the back ground. Meditation music on its own can help you with your concentration. You Tube has a huge range of meditation music and you have the choice to choose what suits you.
Singing bowls – have been used for centuries in meditation and healing. The unique tones of a singing bowl create the perfect state of deep meditation, creative thinking and intuitive messages. The rich blend of harmonic overtones naturally assists in the ultimate state of relaxation and stress reduction.
Incense – or burning oils helps to clear the space in the room and helps with relaxing the body and the mind
Prayer or Mala beads -Used in meditation when reciting a mantra. They enhance energies and give protection. Different mala beads can be beneficial to different elements we want to attract in our lives. Example: Rose quartz malas can bring you the energy of unconditional love and infinite peace both for yourself and for others. Rose quarts is the hart chakra stone, healing physically, emotionally and spiritually. It overcomes heart traumas, attracts love and draws off negative energy and replaces it with loving energy.
Shawl over your shoulders – A light cotton shawl over your exposed shoulders can create a sense of comfort. When Buddhists meditate out of respect their shoulders are usually covered. Although in the privacy of your own home this does not have to be the case, it simply acts as a light veil of protection which some prefer.
Chakra flags – The perfect addition to your home, yoga or meditation space. Each flag has a chakra symbol and corresponding mantra related to the specific chakra on the flag. The chakra flags promote love, balance, happiness and peace.
What techniques have you used to learn to meditate or practice daily? What benefits has meditation brought to your life? Let us know in the comments below.