Meditation is the key to get in touch with yourself.
How to Meditate
The goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. It may come as a surprise to learn that you can meditate anywhere and at any time, allowing yourself to access a sense of tranquility and peace no matter what’s going on around you. This article will introduce you to the basics of meditation, allowing you to begin your journey on the path of enlightenment.
Choose a peaceful environment. Meditation should be practiced somewhere calming and peaceful. This will enable you to focus exclusively on the task at hand and avoid bombarding your mind with outside stimuli. Try to find somewhere that you will not be interrupted for the duration of your meditation – whether it’s five minutes or half an hour.
The space does not need to be very large – a walk-in closet or even your office can be used for meditation, as long as it’s somewhere private.
Wear comfortable clothes. One of the major goals of meditation is to calm the mind and block out external factors – however, this can be difficult if you feel physically uncomfortable due to tight or restrictive clothing. Try to wear loose clothing during meditation practice and make sure to remove your shoes.
Decide how long you want to meditate for. Before you begin, you should decide how long you are going to meditate for. While many seasoned meditators recommend twenty minute sessions twice a day, beginners can start out doing as little as five minutes, once a day.
Stretch out. Meditation involves sitting in one spot for a certain period of time, so it is important to minimize any tension or tightness before you begin. Doing a couple of minutes of light stretching can really help to loosen you up and prepare both your body and mind for meditation. It will also prevent you from focusing on any sore spots instead of relaxing your mind.
Sit in a comfortable position. As stated above, it is very important that you are comfortable while you meditate, which is why finding the best position for you is essential. Traditionally, meditation is practiced by sitting on a cushion on the ground, in a lotus, or half-lotus position. Unless your legs, hips, and low back are very flexible, lotus postures tend to bow your low back and prevent you from balancing your torso around your spine. Choose a posture that allows you to be balanced tall and straight.
Follow your breathing. The most basic and universal of all meditation techniques, breathing meditation is a great place to start your practice. Pick a spot above your navel and focus on that spot with your mind. Become aware of the rising and falling of your abdomen as you breathe in and out. Don’t make a conscious effort to change your breathing patterns, just breathe normally.
Concentrate on a simple visual object. In a similar way to using a mantra, you can use a simple visual object to fill your mind and allow you to reach a level of deeper consciousness. This is a form of open-eye meditation, which many people find easier when they have something to focus their gaze on.
Practice visualization. Visualization is another popular meditation technique, which involves creating a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it, until you reach a state of complete calm. The place can be anywhere you like – however, it should not be entirely real, it should be unique and personalized for you.
For the purposes of the relaxation techniques on this site, here are the definitions I am using:
Visualization – visualizing something for relaxation or making positive changes. This may include visualizing a relaxing scene, visualizing healing occurring, visualizing the stages of a breath, or other mental images.
Guided imagery – the process of being guided through calming or helpful mental images. Includes following along with a description of a peaceful place or calming scene, healing process, or other guided images.
Meditation – focusing the mind for the purposes of relaxation or making positive changes.
Relaxation techniques usually involve all three of these processes.
The main differences between meditation, visualization and guided imagery:
– Visualization can be guided or unguided. You can visualize mental images all on your own, with or without a script.
– Guided imagery is directed, either by a written, video, or audio script.
– Meditation involves focusing the mind on passive observation or on making positive changes.