We often hear a lot of celebrities talk about how meditation changed their overall perspective in life. Hugh Jackman, Katy Perry, and Heather Graham are just some of the stars who credit regular meditation to their calm state of mind. But before you jump into the bandwagon, it’s important to know what you can expect in every session.
Read the tips below to find out how to get the most out of your daily meditation sessions:
1.) When meditating, most people find it relaxing when they play nature sounds or soft music and light candles while they sit with crossed legs on a pillow. None of that is actually required. If you don’t feel like doing that, then don’t do it! Learning different meditation techniques is all about creating a ritual that you enjoy. If you want to lie down throughout the session or if you want to meditate outside then go ahead and do so.
2.) Don’t stuff yourself before you meditate. Eating a full meal just before your session will only leave you with a grumbling stomach while sitting cross-legged on the floor. If you are hungry, eat a light meal (soup or salad) an hour before meditating. If you are too full during your session, this will get in the way of body positioning and breathing.
3.) Keep your back straight through the entire session. Maintaining proper posture will not only maximize your lung capacity but you are also following the natural curves of your spine. This will allow energy to move properly.
4.) Several meditation guides dictate you to focus on your breathing but thinking about something else can sometimes help too. Imagining a peaceful image can also help you enter a deep state of relaxation. Some people on the other hand like to recall happy and loving memories.
5.) Keep your eyes closed to avoid distractions. By doing so, you are directing your focus towards your internal environment. This will also help you to become more aware of your surroundings.
6.) Our minds are used to assessing, planning and worrying. And from time to time we inadvertently think about negative events that disrupt the flow of positive energy. If that happens during your session, try not to judge it. Immediately bring your attention back to your body. Imagine your breath filling your feet as you inhale and leaving as you exhale. Move to different parts of your body until you get to your head. Breathing through the different parts of your body will certainly keep your mind off things.
7.) It doesn’t matter if most people meditate with their legs crossed while sitting on the floor if you are not comfortable in this position then choose a different position. Meditating should not be physically painful. It’s very important for you to find a sitting position that you’ll be comfortable in for an extended period of time.
Best Meditation Techniques for New Practitioners
Meditating is not easy. It’s not as simple as sitting on a pillow with your legs crossed and chanting “om”. It is a mental discipline that requires a great deal of concentration. Meditation comes with a myriad of well-publicized benefits such as decreased levels of stress and anxiety, improved clarity of mind and creativity and reduced depression risks.
If you are a beginner and you find it extremely difficult to sit for a few minutes or hours with a clear mind, read the most common approaches below to help you get started.
1.) Mindfulness Meditation
This form of meditation is great for newbies because it is simple and completely feasible. The main goal of mindfulness meditation is to achieve a calm and stable mind. Calmness is actually a natural aspect of the mind and through meditation, we are just developing and strengthening it. With regular practice, you would be able to maintain a calm state of mind without struggling.
When doing mindfulness meditation, it’s important to find a space where you can have this feeling of sacredness. Don’t pick a space where there are too many distractions or you won’t be able to maximize your session. Your gaze should be downward, focusing a couple of inches in front of your nose. The eyes should be open but not staring. The key to this form of meditation is to ignore what is going on around you.
2.) Concentration Meditation
As the name implies, concentration meditation entails staying focused on a single point. You can focus on any specific thing such as breathing patterns, single word or mantra, sound or an image. This method is a little challenging for a beginner so you might be better off meditating for only a few minutes. Eventually, you’d be able to concentrate for longer durations.
In concentration meditation, you focus your awareness on your object of attention. Each time your mind wanders to something else, you have to redirect your attention to the object. By practicing this regularly, your ability to concentrate will significantly improve.
3.) Spiritual Meditation
If you like to pray then you will surely find spiritual meditation easy. This technique is based on communicating with your spiritual guide. To start, sit comfortably in a quiet place, close your eyes and focus on the way you breathe without changing it. This method moves you from a state of meditation to contemplation. Open yourself up in every way you know how and visualize something that can bring you closer to your guide.
Spiritual meditation requires you to surrender to your Maker and let him take over. Some people find it beneficial to listen to a recording or meditation tape such as “Peace Will Come and A Communication From God” when meditating.
The 5 Earth & Space Element Meditations to Help You with Your Practice
Staying centered during meditation can be a bit of a challenge considering the chaos that surrounds us in the world. Reacting to the external chaos and other events that are beyond our control can lead you to have feelings of fear and anxiety.
Using the following five earth and space element meditation during your practice can help to relieve fatigue in both your mind and body and will assist you in connecting yourself to the universal flow of energy.
This meditation technique acts as a building block to the universal flow of energy and all material existence.
Space Element Meditation
An expansive and empty element, space represents no resistance. It is the source of matter and allows growth and change to happen. In meditation, space signifies the space of your cells, breath, and thought. Space is the container for all the other elements and the source of intuition and wisdom from the universe.
Air Element Meditation
Air is a movable, dry, light, and dynamic element. It represents the potential of motion and empowers the ideas and goals with its flight. Air is viewed as the wind externally and as nervous impulses, circulation, and movement of breath internally. It represents a channel for clear communication and self-expression. It can influence your ability to act from a place of love and compassion, and when it is out of balance, jealousy can occur.
Fire Element Meditation
A hot, intense, powerful, and transformative element. Fire is viewed as fire or the sun externally, while internally it is viewed as the element that drives cognitive processes and digestion. In meditation, it brings confidence and courage, drive and creativity. In excess, it can manifest as hatred or anger.
Water Element Meditation
The element, water, is seen as flowing, movable, smooth, and cool. It can also be represented as a solid as it connects, nourishes, transports, and provides protection. It provides the ability to flow, adapt, avoid unhealthy attractions, and act selflessly. Water rules the blood, and other bodily fluids, as well as “cold” medical conditions like joint pain.
Earth Element Meditation
A heavy element, the earth is stable, rigid, solid, and constant. Earth represents all the solid matter and structure of the universe. It gives the human body its form including all the creation. It is grounding and calming and keeps the ego in check. It is the energy of bones, tissues, and muscles, and represents many illnesses like an infection.
When it comes to using the elements in your meditation practice, take your time and begin to observe the area around you. The more your attention shifts to explore this 5 element meditations the better you’ll start to understand and connect with the Universal Mind of Spirit and Matter.
Meditation Before Bed? Is This a Good Idea?
Contrary to what many people believe in, meditation is not praying. Praying is conversing with God and meditation is more on focusing on something to achieve a calm state of mind.
The latter is especially beneficial for people who have a hard time falling and staying asleep. How so? For starters, regular meditation (even if it’s just 30 minutes per day) can convert poor-quality sleep into a deeper, more refreshing sleep.
Many meditators say that they always wake up feeling more energized. Additionally, meditating before bedtime allows you to sleep through the night and spend a longer time in REM sleep. This stage of sleep is crucial to the mental capacity of the brain. If you are REM sleep deprived, you will retain less information.
Meditation can also help those who are suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Several studies show that CFS patients have a deficiency of slow-wave sleep. By engaging in deep meditation, you are getting a heightened Theta and Delta activity in your brain. This activity is said to compensate for the lost time in the Delta state while you sleep.
Because of the inner tranquility and improved creativity that meditation provides, the frequency of vivid dreams will increase especially if you practice lucid dreaming. Meditating before bed will definitely calm your nerves and help you overcome certain types of insomnia. You can try the 3 techniques below if you find yourself tossing and turning in bed at night:
1.) Breathe from your abdomen and focus on your breathing patterns. This technique sounds really simple but it works wonders for those who can’t get themselves to sleep. You can listen to soft music or nature sounds to create a more serene atmosphere.
2.) Another thing you can do to help you fall asleep is to look at or imagine vivid images that symbolize peace and stability. Clouds, mountains and the beach are very common choices for guided imagery. You can do this form of meditation alone or under the supervision of a specialist.
3.) Mindful meditation will also help you fall asleep. Start by looking at one thing at a time. The 3 aspects of this technique are body, breath, and thoughts. Some people like to dedicate a small part or corner of their home where they can sit without distractions. If it helps, think about the issues that are bugging you then let them go. This is easier said than done but if you practice regularly, you’d be able to achieve your goals.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep with Guided Meditation
Getting adequate sleep is essential to good health. Sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as hypertension, obesity, and heart attack.
It can also lead to psychiatric problems such as depression and other mood disorders. Many accidents have also been blamed on sleeplessness. The consequences of sleep deprivation are serious or even fatal.
Many turn to medication to get a good night’s sleep. However, benzodiazepines and other hypnotics are potentially addictive. The risk of an overdose is high. Some people who use sleeping pills find that they need to increase their dose from time to time to get the effect they want until they become resistant to their drug of choice.
One tragic example of this is Michael Jackson, who used propofol, a powerful anesthetic, just to get some shuteye because sleeping pills were no longer doing it for him.
Fortunately, there is a safe alternative to hypnotics. Many people say that guided meditation is the best sleep aid there is. Most people find it difficult to sleep because, as they close their eyes at night, thoughts rush through their minds. Meditation helps you sleep by quieting and relaxing your mind.
When you meditate, you focus on the present, away from the worries of the future and from your painful experiences in the past. You are not bothered by negative emotions. You feel calm and a sense of well-being begins to grow in you.
Some of the wonderful effects of meditation on sleep have to do with the biochemical processes that occur in your body while you meditate. Meditation causes your body to release endorphins, which produces a feeling of well-being. It also increases the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for giving you a restful sleep.
If anxiety attacks make you sleepless, meditation can also help you. It increases your body’s production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which helps stabilize mood and relieve anxiety.
Some people doze off during meditation. That is fine if you want to use meditation to be able to sleep. However, some people struggle to focus to get into a meditative state and because of this struggle, they end up not getting any sleep. If you want to sleep, you need to take the struggle off meditation.
The easiest way to meditate is by using a guided meditation mp3. Guided meditation is usually done with a recording. If someone is guiding you through the mediation process, there is no need for you to think about what to do next. It will be easier for you to focus if all you need to do is just listen to a voice.
One of the best things about guided meditation is that it is usually tailor-fitted to a certain goal you want to achieve. If you have trouble sleeping and you think guided meditation can help you, be sure to download a recording that is specifically designed to help people get a good night’s sleep.
Our Meditation Podcast features Guided Meditations, Instructions
For Meditation, and Music For Meditation