In this age of hyper-connectivity when we are wired in 24×7, the mind and body crave peace and quiet. But to disconnect even for a short while and investing that time in rejuvenating the mind and body seems like a tall task to achieve?
What if you miss an important text or email, what if the call you are expecting comes right at the moment when you decide to disconnect? If thoughts like these are clouding your mind, meditation is just the thing you need to calm your frayed nerves! If you are finding it difficult to begin, don’t worry.
In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are well worth the effort (or non-effort remember we’re relaxing).
Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial physiologic effects on the body. And there has been a growing consensus in the medical community to further study the effects of such. Among the documented benefits of meditation are less anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in irritability and moodiness, better learning ability and memory and greater creativity.
That’s just for starters. Then there are slower aging (possibly due to higher DHEA levels), feelings of vitality and rejuvenation, less stress (actual lowering of cortisol and lactate levels), rest (lower metabolic and heart rate), lower blood pressure, and higher blood oxygen levels
So start now in creating your health and well being…start meditating today!
Here Are Some Easy Tips To Get You Started:
1. Do not overthink. Just begin
Do not think of meditation as a tall task. You do not need a grass mat or pristine clothing to practice mindfulness. All you need to do is get started. You can meditate, literally anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is have the willingness to benefit from the art of meditation. However, if you are looking for guidance on the time of the day best suited to meditation, we suggest early morning. When you wake up refreshed, you are in the best frame of mind. A short meditation session soon after you wake up is likely to bring about success.
2. Make it a daily habit
Like every good habit, such as eating right or exercising daily, meditation requires consistency to be able to bring about benefits. Thus it is very important to practice meditation on a daily basis. It may seem artificial for the first few days, but it is only a matter of time before it seems effortless and natural.
3. Nothing is wrong when you meditate
When you first begin meditating in all earnest, you will find a lot of thoughts coming and going. There is nothing wrong with this. Do not get discouraged if you are easily distracted at first. Just concentrate on your breathing and you will find yourself being able to meditate effortlessly eventually without getting distracted.
4. Take small steps
Do not be too ambitious by setting up a target of 45 minutes sessions right at the beginning. If you are too ambitious, there is a good chance you will get distracted and quit. Instead, begin with a goal of 5-10 minutes daily and increase your session spans gradually.
5. Don’t get caught up with your progress rate
You may have read about the many benefits of meditation and thus in your mind, you have built up certain expectations of how it may benefit you. However, after a period of time, you may find that the changes that you had been expecting have not come through for you.
However, this does not mean that you have not progressed. The progress of meditation is often hard to define in timelines. The key lies inconsistency. Be consistent and willing. You are bound to find changes in due course of time.
Why You Should Learn How To Meditate
When the topic of mindfulness is mentioned in tandem with the word meditation, for some reason it conjures up some people in a faraway retreat in white clothes and natural surroundings practicing mediation. Meditation, however, does not need you to do any such thing.
Meditation is all about getting in touch with your body, thoughts, and emotions. You can thus choose to meditate just about anywhere. Even if you have five minutes to spare and spend that meditating, you would be in better touch with your own self.
In this fast-paced life, perhaps you are so busy fending for your family, that you have forgotten the real you. As time goes by and you brush away the many emotions, small and big that you experience in the course of life. Over time you feel low on energy and emotionally depleted.
As a result, there are likely to be repercussions on the home or the work front, as you gradually realize that you are no longer in control of your body, mind or spirit. And that is not a happy feeling. This is where meditation comes in handy.
If you are still wondering is it really worth it to learn how to meditate, here are some good reasons to ponder on:
Meditation generates positivity
Meditation is known to enhance the flow of constructive thoughts and positive energy. There is enough scientific evidence to prove the pre-frontal cortex of the brain (the part that is associated with the feeling of happiness) is more active in individuals who meditate even for a few minutes each day.
Helps you deal with stress, anxiety, and depression
In the fast-paced complicated lives that we all lead today stress, anxiety and depression have become our day to day companions. By focussing on the moment and “being present” or “mindful” as it is said, you can deal with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression deftly. Mediation provides you with the tools to remain calm even when situations around you are stressful.
Meditation helps you tackle insomnia
Another modern-day malady that most of us experience is that of insomnia. Nearly 6 out of 10 people worldwide are presently suffering from some sort of sleep deprivation at the root of which is stress and anxiety. Meditation that helps you tackle stress and anxiety as mentioned before, will also help you fall asleep faster as it triggers the relaxation response.
Thus as you can see, meditation has numerous benefits. So if you have been skeptical about meditation, now is the time to dispel your fears and get started.
A Quick Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
You may have heard your friends or relatives wax eloquent about meditation and its benefits at various times. Switch on the television, and you perhaps have some celebrity telling you how daily mediation helps them course better through the journey of life. All of this has you intrigued to the point of trying out meditation yourself. But as a rank newcomer, you are left wondering how to meditate for beginners!
First up, congratulations on your decision to learn meditation techniques for beginners. Meditation is all about being present here and now and you are going to be able to witness all the benefits first hand.
Eight Basic Steps Of Meditation
Now let us take you through the eight basic steps of mediation that you can build on, as per the guidelines you choose to follow:
Step one: Find a quiet place in your home or office at any part of the day and settle on a comfortable chair, cushion or bench.
Step two: Check your posture. The key is to keep your back straight, wherever you choose to sit.
Step three: Breath! (Sounds, hopelessly simple we know!) but breathe mindfully. What you need to do is feel your physical presence as you breathe in and out.
Step four: Do not be concerned about modifying or rectifying the respiration process. Simply feel the breath up to your belly and enjoy its ebb and flow.
Step five: When you first begin to meditate you are likely to notice a sea of emotions rushing into your mind. Do not try to brush them off. Instead, let them arrive and acknowledge them with kindness and invite them to relax along with you.
Step six: If you feel that your mind is wandering to some inane task or thought (which it will often do at first) gently bring it back to your breathing and help it relax.
Step seven: Enjoy a moment of gratefulness of being able to become one with your soul. You can even chant a small prayer at this stage in your mind to make you feel the connection you are attempting to establish with your higher being.
Step eight: Once you are done, take a moment to stretch and relax before you pick up tasks for the rest of the day.
While meditation is no magic trick that will solve life’s problems all at once, it will certainly help you be better prepared to handle with calm and ease whatever curveball that life may throw at any point.
Meditation Postures For Beginners
When you think meditation, the first image that conjures up in your mind is perhaps of the Buddha, the enlightened one sitting in a full lotus position or that of a yoga instructor sitting effortlessly in padmasana. If you are just about getting started with meditation, do not aspire to get into the lotus position right away, for it may be frustrating and may cause more harm than help.
Here is some help with mediation postures you can experiment with when you are first embarking upon the path of meditation.
Pay attention to your back
When you are setting out to practice mindfulness, the first thing you need to bear in mind is the back. The basic tenets of meditation say that your back should be straight and your shoulders should be back in a manner that your chest is out and you are breathing normally. When you are starting out, make your back as straight as you can, albeit comfortably.
It may be a good idea to imagine that a gentle giant is holding a tuft of your hair right above you to help you straighten your posture! Straightening of the back is the first step towards finding alignment in one’s body. When you maintain a straight back, a good flow of energy is facilitated up and down your spine. This can help reduce feelings of drowsiness or agitation.
Basic Meditation Postures
On the floor – If you are sitting on the floor, try beginning with a kneeling posture. You can progress to the cross-legged and lotus position as you begin to get more comfortable. We recommend that the knees be slightly lower than the hips.
On a chair – If you choose to begin your meditation by sitting on a chair, that is a great way to begin to. When seated on a chair, try and sit as close to the edge of the seat as possible to prevent yourself from leaning behind. Your feet should be flat and touching the ground and your legs must be joined, but not crossed. You can rest your hands on your thighs. The most important part of meditation is to focus on breathing. Thus ensure that your shoulders are drawn back and your chest is out to ensure natural breathing.
What to do with your eyes – One of the most commonly asked questions about meditation is what is to be done with one’s eyes. Should they be open or closed during meditation? We say it completely depends on your own self.
Some people prefer keeping their eyes open to focus on an object to practice mindful seeing along with mindful breathing. For others, closing one’s eyes seems a better way to shut out external influences completely to concentrate on the journey within.
Meditation can bring about profound changes for you too, as well as assist you in achieving overall wellbeing, peacefulness, clarity and balance, and a deeper personal connection to your spirit and yourself. There are over seven billion people on this planet so your experience will be different from everyone else, but that is a good thing. You are completely unique and deserving of your own personal lifechanging meditation journey.
If you’ve never tried meditation before why not try it today, you might thoroughly enjoy the benefits it can bring.