A Beginners Guide To Meditation
So you’ve heard about the benefits of meditation. Perhaps you’ve all about the health benefits it brings to the body and mind or maybe you’ve spoken to a friend who raves about their daily meditation for a more restful sleep. Whatever brought you here today I hope you find it useful and interesting.
What is meditation?
Meditation might mean different things to different people but the general aim is to become fully present in the current moment. It’s not necessarily about shutting off the world around you but instead connecting with it deeply, wherever you happen to be. This doesn't mean tuning into the distractions that surround us in this day and age like the TV or your mobile phone but connecting with the present and the natural world. Meditation encourages a heightened state of awareness and focussed attention.
How to meditate for beginners
It's important to note that there is no such thing as perfect meditation. There isn’t a level of skill or ability that you need to be aiming for, it’s about the journey and the practice. Meditation is a continuous process where you will continue to grow and develop with each practice.
The most important thing to remember is to be consistent and open to the experience. It doesn’t have to be very long either, around 5-10 minutes per session is perfect
Find a comfy, quiet spot free from distractions
Turn off your phone, laptop, TV and other digital distractions there may be. Some choose to play quiet , calm and repetitive music.
Take a seat
The classic image of a person meditating shows them cross legged on the ground and while this is a perfectly fine position, it’s far from the only choice. You could sit in a chair or up against a wall or anywhere where you can be safe, comfortable and maintain good posture. Many like closing their eyes at this point so they remain focused and calm.
Breathing is arguably the most important part of mediation. When you’ve sat down, try taking a few deep breaths that expand your chest and belly. Pay attention to the breaths and how they feel entering and leaving your body. Keep breathing deeply, focussing on it as best you can.
Be with your thoughts
Like I said before, meditation is not about shutting off your thoughts and the world around it’s about being present with them. Your mind naturally wants to wander but try not to judge or analyse your thoughts, just notice them and then guide them back to the breath.
Rinse and repeat
Keep breathing deeply and being present in the moment. Notice how your body feels and send your energy to any spots that feel tense or painful. If you notice the thoughts trying to wander again, just gently guide them back to the inwards and outwards breath. Keep going for 5 or 10 minutes and repeat daily or around 3 times per week.
The benefits of meditation
The list of benefits from mediation is extensive, for the body, mind and spirit. They can all be boosted through regular practice
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases serotonin
- Better sleep
- Boosts the immune system
- Decreases tension-related pain like tension headaches, joint and muscle problems
- Decreases anxiety and depression
- Better relaxation
- Better emotional regulation
- Clarity in thoughts
- Sharpness of the mind
Starting to practice meditation is like planting a tree. If you give it love and attention, it will grow and grow. There isn’t a point to aim for, we are all different and will start our journeys at different points. Don’t get yourself down if you struggle at first, it’s in our brain nature to want to stray but if you can try and guide your thoughts back towards your breathing then you are doing a great job. Try finding 5 minutes a day for meditation and your body and mind will thank you.
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