Just like many other new hobbies, sports, or activities, I think many of us are hesitant to start meditation, simply because they feel that there’s too much to learn and don’t have the time, to which I say…Really? Meditation doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t require much to get started; sure, if you want to learn advanced techniques or even astral projection, it may take a while, but the basics are well…basic! Some of the simplest things, like learning the right posture and how to get into the mindset are easy things you can do almost anywhere and provide a good foundation for more advanced techniques. Meditation is a simple practice with many benefits, once you commit to it. Here are several meditation tips to get you going in the right direction.
5 Meditation Tips to Get You Going
1) The Mindset
Out of all the meditation tips I’ve learned and can offer you, this is the most fundamental and important one. Meditation isn’t just sitting down cross-legged and thinking about whatever is on your mind. Rather, you need to be able to sit down for long periods of time (at least 30 minutes), and be able to completely clear your thoughts and keep your emotions in check – it’s almost like the lack of thinking is the goal. The point of meditation is to walk away more level-headed than before and with a newfound sense of clarity and self-actualization.
2) The Location
One of the many joys of meditation is that it doesn’t require much room – it’s just you and your body. You don’t need a track, a field, a certain type of mat, or so on, in order to practice and improve your mental health. It only requires one simple thing — a place to sit. You can make it a bit more comfortable by getting a simple mat (like one used in yoga), a pillow, or by using a wall to prop yourself up against to make it easier on your spine.
Like yoga and many martial arts, breathing is one of the fundamental parts of meditation. Every type of meditation has a different breathing pattern meant to help you relax best, but a few things are pretty common across each. For example, taking in full breaths, holding it in for a second or two, then letting it out slowly, and doing this until it becomes natural is a popular technique. The point of practicing breathing exercises in meditation is so that you focus on that while you attempt to clear your mind. Even sitting at a desk reading this is a great time to practice breathing! Try it with me — breathe in slowly and let it out slowly and repeat it until it becomes a natural rhythm. Pretty easy, right?
4) Your Body
Meditation doesn’t necessarily require you to sit cross-legged with your arms out while you chant “Om” for hours at a time – but it can be if you want. What it comes down to is finding a good balance between physical comfort and not falling asleep. It’s recommended to sit up straight, with your back against a wall, and your legs crossed. Your arms can rest on your thighs or on a pillow on your lap. It’s not recommended that you meditate while laying down; you don’t want to fall asleep.
5) The Process
My favorite thing about meditation is that normally, no two people will find the same method that works for them best. My preference is to sit down for 30 minutes at least, just practicing breathing, then by calmly addressing all of the problems that are facing me. Since I’ll be so relaxed from the breathing technique, I’ll be able to address any of my problems without becoming emotional. Some people don’t even need to think while meditating! These people will simple calm themselves through breathing and they’ll stay calm for days at a time. Experiment and find a method that suits you best – and above all, enjoy it.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: Moyan Brenn (Flickr)