How To Meditate – Meditation Benefits And Techniques
What is meditation?
The term meditation is often used to refer to a few different things. The word can be used as a synonym for contemplation, reflection, or even just relaxation. What all these practices do have in common is the idea of achieving a level of mental focus and relaxation by sitting quietly and either contemplating on some topic or following one’s breath.
Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion with your hands resting gently in your lap. Find your spot, somewhere between feeling totally relaxed and yet being slightly focused so that you’re not falling asleep at the same time.
How to meditate
Sit quietly for a few moments.
Breathe in and out slowly, trying not to let your body move. If you feel yourself fidgeting, tell yourself that you’ll sit for only one more breath and then will have to get up. If you can make it three breaths with no fidgeting, great; if not, make it two or one and then get up. Do this until you feel able to sit still on your own without any outside prompting.
Listen to the sounds around you without attaching any meaning or significance to them. Count the breaths you take. Feel the air as it goes in and out of your body.
Now close your eyes. Let yourself sink into the silence and let your mind wander where it wants to go without censoring it or forcing it back towards any particular thought.
Ask yourself what thoughts you can perceive in your mind without engaging them or responding to them with judgment or judgmental thinking. For example, if you find yourself thinking about something unpleasant, try not to engage this thought and simply allow it to be there without reacting emotionally. If you find that some other thoughts are coming into consciousness, notice these too without judging them or trying to push them away, but simply allow them to go on their own time cycle as well.
After a time you will probably find that your mind is quiet and not forcing any thoughts to come into consciousness.
Keep opening your eyes a little bit at a time until you find that you can maintain this level of awareness and silence for as long as you like. Do this for as long as it seems to make sense, getting up from time to time, leaving the room or going into the kitchen, and coming back when you want to continue. If for some reason your mind begins to wander again – perhaps because of boredom or restlessness – simply notice where it goes and then open your eyes again.
Now, whenever you feel like meditating, you can close your eyes and return to the silence and go back to counting your breaths again.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in a variety of different forms. It has gained popularity in the United States in recent decades because research has shown that it can have many psychological benefits that include improved attention, the ability to deal with stress more effectively, and insomnia treatment among many others. This is not to say that meditation doesn’t have any spiritual benefits; it certainly can work towards spiritual enlightenment as well if that is something you’re interested in.
While it is not possible to give a no-nonsense list of what meditation can and cannot do, there are certainly some things that are true of most forms of the practice regardless of the intentions behind it.
Meditation aims to train the mind in ways that will make it more effective in its interactions with daily life. Meditation allows us to deal with problems and worries more effectively because we allow our thoughts to settle down into a place where they can be dealt with without any emotional or physical distraction.
When we stop trying to control our thoughts and allow them to flow naturally, many of the stresses of daily life disappear. By emptying our minds of the clutter that comes from worry and anxiety, we can more easily see the problems that are in front of us and solve them.
When we give up trying to hold on to our thought process, we find that so much of our energy has been wasted in ways that have nothing to do with what’s really happening in front of us. When we let go and simply let things happen without interfering with them, something happens which is entirely different than the way things happen when we’re trying so hard to make them occur.
The History of Meditation
The word meditation comes from the same Latin root as the word medicate, which has the idea of treating an illness or disease. The practice of meditation started thousands of years ago in ancient Eastern countries like India, China and Nepal where it was used to help people achieve enlightenment. In these countries, people often spent their entire lives mastering one form or another of meditation and using its powers to achieve what they considered to be a level of spiritual awakening.
Meditation is also a common practice in a number of different religions that have been practiced for thousands of years. Hinduism and Buddhism are two such religions that have incorporated different forms of mediation into their worship, although they are not the only ones by any means.
Elements of Meditation
There are different elements that go into a meditation session, although there are many different variations in the way that these elements are used. The three main elements of meditation are body, breath, and mind. For the most part, people use one or more of these in their meditation practice to achieve a goal that helps them in their daily lives.
One element of meditation is focused on the body itself. This might involve leaning against a wall or some other object that will keep you upright during your session, making sure to breathe comfortably and naturally so that you don’t hold your breath and cause yourself to hyperventilate while sitting still.
Another important element of meditation involves the breathing process itself. People often pay close attention to their breathing in a meditative session because it is a good way to help clear the mind and get it focused on something without having to think about what you’re doing so that you can become aware of your thoughts as they happen.
While sitting still is generally considered an important part of any meditation session, there are also people who find that moving around can be helpful in some situations. This might involve yoga or some other form of physical movement as a component of the meditation session itself, or something more general like just walking around your living room or bedroom without trying to accomplish anything else while you do so.
There are also different ways to help yourself achieve a meditative state. Some people choose to focus on a mantra that they repeat silently over and over again in their mind. A mantra can be any word or phrase, and the idea behind it is that you continue saying it in your mind as a kind of jumping-off place for your thoughts so that you can pay attention to what is actually going on around you.
The types of mantras are unlimited, but some common examples include the sound of your breath as you breathe in and out, one or more words from a prayer or Bible verse, a phrase in another language that helps to calm you down and focus your attention, or even nothing at all if no words come to mind.
Another way to help achieve a meditative state involves the use of different types of mediation practices. A wide range of these exist, but many people choose to use guided imagery or hypnosis. These involve giving the listener specific instructions about what they should be doing and seeing in their mind. It’s important that you follow these instructions, so you can be sure that you’re achieving the desired effects for your meditation session.
There are many different ways in which you can pay attention to your breathing while you’re sitting there meditating, and a great deal of flexibility is built into this process for most people who decide to try it. However, it’s important to remember that no matter what you do, you shouldn’t stress out about doing it “right” or about how you feel while meditating.
It’s a process that will take some time to learn and master, so try to stay patient with yourself. Meditation is not just for saints or monks, and it doesn’t require a lot of hard-to-find materials or even any special talent or knowledge base—just a desire to be more relaxed and mindful of the world around you.
How to Find the Right Place to Meditate
Meditation does not require complete silence or even a large amount of privacy. It does require, however, that you find a place where you won’t be distracted by things like text messages, television audio or the constant buzz of activity from other people in your house.
However, it’s impossible to totally block out all sound completely—especially if you have kids or pets at home. This fact is a critical part of finding the right environment for meditation and something that has to be taken into consideration before you settle on the location for your sessions. Fifteen feet from the ocean is great, but if your dog’s barking is keeping you up at night and your kids are jumping around it can be a problem. Same goes for multiple neighbors who don’t mind you having some quiet time. If you live in a neighborhood with sound-sensitive residents or have children who don’t nap well, you’ll need to go even further out. Anywhere past the outer edge of the city suburbs should work fine.
What to Do if You Get Bored or Lose Concentration mid-meditation
This is a common problem that affects many people during their first session or two. It may never happen to you, and if it does, it’s a good indication that you are among the minority who simply isn’t meant to be deeply meditative. If you do lose your concentration, try not to get upset about it! You’ve probably seen those pictures where someone is sitting there with their eyes closed and what look like drops of water coming down from their head. This isn’t something to worry about; as long as you’re in an environment where everything is peaceful you’ll be fine.
Meditation for Beginners: 5 Techniques that are Easy and Effective
“Meditating” is a pretty broad term, and there are several ways to practice it. This guide will cover several different techniques, so that you can choose one that is right for you.
Now don’t let the fact that meditation has only recently become popular in the West fool you — it’s been used as a tool for personal and spiritual development for thousands of years in Eastern cultures.
It’s easy to see why: meditation helps us achieve inner peace, which allows us to tackle life’s many problems more effectively and have more energy than we did before. Let’s get started!
1. Breathing Meditation
Do you ever get that feeling that every time you take a breath, your mind starts racing? Maybe it’s easier to concentrate when you’re not breathing at all. If this is a problem for you, try pranayama, or yogic breathing exercises. This type of meditation helps us relax our physical bodies and calm our minds, which makes it an excellent way to start the day.
There are several different types of breathing exercises we can use to get the benefits of pranayama without spending hours doing it. Try these three:
Close your eyes and focus on your inhalations and exhalations. Try to breathe in and out as deeply and slowly as possible. After you’ve found a rhythm that works, begin stretching your breaths until they last for longer than a normal inhalation or exhalation does.
This will help you feel more relaxed and will keep you calm throughout the day.
Alternatively, try breathing into a paper bag with your hands over your face so that it creates an airtight seal around your face. The bag will prevent outside air from entering while preventing you from taking too deep of a breath — just make sure that the bottom of the bag is not touching your skin! Then focus on breathing in and out slowly through half-closed eyes, while concentrating on what is going on inside your mind.
This technique is perfect for helping you sleep or just calming down quickly.
The final way you can use breathing techniques during a pranayama session is to use your breath as a source of sound for mnemonics or mantras. Try repeating “Om” or your own mantra, and let your mind follow the sound of your breath instead of following all of the thoughts in it.
The focus on the sound will help keep your mind clear and focused even when you are trying to calm it down. Having trouble relaxing? Try yoga! Yoga combines breathing exercises with physical movement that helps us open our lungs, stretch our bodies, and relax our minds at once. If you want to practice yoga while expending as little energy as possible, try the Easy Yoga app that is available for both iPhone and Android.
As we mentioned above, yoga is an excellent way to learn how to meditate while still getting a full-body workout. There are many different types of yoga that you can do. Try starting with one (or a combination of them) that provides you with the greatest amount of flexibility and strength in your body — this will help you have more control over your body, which will allow you to concentrate better during your sessions. Try this simple routine:
Get into a comfortable position on the floor. If you’re on a carpet, make sure that there is enough space to stretch your arms out so that you don’t put any pressure on your joints.
You can either do this routine using your own body or using a yoga mat. You can also try to find a yoga class in your area! If you want to receive more tips and tricks for relaxing, visit our guide on the best ways to relax at home.
3. Relaxing Music
Did you know that music has been used as a tool for relaxation in Eastern cultures for thousands of years? Indian classical music puts listeners in the perfect mood for meditation by creating feelings of peace and relaxation. Many people have found that listening to Indian classical music is the easiest way to achieve a meditative state.
Let’s try a simple breathing meditation while listening to some great music!
First, find a few songs on YouTube or Spotify and put them on shuffle. Then sit down in a comfortable position and breathe deeply for 10 minutes.
Listen to the songs for as long as you need them — you should feel more relaxed after just one round! If you want to make this exercise easier, try playing relaxing classical music while reading a book or even while writing an essay. This will help you focus better on your work because it will keep your mind from wandering.
4. Smell Meditation
One of the easiest ways to meditate is to simply smell some good-smelling flowers. The act of inhaling and exhaling the scent of these flowers will help you focus on your breathing. Try this:
Put some fresh flowers in a vase or bowl, and open a window so that you can smell them without getting them all over your hands. Now just sit back, close your eyes, and breathe in deeply through your nose. Feel how the thickness of the scent connects with your heart and mind. Then exhale slowly through your mouth and see if you can feel any energy leaving you as you do it.
5. Breathing for Relaxation on YouTube
If you don’t feel like you have enough time to listen to a new song every day, there are plenty of videos on YouTube that provide the same benefits. Try watching one of these as soon as you wake up or after a stressful day at work:
Headspace is a simple app that helps people relax by providing meditation in short, snappy videos. It’s perfect if you don’t have the time to read a full book but want the knowledge of what meditation actually is. Try starting with their 10-minute “Take 10” challenge and see if you can complete it without skipping!
All of the methods that will be discussed in this article can be used for different situations. Sometimes you might need to meditate because you’re running late and don’t have time to start your day or because it’s a stressful day at work. Any of these five techniques will help, so try to find one that is right for you. And remember: as with anything, practice makes perfect! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like meditation after a few tries — just try a new technique until you find the best one for your personality.