If you caught our previous blog post on Meditation and the Mind then you will already know how great meditation can be for stress relief, mindfulness, and for alleviating anxiety. Further benefits of this peaceful practice include better sleep, enhanced productivity and better blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, meditation can help you to gain perspective on your life and your decisions.
Meditation may at first seem like an intimidating concept, but once you get into it you will soon discover how simple it is. Being aware of the benefits is the first step to making meditation a part of your life, and the following tips will give you the next push to embracing this practice!
Convenience and Comfort
The place in which you meditate will have a great impact on how easy you find it to reach a place of peace. It is best if you are able to create a quiet space for yourself where you won’t be interrupted by noise or other people. This should be a comfortable space where you can sit free from clutter or distractions. If you know that there is a particular time that is more convenient due to your family, housemates or partner not being home, then try to schedule your meditation during this time.
Lighting incense or playing soothing music is a subtle way to arouse your senses, helping to connect you to your meditation in a deeper way.
Some people prefer to sit on a yoga mat while they meditate, whereas others like to sit on a cushion, or simply on the floor. However you decide to sit, make sure your posture is firm but relaxed.
Preparing to Meditate
Getting your body and mind ready to meditate will help you to get the most out of each session. It is best if you are neither hungry nor full, so eat a few hours beforehand or have a light snack up to an hour before you get started. If you attempt to meditate immediately after a meal then you may find that you begin to doze off!
Warming up your body with some light stretches and preparing your mind with a few deep breaths will help to prepare you. The stretches will get your circulation going and also decrease any restlessness that you may be experiencing. Paying attention to your breathing will help to clear your mind and to hone your attention on the present moment.
After you have done both of these things, you can take a seat in your designated meditation area.
Ready, Steady, Meditate
Once you are comfortable and relaxed, having engaged in your stretches and your breathing warmups, you can close your eyes and bring your attention once more to your breathing.
Your breath in and out should become the most important thing to you in this moment. Invite love, happiness and positivity into your mind with every inhale, and expel negativity from your mind, body and soul with every exhale.
As you continue to meditate you will likely notice that thoughts about your day, your past, your future – thoughts about all kinds of things – will try to enter your mind! This is totally normal and doesn’t mean that you are doing it wrong. Once you become aware of these thoughts, simply acknowledge them, remind yourself of the task at hand and then return your focus solely back to your breathing.
There is no lower or upper time limit when it comes to meditation. However, developing your practice into longer sessions over time will help you to enjoy the benefits in a greater way.
Do not rush to open your eyes when you feel you are ready to finish a session. Do so slowly during a few deep breaths and give yourself a few moments to take in your surroundings before you stand up and resume your day.
One last tip! Try holding a gentle smile on your face the entire time that you are meditating – from beginning your preparation to the last deep breath taken before ending your practice. This will help to keep your mind in a place of positivity and remind you of the boundless happiness that is available to you!