In my last post, I made a recommendation to add a regular mediation practice into your life in order to aid with sleep. Along with this, meditation is said to have several benefits for the body including:
- Increased focus and concentration
- Lowers anxiety and depression
- Brings greater awareness to the current state of the body and the mind
- Supports good posture
The question usually becomes for someone just getting started is, "How do I meditate?" During my 200 - hour yoga teacher training, we learned a 3-Step Process to help beginners:
- Sit down and choose a comfortable seat you can commit to.
- Be still.
- Focus your attention and steady the mind on one point of concentration.
A "comfortable seat" recommended is typically seated on the floor with your legs crossed and your hips elevated by using a cushion or a blanket. Or you may choose to sit in a chair with your back straight and your feet pressed firmly into the ground. Your hands can be resting on your knees or at your side. The idea is to feel comfortable so that you don't fidget too much.
There are several forms of meditation that you can experiment with:
- Analytical (to observe ones thoughts)
- Mantra Recitation (for example: silently say "let" on the inhale; and "go" on the exhale)
- Visualizations (focus your awareness entirely on a visualization in order to release your unbalanced emotions)
- Simply focusing on your breath (observe every inhale and exhale)
One point I would like to stress is the common misconceptions about meditation. Most people tend to think they should make their mind blank and stop all thoughts. That's not the goal. I'm here to tell you, that if you are human, your mind will take charge and the intention is to simply become aware of the thoughts and to observe them. Don't attach yourself to them and if you find you get lost on a certain thought pattern, just return to the breath or to your mantra.
The last tip I'll leave you with is that I find the best time to meditate is first thing in the morning or at evening. In our training materials, they say sunrise and sunset, when the night is meeting the day and the day is meeting the night.
"Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have." -- Pema Chodron