Health and Fitness

Meditation For Beginners: Top Simple Guide

Before you begin meditating, it is crucial that you understand what it is. Meditation is the practice of concentrating the mind on a particular physical thing. This thing can take the form of one’s own breath, someone’s voice, a lamp’s light, or a dot on the wall. It is through this practice many have sought relief from the chaos around them. In meditation, all five senses are active yet they are well-rested. You are aware of all sensory activity yet you concentrate on your being.

Not to be confused with Yoga, meditation is often used interchangeably with Yoga by amateurs but, in reality, meditation is an element of Yoga. Once the Yoga session is complete, the yogi sits down and meditates to calm his energies.

Here is an easy and quick guide to get you started on your first meditation session.

Step 1: Set Aside Time

Set a time slot in your daily schedule for meditation. For starters, fix a 15-minute window during which you shall do it. For example, it can be in the early morning, evening, or before bedtime. Then, stick to your timings. If you are too busy or unsure of giving it time, you may want to start it on weekends. 

Step 2: How do you want to go about it?

How do you want to do it? Whether you would like to join a class, listen to a guided meditation in the form of a podcast, or be on your own. 

Joining a class is the best option as you will have a guru or teacher who will help create a conducive environment for meditation. The next best option is to listen to a meditation guided by someone’s voice. Remember even if you do not have the luxury of joining a class or cannot find the right podcast, you can always do it on your own without much guidance.

Step 3: The Space

If you are meditating in your own home, you might want a dedicated space where nobody disturbs you for that amount of time. Make sure the space is well lit and does not have any things which can hurt you while you get up and sit down without any fuss. If you travel a lot then you might wanna inspect your stay’s surroundings for marking your dedicated meditation space. This you can do right when you enter your room.

Step 4: The Ambience

Meditation requires one to concentrate. So, in order to do that, it is better if you find a peaceful space that is not loud and free from any distractions. You can also use scented candles and some meditation music to help you connect better with the process.

Step 5: The Position

Meditation is done best in the padmasana or full-lotus position wherein you sit down with your legs crossed. Make sure your spine is erect. Sitting is important because you are the most alert and aware in this position which will help you to be wide awake. Yet it prevents you from processing the information as in the case of standing. Even though it is best to sit down on the ground if you have any ailments that are preventing you from doing this you can sit on a chair or even a couch to meditate.

Step 6: Comfort

Now that you are seated you may want to consider if at all you are sitting comfortably. The comfort of the body while meditation is quintessential as it will prevent your mind from swaying in directions other than focusing on itself. So, for that, get support like a yoga mat. If you still need ample support for your hips then you can go for a meditation pillow-like zaful which is circular in shape. It provides cushioning to your pelvis and elevates them to support your spine as well as lifts excess pressure on your feet. This will also prevent numbing of your feet or legs.

Step 7: Meditation

After getting into your position comfortably proceed as follows:

  • Extend your arms and place them on top of your knees with your hands in the Gyan mudra. The Gyan mudra hand sign is achieved by touching the tips of your thumb and index fingers while the others are open. This mudra helps in improving one’s concentration.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath. You can inhale for 5 seconds. Exhale to the fullest. Repeat this process while focusing your attention on your breath. Notice how air enters the system and your chest expands and notice how it leaves your body. You can improve the experience by chanting the word ‘Om’ but that is pretty optional. 
  • Repeat this process for 10 breaths for the first time but make sure you focus only on breath. 

Step 8: Finishing-off

One way of ending your practice is when you are done, before you open your eyes, take your hands and rub your palms so as to create warmth. Then place your warm palms on your closed eyelids. Continue with your palms tracing your face, gently massaging all your face. This will help you relax. Then place your hands on your lap and say “Om Shantih Shanti-hi…”. Now, slowly and gently open your eyes to a more refreshed and relaxed state of mind.

Some additional tips that you may want to check out:

Take small steps first

As with anything good, it is better to not be overwhelmed in the beginning. The key is to start off by meditating for a few minutes or a few counts of breaths. For example, start with 5 deep breaths. 

Be consistent

Just like working out a day and then leaving out for the rest of the month will not give you a ripped body, inconsistency in meditation will also not reap the benefits of this ancient practice. You have to make it a part of your routine and then you can start increasing the session time gradually.

Guided Meditation

A guided meditation session is one where you sit down with eyes closed and listen to someone’s voice usually through earphones as in a podcast. This is mostly pre-recorded and a well-written script and performed by someone in a very calm and composed voice which helps you understand and execute the instructions in a relaxed state of mind. There are many mobile apps which offer this service both free and paid versions.

Re-focus

We are all very human and it is absolutely normal to have wandering thoughts. In such cases we should try to get back to focusing again without any worry. Slowly, your mind will get used to it.

Do not block your thoughts and surrounding completely

The purpose of meditation is not to be in a vacuum. You can feel all your senses and yet still stay calm. Become aware of your thoughts and notice the thought train. This process will help you discover yourself. When you understand your deep inner thoughts you will get to solving a lot of your worries. Such is the effect of meditation.

Sitting erect or slouching?

Although the best way is to have your spine straight and erect but if you find that painful you can slouch a little as per your comfort. Remember when you feel physically comfortable, that is when you can meditate with full vigor.

Meditation is really a boon and has as much to offer as much the person is willing to accept. Just go dive in and you will never look back.

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