Introduction to Meditation
Meditation is the practice of training the mind and has been likened to how people train their body through exercise. Like exercise, there is a variety of ways to approach meditation, which can make it hard to determine how to get started. Understanding more about the practice will help you integrate it into your routine with ease. Here’s what you need to know.
You don’t have to sit for hours in a meditative state to reap the benefits of meditation. In fact, when you’re just starting out, experts encourage you to opt for shorter sessions. Just like with physical exercise, you don’t want to jump right in because you need to learn the techniques and acclimate yourself to a new habit so that you don’t get burned out. Starting with just a couple of minutes introduces the practice without overwhelming you or putting you off if at first you don’t succeed.
Types of Meditation
There are a various kinds of meditation, so you have some options when it comes to what works best for you. Concentration meditation requires focusing on a single point, such as a candle flame or counting the beads on a necklace. This method aims to help you learn to keep your focus centred. Mindfulness meditation enables observation of wandering thoughts and is designed to help you balance the good with the bad. Other, lesser used methods include compassion meditation, walking meditation, and tai chi – meditation with movement.
You’ll find that, just like with anything else, you’ll get better at meditating the more you practise. However, there are some beginner tips that can help you get into it in such a way that you immediately benefit. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe naturally, while focusing your attention on your breathing. If your mind starts to wander, simply direct it back to your breathing. Aim to meditate for two to three minutes a session as a beginner, adding time as you become more comfortable with it.
Experts suggest using a meditation chair or pillow if you have trouble finding a comfortable place in your home. You might also be able to focus better if you wear a sleep mask to help you remember to keep your eyes closed. There are a multitude of meditation videos and podcasts that can help you learn the techniques and incorporate the practice into your everyday life.
You might also consider hiring a meditation teacher, someone who can go through the practice with you and guide you along the way to mastering the methods. Make sure you find a trained teacher and that you feel comfortable with them before you embark on a partnership. If you aren’t completely committed to meditation, you’ll just be wasting time and money.
Benefits of Meditation
Once you know the benefits of meditating, you will likely be more inclined to give it a try. Meditating is akin to relaxing and has major perks. It helps lower blood pressure and heart rate. Meditation has been shown to improve blood circulation, reduce anxiety and stress and control blood cortisol levels. You’ll get immediate results from a meditation study, but research shows that a consistent meditation practice has long-term benefits, such as a calm mind and enhanced inner feelings of well-being. With time you’ll notice that missing a meditation session can alter your overall lifestyle.
Meditation is a healthy practice that can benefit your life in many ways. It’s not always the easiest thing to learn how to do, but as you gain confidence and skills, you’ll start to see positive changes in your life that will encourage you to stick with it.