Meditation 101: The Beginner's Guide to Starting Your Meditation Practice
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Meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to let the mind rest and slow down.
But is it that simple to slow down? Can we just turn the switch and stop the hundreds of thoughts passing through the mind? Is it even possible to do that? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. Through meditation, we can gradually quiet the chatter in the mind and allow it to calm down.
And while many people think that meditation is very easy, others find it very complex and difficult. The truth is that it all depends on our mental state. If you are overactive and your mind is restless, meditating could be very frustrating. As a result, many give up meditation after trying only for a few minutes.
What if we told you that you only need to be positive and give it a persistent try? You just need a little patience and regular practice to find inner peace and harmony.
If you are also unsure how to start your meditation practice, in this article we share useful information on how to get started.
Why do we need to meditate?
Meditation is not only beneficial but necessary to calm the mind and to give it some time to rest. By meditating you can reduce stress and slow down your thoughts. It recharges the batteries, increases physical stamina, spiritual strength, and improves our ability to concentrate.
Where to meditate?
Photo credit: Him River Resort
If meditating inside, choose a warm space, free from noisy distractions. It’s helpful to have a separate room or create a special corner for your meditation.
And if you want to do meditation outside, choose a place where you feel safe and relaxed, make sure there aren’t many distractions around you.
How can we start to meditate?
Photo credit: Real Happiness
You can sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Make sure that your back, spine, and neck are straight. Start sitting just a little each day. If you don't sit straight, your mind will drift and your pranic energy won’t flow from the lower to the higher chakras. Use a mudra to make sure your pranic energy can flow without interruption.
If your body is balanced and calmed, your mind will also be in balance and calm. Do not sit with the back against a wall and don't lie on the ground, as the pranic energy will be absorbed through the wall and floor instead of flowing freely throughout the body.
You can keep your eyes closed or open. Keeping your eyes open will allow you to be more present. Just lower your eyes, look over the tip of your nose to the ground and relax the eyelids.
You could use a candle and gaze at the flame. When you feel relaxed and stable, close your eyes, and imagine the flame in your mind.
Meditation is a wonderful practice to hel you focus on the present moment. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the object of meditation.
If a sound disturbs your meditation, do not associate it with noise, which has a negative connotation and leads to irritation or anger. Instead of noise, become aware of the sounds of life, which do not belong to you, and which have no importance at all for you. They simply show you at which point you are with your meditation.
In advanced meditation, you would not be aware of the senses or any sounds.
Paying attention to the breath is crucial in keeping your connection with the present moment.
Notice your natural breath in the nostrils, feel the change of temperature with every inhalation and exhalation. If you are having difficulties, you can try counting your breaths, which is a meditation practice in itself.
Breathe with rhythm. Regulating the breath helps to regulate the flow of prana - the vital energy.
If your mind is jumping, gently try to return your focus to the breath or a mantra.
Don’t fight your mind or thoughts. This will just make you feel frustrated. Instead, just let it be and turn back your attention to your breath or mantra.
Alternatively, you can imagine a cloud in the sky, stuff your thoughts into the cloud and send the cloud away, then bring your mind back to the object of meditation or the breath. Do this 1,000 times if needed. You will see that, after a while, the mental distractions come to an end.
If you have strong uncontrolled emotions, it is impossible to meditate.
Emotions lead to mind-movies. Anger, shame, and fear create stories that will trap you and your mind. The way to deal with emotions is to focus on the feelings that accompany the emotion.
For example, if you feel anger and heat in the belly, let go of the story behind it and just focus on the feeling in your belly. Use your breath. With every exhalation, release that heat. This way, you become aware of your body but not trapped in the story behind the emotion.
You can deal with all emotions this way!
Start with short meditations, once or twice a day.
Ideally, just before you start your day in the morning and before you head to bed. But, in theory, the best time to meditate is around sunrise or sunset, when the atmosphere is charged with powerful magnetic vibrations.
And while you don’t want to get comfortable meditating just for 3 minutes (with the help of an app, for example, as guided meditation can ease you into the practice), it can be a good starting point. However, aim for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day and build on that.
Don’t force yourself to meditate longer if you don't feel ready. After some time, extend your meditation to 20 to 25 minutes once a day.
Try meditating every day at the same time; this will help you to get a stable rhythm and to find your moment of peace and harmony. Some of us prefer the morning, others the evening. Find what feels good for you.
Featured photo credit: Healing Pyramid of Bali
Ready to start your meditation practice but can’t travel right now? Join an online meditation course and get the guidance, advice, and encouragement you need to start reaping the benefit of meditation from the comfort of your house.