Learning How to Meditate the Easy Way
Meditation is a powerful and necessary exercise that has gained popularity in the past few decades. Today science has just started scratching the surface of what mediation can do for people who practice and maintain a mediative lifestyle. As a practitioner of mediation I have learned over the years some helpful techniques that may be useful for people who are interested in trying to incorporate mediation into their life. Whether you practice five minutes or five hours these techniques will help you maintain a calm and peaceful mind. However, before I go into the techniques themselves I will briefly talk about some of the health benefits and history behind meditation. In this way I think you will appreciate and respond more favorably to the technique that I will list.
The history of meditation is a little bit shrouded in mystery, but many scholars believe that meditation was discovered thousands of years ago centralized in Asia, India, and Japan. However, new discoveries suggest that certain tribes in North America had forms of meditation as well. These meditation sessions that occurred were tied to religious beliefs and many think that the purpose of meditation was to connect with gods or in some cases the very soul of a person. Up until the late 1900s people in the west associated meditation with some of these beliefs and tied meditation with paranormal practices like witchcraft. It wasn't until the 1900s that news about possible health benefits of meditation started to make headway into the west. Scientists entranced by the idea that meditation could provide a range of benefits started testing the effects of meditation on humans. As time has passed and technology has developed scientists now have recorded several benefits using brain scans of patients. I won't go into what all of these benefits are, but if you are interested in learning more about the science behind meditation go to sciencedaily.com and type in meditation. There you will find all sorts of articles related to studies done on meditation absolutely free.
Learning the Ropes
Well I am sure by now you want to learn some of my meditation techniques and I will be happy to share them with you. I recommend that before you begin that you simply read the techniques a few times over just to make sure that you have the general idea in your head. By no means are these techniques set in stone and I even will encourage you to tinker with the techniques to make them work for you. Now lets begin!
1. The first thing that you will want to do is to figure out how much time you will want to meditate for each day. Remember this is a lifestyle choice and meditation will be more beneficial for you overall if you practice it daily, rather than once in a while. This is not to say that if you miss a day of meditation that you will lose the benefits, but it is a good idea to have a goal to stick with meditation. (side note: If your new to meditation try not to overwhelm yourself by setting aside a bunch of time to meditate. Try short amounts of time and if you feel comfortable doing more time you can always add on to your meditation sessions)
2. As soon as you have a general idea of how long you will want to meditate for each day you have to figure out a place that you can meditate without interruption. Whether it is a bedroom or dining room does not matter, but picking a place and sticking with it also solidifies making meditation a habit.
3. Next you will want to sit down comfortably in a chair or on the floor. If you choose to meditate on the floor make sure to not lie on the ground. This is due to the fact that many people fall asleep in this position and this will bring you out of meditating. There are several positions that you can try to there is no "wrong position" just make sure you are comfortable. For a list of positions just type meditative positions in google for pictures and diagrams. (side note: If a position is uncomfortable it is due to the fact that it has not become natural for you yet. I remember when I first started meditation that I would sit on my knees and it was uncomfortable for several days, however after awhile it became one of my natural meditative positions)
4. Once you are in position and ready to start meditation note your time and set the timer for how long you decided to meditate. Like before this habit will help you reinforce practicing meditation daily.
5. Once you set the timer take a moment to look at your surroundings and try to capture all the details of where you are. After a moment close your eyes and begin to breathe in and out from your diaphragm. With each passing breath that you take try to extend the time of breathing in and out to about 3 seconds and hold for 4. That means breathe in for 3 seconds hold for 4 seconds and then release. During this try to focus just on breathing, however if your mind wanders try picturing the details that you took in right before you closed your eyes. Picturing all the details will help you get your mind back on track to your breathing, but it will also help your imagination. Always try to bring yourself back to just concentrating on your breathing if you can.
6. When the timer goes off finish your last breath, open your eyes and smile. Congratulations you just completed your first meditation and hopefully that's just one of many meditation sessions to come!
Now this meditation I have learned over the years does one of two things that is incredibly helpful for me. The first one is concentration and this is due to the fact that I have been able to focus on my breathing for several years. This has helped me overall on several occasions and the breathing also helps me eliminate stress. The second major benefit is attention to detail. Since I have been doing this meditation practice I have had a better eye at catching details in everyday life. Whether that is noticing body language or a small stain on someones shirt paying attention to details has been a nice benefit to have.
Just like there are several positions for meditation there are several different techniques for meditation as well. So I encourage everyone who enjoys this article and benefits from the practice of meditation to try different styles in order to feel which one works the best for him or herself. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions about techniques that work for you.