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Meditating: The Basics

Updated on May 29, 2012
Tranquility can be achieved by training one's mind.
Tranquility can be achieved by training one's mind.

Beginning a Meditation Practice


Have you ever been in line waiting… perhaps at the bank, the coffee shop, or the post office? Or even worse…driving tranquilly down the road only to have a very angry individual pass by you in the breakdown lane and gesticulate towards you in a very unbecoming way? Well…. during these quiet moments that may quickly become stressful or anxious, I have learned to remain calm and simultaneously send the other person(s) compassion. Now you are asking yourself, are you for real? Yes, I am. Quite real, indeed, as real as any pseudo-Buddhist could be! You see it is all because of my meditation practice. I no longer respond with those ugly gestures or—a curse of my own.

The Basics

1) Begin in a quiet space, somewhere with no interruptions.

2) Find a way to time yourself, such as using a stopwatch or playing music for a specific number of minutes. Start with 5-10 minutes, work up to 20, then 40 and then 60 if you can.

3) Sit on a cushion with your legs crossed, one foot in front of your opposite leg’s shin. If your knees tend to be rather high, then sit on a larger cushion and feel free to place more cushions under your knees/thighs to give them support.

4) One of the most effective ways to begin meditating is by doing alternate nasal breathing. What this means is that you will use your right thumb and fourth finger to alternatively block one nostril and then the other as you inhale and exhale. For example, begin blocking the right nostril with right hand’s thumb. Breathe in the left nostril and count to five as you breathe in. At the top of the breath, switch nostrils, block the left with your fourth finger of the right hand (left hand is idly in your lap) and exhale through the right nostril while you count to five. Now, inhale in the right nostril as you count to five, then at the top of the breath, switch again.

5) Continue counting for your full five to ten minutes of your first session.

To gain comfort and to develop the habit of breathing consciously it helps a great deal to count. I find that doing this every day for a couple of weeks will allow you to focus more easily as you progress in your daily life as well as in your practice.

Namasté!

Guided Meditation by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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    • yoginijoy profile image
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      yoginijoy 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Dear By Lori, Yes, I have been meditating daily for years and I am a much calmer person than I used to be. I handle stress in a healthier way. Thank you so much for your comment. I will let you know about the crystal.

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 4 years ago from USA

      Meditation really does help. I meditate and can vouch for it. I will have to try the video, which looks pretty authentic. Upward vote from me !

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Thanks! You are most welcome. Enjoy.

    • catmalone profile image

      catmalone 4 years ago

      Another great hub! Thanks for the inspiring information.

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      @Recently Awakened, meditation has changed my life as well. It certainly helps curb the automatic unconscious reactions many of us tend to have. Over time the automatic becomes a conscious mindful response that grows stronger and hopefully makes the world a better places. Yes, get back to the alternative breathing, I do that almost every session as it helps focus the mind. Thanks for the vote! Peace!

    • Recently Awakened profile image

      Recently Awakened 5 years ago

      Meditation has greatly changed my life. It becomes easier to accept experiences, instead of the usual automatic unconscious resistance. Also, I find that the alternate nasal breathing technique helps to clear your mind. I haven't done it in a while so I think I will get back into it. Thanks for this hub. Voting up!

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      You are most welcome! I too am grateful for you stopping by. I hope you will benefit from the information. Take care!

    • DAWNEMARS profile image

      DAWNEMARS 5 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

      I enjoyed reading this hub. A positive message is well presented here. Voted: up. beautiful, useful and awesome. Thanks for a great read.

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I know why you are at ease! Your happiness is spreading out into the world and returning to you. I believe in energy and that really is all that exists; it takes different shapes and forms, but when you are of positive energy like joy/happiness, you will attract positive loving experiences. Peace right back at ya Richawriter!

    • Richawriter profile image

      Richard J ONeill 5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Very interesting and certainly something I need to start up again as I have recently stopped.

      However, I seem to be far more at ease in general than ever before so perhaps that is why I have stopped.

      Still might give it another shot though after reading this. The rooftop of the condo where I live is seldom used and I have it all to myself. A prime location for meditation. It's nice sitting up there with the wind blowing through my hair and peace in my heart.

      Peace, Yoginijoy!

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Dear Angela, Meditating does take some getting used to. Be compassionate with yourself as you do a few minutes at a time and work up to doing more. I hope you're right and this information helps you to begin a meditative practice bit by bit. Thanks for commenting!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      I have been trying to mediate but, your basics will make it easier!

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Hi Vinaya, I am happy to hear that you learned to meditate at such an early age. I feel it should be taught to everyone, we would be so much lighter, metaphorically speaking. Thanks so much for commenting. Take care.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      I learned meditation early in my life. Though meditation is not my regular routine, I have been meditation for more than 15 years.

      Thanks for this wonderful hub on the importance of meditation.

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Thanks for stopping by Mark. Yes, there is much to be learned. There's no going back once you've started down this path too because it sets a person free. Take care!

    • profile image

      markbennis 5 years ago

      Great hub and a fascinating subject too, there is so much to learn from the deeper states of mind, meditation. I find it can open up a whole new world and changes your perspective of life from within, voted up!

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      I know what you mean about the music activating your brain. It does happen to me sometimes too. I find something like Gregorian Chanting to be a type of music that works for meditating. I hope you and your sister will try it. It is so beneficial in so many ways.

    • profile image

      klarawieck 5 years ago

      This is very well explained, and it makes me want to try it. I can never use music for meditation, because I'm a musician, so I start thinking about the harmonic changes, the key, the time signature and all of that... doesn't work for me. But I shall try it without the music! I'm emailing this to my sister. She's going to love this exercise.

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Gaurav, I am glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for stopping by and commenting. Meditation can be very helpful, especially over the long term. Keeps stress down and what the Buddhists call "monkey mind" from jumping all over the place. I hope you'll try it and let me know how it goes.

    • gouraff profile image

      gouraff 5 years ago from Kathmandu

      Hello Yogi,

      Yoga and Meditation, these are the things I have never tried before. You hub has given me an idea about how to start it. Thanks a lot. Very useful hub buddy! keep up your good work. ;)

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Rosika, Thanks for the comment. I appreciate it. Yes, it is hard to stick with it, especially in the beginning. The mental, psychological and physical benefits are well worth it. Take care.

    • rosika profile image

      rosika 5 years ago

      Very nice hub....i started meditation few months ago, just basics, but i don't know why i stopped.....Lack of motivation or lack of time, all excuses hehe!..Your basics are telling me to start again ...Thanks for sharing...useful hub!

    • yoginijoy profile image
      Author

      yoginijoy 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic, USA

      Thank you for your vote! Meditating isn't really hard, like exercise, it's more about the consistency. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Never tried meditation but now that you've shown the basics, it doesn't seem that difficult. Voting this Up and Useful.