How do I meditate? That’s a tough question. Let’s start by talking about what meditation actually is:
Meditation is a mindfulness practice that has been around for millennia. Mindfulness means becoming more fully aware of the present moment without attachment or expectation.
Meditation is the spirit of being “in the now”. There is no religious or spiritual component to mindfulness or meditation. ANYONE with any belief system or from any religious background can enjoy the benefits of meditation.
Meditation is like giving your brain a break, a cleanse or a rest. Meditation effects our bodies in the exact opposite way that stress does. It helps our minds and bodies heal and repair as well as shields us from the damage of new stressors. With sustained practice, meditation can usher the practitioner into expanded realms of consciousness. There are no potential negative side effects. No equipment is needed. Like any skill, Meditation takes time and sustained practice to master.
The benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven. It’s effects are far reaching and cumulative over time. The longer you maintain a committed meditation practice, the more benefits you will realize.
IMMEDIATE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION:
LONGTERM BENEFITS OF DAILY MEDITATION:
There are many different types of meditation. Different styles will resonate with different people. All meditation involves being fully present and quieting the mind away from other distractions. Another important part of meditation is posture. It is crucial to be upright (laying down is okay too in some instances) with the spine erect. This allows for the energy to flow freely up and down our central energetic axis from root to crown and back again.
FINDING A COMFORTABLE SEAT: If a practitioner is going to engage in a seated meditation, the most important aspect is to be comfortable in that seated position. To align oneself properly in meditation, insure that: 1. The 2 sitting bones are rooted firmly into the ground (or chair) 2. The knees are below the hips (sometimes props are needed to aid with this) 3. The spine is upright and stacked (ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips)
STEADY BREATH: Finding a calm and steady stream of breath is another important part of meditation. Start by slowing down and deepening the breath. Then let the inhales and exhales become the same length. Once that happens, allow yourself to breathe normally without effort or thought.
RELEASING THE MIND: Of course distraction happens. This is normal! Meditation does not mean thoughts do not happen. It also doesn’t mean we do not notice sounds or bugs or things around us. Meditation is a practice of non-attachment and letting go. If thoughts come up, which they will, notice them, move them out of your awareness and then return to your meditation gently, gracefully, without judgement. If you find yourself distracted by something around you, notice it and gently return back to your meditation.
Remember: Just like physical postures, meditation takes practice. Just like Asana, meditation is often challenging the first few times. It reveals sides of ourselves that may be dark or scary. Just like in asana practice, we may notice areas of the body where we are tight, strained or week, in meditation we start to notice thought patterns or belief systems that we want to soften.