If you want in learn how to meditate you’ll need some tips on where to start. Meditation is a great skill that helps us learn and practice mindfulness. People who meditate regularly tend to have a subtle advantage over those who don’t. Maybe it’s because they learn how to master their mind and emotions though gentle self-discipline and regular practice.
These benefits of come over time when you’ve learned to meditate, but in the beginning where do you start? Here are 9 key points that are helpful for most beginners meditation practices.
1. Decide how long you are going to meditate for
It’s useful to set a timer if you have one. If you don’t decide on a set time your mind will keep being distracted into watching the clock. It’s not useful to be negotiating with yourself, constantly asking “Have I had enough yet?” If you’re doing this you’re making it harder to focus on your meditation practice.
If you’re a beginner start with a few minutes and work up to longer sessions as your stamina increases. Longer isn’t better, Regular, focussed practice is better.
2. Find a comfortable position to meditate in
It’s a good idea to find a chair that you can sit comfortably in. Put your chair in a place where you can stay alert and comfortably seated. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor, and that your hands are placed on your lap.
If you don’t like the idea of a chair you could lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You could even sit upright cross-legged (if you’ve got flexible, strong hips, knees and back) with suitable cushioning.
3. Anchor yourself
Close your eyes and ‘anchor’ yourself in the present moment. This means be here now, fully present, just for this moment. Notice what’s coming in through your senses. Find the dynamic balance between being relaxed and alert.
4. Connect with your breath
Your breath is your constant companion so use it as a tool to help you focus. Breathe naturally and place your attention on your breath. See if you can notice where you’re breathing from. Is it from your nose or your mouth? Are you breathing into your chest or your belly or both? Become fascinated with the tiny details and sensations of breathing.
5. Breathe slowly and deeply
Breathe in and breathe out. Experienced meditators tend to do this slowly and deeply. Just notice the rate as you are as a beginner. Try to observe how long it takes for you to breathe in and breathe out. Do you inhale longer or does it take more time for you to exhale? Continue to focus on your breath. As you inhale, breathe in what you need. As you exhale, let go of what you don’t need.
6. Feel the energy as you breathe
Feel the energy flowing into you as you breathe in. Let the energy flow into your chest and heart area, opening and softening it as you continue to focus on your breath. There are many sensations you can enjoy noticing as you mindfully inhale and exhale.
7. Think of your heart and your breath as your two closest friends
Realise that your heart and your breath have always been with you and will stay with you until the end, like your two closest friends. So enjoy spending time with them as you meditate. Focus on your breath and put your heart in the center of your awareness.
8. Feel how comforting it is to breathe
As you breathe, imagine that your whole body is breathing as well. As your breath flows into and out of your body, notice how comforting it feels to simply breathe. (If you’re not convinced about this one, try holding your breath for a while, then you’ll appreciate the comforting relief of your breath)
9. Develop a sense of gratitude
If you want to do a thought exercise, focus your mind on some things that you’re grateful for. Think about the many wonderful people that surround you, the many things that you have, and all your achievements as well. These thoughts will help you relax, reduce your stress, and make you feel appreciative and more secure in the world.
Meditation is a skill that’s well worth the effort to learn. Keep in mind that there are experienced teachers who can guide you and help you learn more easily. Soon it will become second nature to put a smile on your face, relax, connect with your inner calm and take a meditation mini-break from a hectic life.