How To Meditate

Learning how to meditate is easy, free, and you can do it almost anywhere. Oddly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. However, the results of building up your meditation practice make it all worth it.

Mindfulness is the process of letting go of everything else that is cluttering up your thoughts and bringing your attention to the present moment.  It is a deep breath that calls your focus back to center.  At that moment you are retraining your mind to target feelings and the physical sensations of that very moment.

Meditation can happen anywhere, anytime, and you don't need a yoga mat or a bun. It doesn't take an hour, a trek to an insense-smelling studio, or even leaving your office. It isn't a religion, it isn't against your religion, it is simply learning how to think better in order to reduce stress and heal your body.

If you want to have all of those things, that's fine too! But your mindful meditation practice is YOUR practice and you need to be comfortable taking a few minutes to close your eyes, breathe, clear your head, and relax.  As you grow better at it, you can find that going into that state of meditation can be anywhere and as long as you need. However, in the beginning, it is suggested that you find a quiet place and build up your time.

How To Meditate

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The Setting:

When you first begin your meditation practice, you want to find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down without being disturbed for 20 minutes.

This can be a quiet room, an empty office, even your car.  But the idea is that it needs to be comfortable and free of constant distraction.

Later, as you become better at learning how to tune out distractions and noises, you can take your practice anywhere. The beach, a park, or even walking down a path can be a place of mindfulness and meditation.

Breathing:

Breathing is the core of your practice.  It both centers you, brings you better health, and it is your focal point.

So to begin your meditation, sit comfortably.  You can sit on the floor, on a chair, anywhere that you can be comfortable without slouching.  There are a lot of meditation positions that you can explore but let’s just start with sitting comfortably.

Breathing should come naturally, not too fast, and not too forced.  You want to take nice long breaths as you inhale through your nose and out with your mouth.  Gently allow more air into your lungs each time until you take 4-5 nice deep breaths.  Then you can return to your normal breathing.

As you breathe at your regular pace, take notice of what that breathing is like.

Is it shallow? Fast or slow?

When you are breathing deeply, your body starts to relax. Each breath is an opportunity to let go of stress and take in life.

How to Meditate

Settling Down:

Meditation is all about teaching the mind to let go of things that it wants to hold on to.  You don’t have to have an “empty mind” because you are just learning how to do this! As you just start out, you just need to think about breathing. You can adjust your practice later on. Right now the idea is just to learn how to meditate and find your space.

You can also focus on something in the room.  This helps you let go of feelings or thoughts and start to shut down things that have been weighing on you.  But this single focus is a little hard for beginners, so we suggest that you simply close your eyes and start your practice by just letting thoughts flow through like water through a filter.

When you allow your mind to observe thoughts, but not get involved with them or take them down the rabbit hole of inspection, you become more aware of how much you judge and hold on to thoughts that can be easily released.

For the first few weeks of your practice, just work on finding a calm moment and breathing.  That’s it!

The Basics:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes or find something to gaze at.
  • 4 deep slow breaths to get you started.
  • Relax your breathing.
  • Breathing and letting go, that’s pretty much the basics of meditation.

 

Meditation is like any other exercise.  The more you work at it, the better you will get. When you first learn how to to meditate go easy on yourself. Set the goal of a few minutes of quiet and move on from there.

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