The goal of meditation is to increase your focus and understand your own mind. You will eventually reach a higher level of awareness and inner peace. This practice is very old, but scientists have not finished discovering all its benefits. If you meditate regularly, it can help you control your emotions, improve your focus, reduce stress, and even make a better connection with the people around you. With more training, you will be able to feel inner tranquility in any situation. There are many different ways to meditate. If one technique doesn't seem to work for you, try a different one before giving up.
Part 1 of 3: getting comfortable to meditate
Step 1. Choose a quiet setting
It is important to practice meditation in a peaceful environment. This will allow you to focus only on what you are doing without getting distracted by outside elements. Find a place where no one will interrupt you during the session, whether it is 5 minutes or half an hour. The space doesn't have to be very big. As long as you are alone and quiet, a walk-in closet or even an outside bench may be fine.
- For people who have never meditated, it is especially important to avoid outside distractions. Turn off the television, your phone, and other noisy devices.
- If you play music, choose calm, repetitive melodies to avoid breaking your focus. You can also listen to white noise or soothing natural sound, such as the sound of flowing water.
- The space in which you meditate does not have to be completely silent. There is no need to put on earplugs. The sound of a lawnmower or a barking dog shouldn't stop you from meditating properly. On the contrary, it is important to be aware of these noises without letting them dominate your thoughts.
- Many people can practice meditation outdoors as long as they are not near a busy road or other very noisy element. You can meditate in peace at the foot of a tree or in a patch of lush green grass in your garden.
Step 2. Wear comfortable clothing
One of the main purposes of meditation is to calm your mind and to ignore the outside elements. If you are embarrassed by clothes that are too tight or stiff, it can be difficult. Wear loose, elastic items and remember to take off your shoes.
- If you are meditating in a cool place, wear a pullover or sweatshirt, or take a blanket or shawl to cover yourself. The feeling of cold should not dominate your thoughts.
- If you find yourself somewhere that you can't easily change into, make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. Just try to take off your shoes.
Step 3. Determine a duration
Decide how long you want to meditate. Many people who have been meditating for a long time recommend that you meditate for 20 min twice a day, but when you are just starting out you can start with a 5 min session per day.
- When you have determined a duration, try to stick to it. Don't give up right away just because you feel like the technique isn't working. It takes time and practice to be successful in meditating. For now, the most important thing is to persevere.
- Find a way to stick to your chosen length of time without distracting yourself. Set a soft alarm to alert you when the session is over, or use a special event, such as sunlight hitting a specific point on the wall, to know when the time is up.
According to Paul Chernyak, therapist: “For meditation, frequency is more important than duration. Daily sessions of just 5-10 minutes have been found to be much more beneficial than just one hour-long session per week."
Step 4. Stretch
Before you begin, do some stretches to avoid stiffening. Usually, you need to sit in one position for a while to meditate. It is therefore important to release any tension or stiffness before starting. Stretch gently for a few minutes to prepare your body and mind for meditation. It will also prevent you from being distracted by pain instead of relaxing.
- Stretch your neck, shoulders, and lower back, especially if you've spent time in front of a computer. If you want to assume the lotus position for meditation, it can also be helpful to stretch your legs with emphasis on the inner thighs.
- If you don't know how to do good stretches, consider learning a few techniques that you can try before you meditate. Many meditation specialists advise doing some gentle yoga stretches before meditating.
Step 5. Find a comfortable position
Sit so that you are comfortable. It is important that you are well installed (e) to meditate. Find the sitting position that you find most enjoyable. Traditionally, we meditate on a cushion on the floor, sitting in either the lotus position or cross-legged (or half-lotus), but if your legs, hips and lower back are lacking in flexibility, it can be unpleasant or painful.. Look for a posture that allows you to keep your balance and have a straight back.
- You can sit on a cushion, chair or meditation bench with your legs crossed or without them.
- When seated, your pelvis should be advanced enough that your spine is centered over the bones in your buttocks that you are supporting your weight on when you sit down. To position your pelvis properly, sit on the front edge of a thick cushion or place an object about 3 to 4 inches thick under the legs of your chair.
- You can also buy a meditation bench, the seat of which is usually tilted. If you are using a bench that is not tilted, wedge its rear feet on an object to tilt it forward about 1 to 2 cm.
advice: if you are not comfortable in a sitting position, it is not compulsory. You can stand, lie down, or even walk to meditate. The most important thing is to feel comfortable.
Step 6. Straighten your back
Once seated, straighten your spine. If you maintain good posture while meditating, you will be more comfortable. Once you've found a comfortable position, focus on the rest of your back. Start at the bottom and imagine that all of your vertebrae are balanced on top of each other to support your torso, neck, and head.
- It takes practice to find a posture that allows you to relax your torso and maintain your balance with just a little effort. Whenever you feel tension, release the tense part. If you can't do this without slouching, check your back alignment and try to rebalance your torso so that these areas relax.
- The most important thing is to be comfortable, relaxed and have a well balanced torso so that your spine can support your full weight from waist to head.
- Traditionally, you put your hands on your thighs in front of you, palms facing up and your right hand resting on your left, but you can just as easily put your hands on your knees or let them hang down by your side.
Step 7. Close your eyes
It is not essential, but it may help you focus and relax. Meditation can be done with your eyes open or closed. For beginners, it is advisable to start by closing your eyes to avoid visual distractions.
- When you get used to the process, you can try meditating with your eyes open. If you tend to doze off when you close your eyes while meditating, or see disturbing mental images (which happens to a small number of people), it may help to keep your eyes open.
- If you leave them open, try to blur your view by not looking at anything in particular.
- You must not go into a trance. The goal is to be relaxed, but aware.
Part 2 of 3: Using Simple Meditation Techniques
Step 1. Concentrate on your breathing
The simplest and most universal technique of meditation is that of breathing. It's a great place to start. Pick a point above your belly button and focus on it with your mind. Be aware of your abdomen moving up and down as you inhale and exhale. Don't make a conscious effort to change the way you breathe. Just breathe normally.
Try to focus on your breathing and nothing else. Don't actively think about it or evaluate it (for example, telling yourself that one breath was shorter than the last). Just try to be aware of your breathing and follow it
Step 2. Use mental pictures
Visualize things that will guide your breathing. Imagine a coin resting on the point above your belly button moving up and down with each inhale and exhale. You can also imagine a buoy in the sea which rises and falls on the waves to the rhythm of your breathing or a lotus flower on your belly which opens with each breath.
If your mind starts to wander, that's okay. You are just starting out and meditation takes practice. Just try to refocus your attention on your breathing and try not to think of anything else
Step 3. Repeat a mantra
Another popular form of meditation is the use of mantras. It involves repeating a mantra, that is, a sound, word or phrase, until you manage to silence your mind and enter a deep meditative state. The mantra can be whatever you want as long as it is easy to remember.
- Words like “one”, “peace”, “calm”, “stillness” and “silence” are good mantras to start with.
- If you want a more traditional mantra, you can pronounce the word “om,” which symbolizes all-pervading awareness. You can also try the words “sat, chit, ananda”, which means “existence, consciousness, bliss. "
- Repeat the mantra silently over and over again as you meditate. Try to hear the sound or phrase in your mind. If your thoughts are straying, don't worry. Simply take back control of your attention and focus again on the mantra you are repeating.
- When you have reached a higher and deeper level of consciousness, it may not be necessary to repeat the mantra anymore.
Did you know ?
In Sanskrit, the word "mantra" means "instrument of the spirit". It is the instrument that creates vibrations in the mind in a way that allows you to disconnect from your thoughts and enter a deeper being of consciousness.
Step 4. Look at an object
Try to focus on a simple visual element to relieve stress. Much like using a mantra, a visual object can help you maintain focus and achieve a deeper state of consciousness. It is a form of open-eye meditation that is effective for many people.
- The object can be whatever you want. The flame of a burning candle can be particularly pleasant. You can also look at a crystal, a flower or an image representing a divine being like Buddha.
- Position the item at eye level to avoid craning your neck and head to view it. Hold it until your peripheral vision starts to wear off and you can only see the object.
- Once you fully focus on the visual element, you should feel a deep serenity.
Step 5. Use visualization
This technique, which is also very successful, is suitable for those who prefer to direct their concentration inward. A common practice is to create a peaceful place in your mind and explore it until you reach a state of complete serenity. The location can be whatever you want, but it doesn't have to be entirely real. Imagine a unique place that belongs to you alone.
- For example, you can visualize a sandy beach in the sun, a flowery field, a peaceful forest or a cozy living room with a roaring fire. Whatever location you choose, make it your sanctuary.
- Once you have mentally entered your sanctuary, explore it. Don't make the effort to create the environment. Pretend he's just already there. Relax and let the details come to your mind naturally.
- Discover the visuals, sounds and smells in this space. Feel a cool breeze on your face or the heat of a fire warming your body. Enjoy the environment for as long as you want by letting it expand naturally and become more tangible. Before leaving it, take a few deep breaths and then open your eyes.
- The next time you do visualization meditation, you can come back to this place or create a new one.
Step 6. Relax your body
Focus on each of the different parts of your body one after the other and release them consciously. Start by sitting or lying down so that you are comfortable. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Gradually bring your attention to your body, focusing on one part at a time. Become aware of the sensations you experience as you progress.
- It may be easiest to start at the bottom and work your way up. For example, start by becoming aware of the sensations in your toes. Try to relax the tight muscles and release any tension in those parts. When your toes are completely relaxed, move to your feet and repeat the relaxation process.
- Work your way through your entire body from your feet to the top of your head. Spend as much time as you want on each part.
- Once you have finished relaxing each individual part, become aware of your body as a whole and enjoy the feeling of stillness and relaxation that you have managed to create. Concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes before ending the meditation.
- If you use this technique regularly, it can help you become more aware of the different sensations in your body and deal with them in a suitable way.
Step 7. Open your heart chakra
You will tap into feelings of love and compassion. The heart chakra is one of the 7 chakras or energy centers, located in the body. That of the heart is found in the center of the chest and is associated with love, compassion, peace and acceptance. The meditation that employs this chakra involves feeling these emotions and sending them out into the world. Start by finding a position that you are comfortable with and focus on how your breathing feels.
- Once you are more relaxed, visualize a green light emitted by your heart. Imagine that she fills you with a feeling of pure and radiant love.
- Visualize the light and love flowing through your entire body. Then let them radiate outward and emanate from you to enter the universe around you.
- Just sit still and feel the positive energy in and around you for a few moments. When you are finished, gradually regain awareness of your body and your breathing. Gently wiggle your fingers, toes, and limbs before opening your eyes.
Step 8. Try walking meditation
It will allow you to relax and exercise at the same time. This alternative form of meditation involves observing the movement of your feet and becoming aware of the connection between your body and the earth. If you are going to do long sitting meditation sessions, try breaking them up with a few walking meditation sessions.
- Choose a quiet location for this practice. There should be as few distractions as possible. If you can take off your shoes without risking injury, do so.
- Keep your head up and look straight ahead, bringing your hands together in front of your body. Take a slow, controlled step with the right foot. After the first step, stop for a moment before taking the next one. You should never move both feet at the same time.
- When you reach the end of your path, put your feet together and come to a complete stop. Pivot on your right foot to turn around. Resume walking in the opposite direction using the same slow, controlled movements.
- When doing meditative walking, try to focus on the movement of your feet and nothing else. This intense focus is similar to what you put on your breathing movements during meditative breathing. Try to clear your mind and become aware of the connection between your feet and the ground they are touching.
Part 3 of 3: Meditating on a daily basis
Step 1. Stick to a set schedule
Try to meditate at the same time each day. This will help you integrate meditation into your daily routine. If you meditate every day, you will reap more of the benefits of this practice.
- Early morning is a good time for meditation, as your mind has not yet had time to be overwhelmed by the stresses and worries of the day.
- It is not recommended to meditate immediately after eating, because if you digest a meal you may feel less comfortable and it may be more difficult to concentrate.
Step 2. Get help
Look for guided meditation sessions to improve your techniques. If you want more help, you can pay for lessons with an experienced meditation teacher. Search online for various types of classes.
- You can find various meditation classes offered by sports centers, spas, schools and establishments dedicated to meditation.
- There are also many meditation guides and video tutorials on YouTube.
- For a more immersive experience, look for a spiritual center where you can spend several days or weeks practicing intense meditation. The meditationfrance.com site has a calendar of meditation internships and stays throughout France and in a few other countries.
advice: You can also download different meditation apps to help you get started. Insight Timer is an app with free guides that lets you choose how long and how much help you want.
Step 3. Read spiritual books
Although not everyone likes it, some people find that reading spiritual books and sacred writings helps them understand the principles of meditation and encourages them to seek inner peace and spiritual knowledge.
- The Art of Buddhism: Practicing the Daily Wisdom of Dalaïlama, The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts, New Land by Eckhart Tolle and The Art of Meditation by Matthieu Ricard are good books to get you started.
- If you wish, you can choose elements of wisdom that speak to you in any spiritual or sacred text and reflect on them during your next meditation session.
Step 4. Work on your concentration every day
You don't necessarily have to limit meditation to your workouts. You can practice consciousness work on a daily basis. Just strive to be aware of what is going on in and around you at all times of the day.
- For example, when you are stressed, take a few seconds to focus only on your breathing and clear your mind of any negative thoughts or emotions.
- You can also do this work on you when you eat. Be aware of food and all the sensations you experience while eating.
- Whatever actions you take in your daily life (whether using a computer or sweeping the broom), try to become more aware of your body movements and how you feel in the present moment. It will help you live mindfully.
Step 5. Ground yourself in the present
Do exercises to be fully aware of this moment at all times. You just need to focus directly on something in the environment around you or on a specific sensation in your body.
- For example, you can focus on the blue color of a pen or a folder on a table, or you can become more aware of the feel of your feet on the floor or your hands on the armrests of a seat. Use this practice when you feel like you are getting distracted, your mind is wandering, or when you are under stress.
- You can also try to be aware of several sensations at the same time. For example, pick up a keychain and focus on the sound of keys banging, the feel they make in your hand, and even their metallic smell.
Step 6. Live a healthy lifestyle
Meditation can help you improve your overall health and well-being, but it works best when paired with a healthy lifestyle. Try to eat a healthy diet, get physical exercise and get enough sleep.
Avoid watching too much television, drinking alcohol or smoking before meditating, as these activities are unhealthy and can put the mind to sleep, which will prevent you from achieving the level of concentration necessary for good meditation
Step 7. Think of meditation as a journey
It is not a goal that you can achieve once and for all, like a raise at work. If you think of meditation as a tool that will allow you to achieve a goal (even if that goal is spiritual awakening), it is as if you think that the goal of a walk on a beautiful day is to simply do 2 km of walking. Concentrate on the process itself so that you can experience meditation in its entirety. Do not incorporate the desires and attachments that distract you on a daily basis into your meditative practices.
In the beginning, don't attach too much importance to the quality of the meditation. As long as you are more calm, happy, and at ease at the end of the session, you have been successful in meditating
- Don't expect the results to be instantaneous. The goal of meditation is not to make you a Zen master overnight. It must be practiced for itself without the outcome having any importance.
- You don't need to employ complex techniques. Breathe in and out, letting your worries evaporate. Just try to relax.
- If you have trouble meditating for your chosen length of time, try shortening it for a few sessions. Almost anyone can meditate for 1 to 2 minutes without having a distracting thought. Once you have learned to calm your mind, you can gradually increase the length of the sessions until you are able to meditate for the desired length of time.
- When you are just starting out, it is very difficult to concentrate. When you start practicing meditation regularly, you will get used to it. Take your time and be patient with yourself.
- Do what works best for you. A meditation technique that is ideal for one person may not be suitable for someone else. Try different methods to find the ones you like best.
- It is up to you what to do once you have successfully silenced your mind. Some people take the opportunity to introduce an intention or a desire into their subconscious. Others prefer to rest in the rare silence that meditation offers them. For religious people, meditation is often used to draw closer to their god (s) and to receive visions.
If you have back problems, consult your doctor to determine which meditation postures you can adopt without risking injury
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