Ready, Set, Meditate! A Beginner’s GuideMarch 24th, 2015
Take a minute (or 10 or 30) to meditate! This healthy reboot for your body and mind is definitely worth a little time in your day.
While meditation and mindfulness are ancient practices, this newfound interest may leave some with more questions than answers. Why do people meditate? How do you find the time? When should you do it? How do you get started?
People meditate for many reasons, but giving your brain a break is definitely a winning one. Taking time away from the activity of the day and focusing on your breath is natural reset for your consciousness. Your thoughts are still humming while you watch TV, read, or even sleep. Meditation, however, is a break that can rejuvenate you on a much deeper level.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of time you should meditate or when you should fit it in your schedule. Many people love starting their day with a 5 to 15 minute meditation in bed or in a sunny spot. They set their intentions and open themselves up to the possibilities of the day ahead. Some folks need a mid-day boost and may sit in silence or follow a guided meditation app on their phone. This can realign your focus on the job or help you transition your energy from work demands to home activities. Finally, loads of busy meditators carve out time to sit quietly or with soothing music before they go to bed for the night. This practice can clear the way for restful sleep at any age.
So let’s get started! Decide the time of day you’d like to try and the length of time that you think will allow you to be successful. Maybe you’ll try a guided meditation app for 10 minutes in the middle of the day. If you love it, try again the next day. Making meditation a regular practice provides the greatest health and wellness rewards.
Next item: Comfort. You’ll want to wear something comfortable or modify what you have on if it’s going to distract you. If you’re in a private spot, slip out of your shoes, unbutton your pants, and loosen your tie. You will want to focus on your breath or a mantra (an inspiring saying), not your tight wardrobe, during your meditation. Then you’ll need to decide how to sit. Do you prefer to sit upright in your chair or on something soft on the floor? Consider getting warm with a blanket draped around you. Regardless of your outfit or your seating, you must be comfortable. If not, the entire time your supposed to be getting out of your head, you’ll be thinking about your discomfort.
Finally, it’s time to just breathe. A unifying theme in meditation is breathing. No large gulps of air needed. Instead, focus on your natural inhalation and exhalation as you sit in silence. Music or a soft-spoken guide may be in the background, but your breath should be the focus of your awareness. As you sit, allow thoughts to enter and exit your mind. Do not get frustrated when you find yourself thinking about a problem or issue you’re having. This happens to everyone. Instead of feeling anything negative, stay neutral and slide the thought away; you’ll deal with it after you’re finished with your meditation.
Thoughts will continue to visit you. Let them in and show them out in one fluid motion. Distracting thoughts will lessen over time, especially if you focus more on your breath than you do on the thoughts themselves.
Be gentle with yourself after meditation. Move slowly as you come back into your body after your mental retreat. Savor your new level of awareness and try to maintain a sense of mindfulness for as long as possible. You may not notice a big difference after your first meditation, but over time you will able to summon the sense of calm you achieve in meditation throughout your day. When you’re ready, you may even invite others to join you in your practice.