Meditation Techniques to Help You Get Started
Meditation is a powerful practice that can change your brain, improve your life, and enhance the quality of your life.
There is a misconception that you have to “do” meditation and “do it right.” We believe that meditation is about bringing our primary focus into being rather than doing; aim to be with our breath, be with our thoughts, be with our feelings, challenges and even pain.
Mindfulness practice focus on being present and aware of what you are feeling, doing, and sensing as it is happening. A seated meditation practice offers the opportunity for us to sit and be even though there are infinite things to do.
Here are a few of the benefits of meditation:
- Reduces stress by calming the nervous system
- Improves memory and learning
- Improves sleep quality
- Creates a feeling of peace, calm and centeredness
- Cultivates connection to Self/Source
- Enhances creativity and problem-solving ability
- Creates present moment awareness
- Changes your brain structure and function
There is a wide variety of techniques available that include seated meditation, walking meditation, mindfully eating and just about any activity you do can take on a meditative quality and awareness.
There are many different ways to meditate. Think of the following categories of meditation techniques as a jumping-off point to understand the practices and differences among some of the main options, rather than an exhaustive list.
This involves sitting in a comfortable position and using the breath as a point of focus. If you find yourself distracted by other thoughts or find your mind wandering, gently redirect your focus back toward your breaths.
With focused meditation, you focus on something with intention without engaging your thoughts on it. You can zero in on something visual, like a statue; something auditory, like a metronome or recording of ocean waves; something constant, like your own breathing; or a simple concept, like “unconditional compassion.”
Some people find it easier to do this than to focus on nothing, but the idea is the same—staying in the present moment, circumventing the constant stream of commentary from your conscious mind, and allowing yourself to slip into an altered state of consciousness.
Activity-oriented meditation combines meditation with activities you may already enjoy, or with new activities that help you focus on the present. With this type of meditation, you engage in a repetitive activity or one where you can get “in the zone” and experience “flow.” Again, this quiets the mind and allows your brain to shift.
Mindfulness can be a form of meditation that, like activity-oriented meditation, doesn’t really look like meditation. Mindfulness simply involves staying in the present moment rather than thinking about the future or the past. Again, this can be more difficult than it seems!
Focusing on sensations you feel in your body is one way to stay “in the now.” Focusing on emotions and where you feel them in your body—not examining why you feel them, but just experiencing them as sensations—is another.
Though meditation isn’t specific to any one religion, it can be a spiritual practice. You can meditate on a singular question until an answer comes, or meditate to clear your mind and accept whatever comes that day. Many people also practice kundalini meditation for mind and body connection.
Learn more about Meditation Benefits
Meditation is a technique of self-awareness leading to a peaceful mind and healthy body. Regular meditation is beneficial for people of all ages, i.e., kids, adults, and older people. It helps relieve anxiety and mental health problems, improve sleep, and develop personality and personal growth. It has both medical and spiritual benefits. Developing meditation skills takes time, patience, and persistence – but the benefits are significant.
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