Let’s learn a few basic ways how to meditate!
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years to help quiet the mind, reduce stress, connect with your inner world and even help to make important decisions. Today meditation is more needed than ever because our world is more fast paced than ever before and while we are connected to each other with all sorts of technology we are more disconnected then ever from ourselves and our inner worlds. Living in the state of overstimulation, multi tasking and constant stress can without a doubt have negative impacts on your health and wellbeing. Learning how to meditate is one of the simplest ways to prevent stress related health issues, so let’s go over a few simple techniques that you can start with!
First let’s learn what is meditation and what are the benefits!
Meditation is a process of calming the mind and focusing our attention inwards. Instead of focusing on the outside world you focus on your thoughts, feelings, sensations, breathing patterns, sounds, etc., and connect with yourself on a deeper level. With practice you learn to enter a state of increased self awareness and establish a deeper bond with your emotions, thoughts, feeling and the subconscious.
How does it work?
Meditation alters the brain in many positive ways. The process of meditation activates the prefrontal cortex , known as the seat of higher thinking, and stimulates the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and brain opiates, which link to a feeling of happiness. The process of meditation physically is known to slow down the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, skin temperature and stress hormone levels. In turn, the mind calms down, and so do the nerves and your stress levels and anxiety reduce to a great extent.
How to meditate?
There are many various ways how to meditate and meditation techniques vary from beginner to advanced and can be silent, guided, sound making, with music, without, at home alone, in a group setting, at a retreat, and the list goes on. Let’s go over a few existing easy to follow meditation practices for beginners that you can do at home!
Simple Breathing Meditation
The purpose of the meditation is to empty the mind and the goal of this meditation is to focus on the breathing patterns and sensations instead of thinking. Sit in a quiet place and get comfortable. You may listen to soothing music if you like. Breathe in deeply and breathe out through your nose. Develop a breathing rhythm and focus on how the air is entering and exiting your body. Try and consciously chase away any thoughts that enter your mind. Focus on the sensations in your body and become aware of each of them. Continue for about 5-10 minutes. It takes effort and in the beginning you will find it difficult not to think, but with practice you will be able to do it. You will feel incredibly refreshed, relaxed and as if you just took a nap and recharged your life battery.
This is the kind of meditation that is usually practiced for a period of time, for at least a few days or for a week if you are at a special silent retreat place. If you would like to do this meditation properly you are best to do it at a Vipassana retreat. You spend a week in silence with no interaction with other people in order to develop strength, discipline and control. Vipassana means to see things as they really are and is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. If you want a taste of this sort of meditation, you can choose a day in advance when you do not have any commitments and spend it in solitude and silence. You cannot interact with others, read, write, watch TV or do anything around the house. You can go for walks or sit silently or lie down with eyes closed. That way you really get to access the depth of your thoughts and may discover something about you that you never knew before. Silent Meditation is extremely challenging however and should be left for advanced meditation practitioners.
Guided Meditation the best option for beginners who want to learn how to meditate, is done with a help of listening to a Meditation CD. A recorded voice will bring you to a journey of imagination and/or self awareness by first helping you to relax and stop the thinking process and then guiding you deeper into a world of trance and relaxation. This session can last anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour. You can do this type of meditation here if you would like. It works great and almost everybody can enter the meditative state easily and find relaxation and peace. This is a great way to release stress after a hard day of work.
Sound Healing Meditation
This meditative practice is centered around releasing congested energy within your chakra’s and healing you with sound. It requires a repetition of a primitive sound and the sound vibration helps to release this energy. When you keep repeating a word that does not make sense your mind focuses on it and no thoughts or meaning are attached to it, and so it makes it easy to enter an empty mind state. Calm your mind, relax and repeat the sound VAM slowly for a couple of minutes. This sound vibration can help release your creative energy. There are other sounds that you can repeat and if you look into Sound Healing Meditation you can find sounds that serve various healing functions.