Learn how to meditate step-by-step
The cool thing about meditation is that it can be found everywhere and anywhere if you know how to look for it. Although, meditation is a personal experience to each one of us, there are a few easy ways to practice your meditation skills. I would like to share with you one practice that I use. It combines two well-known techniques: breathing meditation and body-awareness meditation. But first things first, let’s look at some prerequisites for having a successful meditation.
Every moment in your life is perfect timing to start or rediscover meditation. The most important thing is to give it a try with zero expectations. Meditation is your moment for relaxation and to detach yourself from your constant train of thoughts. Nothing is supposed to happen beside you being present. You shouldn’t expect any particular sensation or feeling for your practice. Every meditation will reveal to be a different experience for you to continuously rediscover what meditation is really about.
I believe that any moment of the day is a great opportunity to meditate, especially when you have some spare time (for instance on public transports). It is advised to make meditation a regular habit, just like you wash your teeth every day. You should start once a day for 10 minutes and naturally increase it to what feels right for you. Ideally, meditation is best just after waking up and before going to bed. Serious traditional meditators will choose sunrise and sunset to practice. Some studies indicate brain activity between 4–5 am is at its optimum for meditation.
Location is key for a successful meditative experience, especially for beginners. Preferably chose a quiet and peaceful place where you won’t be disturbed by noise, people and the outside world for at least the time frame you gave for your practice. Make sure it isn’t too hot or too cold and preferably stay out of direct sunlight. In an ideal world, you should try to meditate always in the same location as it will help improve your practice and nurture this new habit.
Don’t under-estimate your posture as it will have a great impact the longer you meditate for. Feeling comfortable is a crucial aspect to allow you to properly relax and enter a meditative state. Feelings of pain will disturb you. There is all sort of postures which you can see below. The most important thing is to have always a straight back and your lower body members well grounded. Start with easier postures such as sitting on a chair or on your knees before aiming Burmese or Full Lotus.
Below find one way to practice meditation step-by-step:
Once you find the time and a good spot to meditate for 10 minutes make sure you find the right comfortable posture for you. Rest your hands on top of your knees joining your index finger with your thumb together to make what is called the Chin Mudra. This helps you seal your flow of energy during your meditation.
Relax your shoulders, close your eyes, straighten your back and take 3 deep breaths.
Your meditation should always start by setting a personal intention for the practice. This will help you strengthen your growth. Direct your intention to the energy of the Universe, Mother Nature or your own belief and repeat 3 times in your mind what you aim to improve in yourself.
Now that the practice has started, you are going to move your attention to your breath. This will bring your mind down to the present moment while you solely observe the air flowing in and out through your respiratory system. Start by taking one inhalation and mentally count until 3 as you feel your lungs fill with air. Retain your breath for 1 second before exhaling again while counting until 6. Repeat this sequence 10 times always stopping 1 second between each inhalation and exhalation. If your mind starts drifting away that’s totally normal, just get back to the exercise without judging yourself. Not attaching to your thoughts occurring is the crucial effort to reduce your brain activity.
Keep on just breathing naturally and simply observing how it feels having the air come in and out of your body without counting. Don’t think about time just focus on your breath as long as you feel necessary. With practice, you will be less and less disturbed by thoughts and the only thing that you will experience is your breathing. This should be deeply relaxing.
For the remaining time take your awareness to other parts of your body. Scan your body from your head crown to your toes. Remember to visualise each part of your body and observe how they feel with no attachment. Never stop for more than a few instants. Every time a new thought interrupts your body awareness, identify the thought and take your attention back to your body.
After 10 minutes, get back to your mind. Be grateful for the practice and acknowledge your intentions again.
Slowly open your eyes and get out of your position. You might feel refreshed, energised, relaxed or nothing at all. Remember that every practice will feel different.
Challenge yourself to 7 days of meditation
For beginners or irregular meditators, I suggest you an experiment to improve your well-being and mental health. In this self-development challenge, you should commit 10 minutes of your everyday routine for 7 days to follow the meditation framework I described above. Despite possible frustrations, promise to yourself that you won’t draw any conclusions until the end of your seventh meditation.
What could you possibly lose?!
If you are convinced after 7 days, aim 21 days. This might be the beginning of a new story for you!