Meditation is a process of focusing the mind. A daily practice sharpens focus, strengthens concentration, and brings about a peaceful state-of-mind, which carries over into the body.
Many people think that they cannot meditate because it involves hours of sitting. That kind of meditation is reserved for individuals that renounced the material world such as monks, ascetics, and some devoted lay people.
Starting with a few minutes of meditation is best for beginners rather than jumping into anything long. Experiment with the different techniques below to discover a desired practice then build up to fifteen or thirty minutes.
- Anapana — focusing on the coolness of the in-breath and warmth of the out-breath as it passes through the nostrils.
- Vipassana — scanning the body from head to toe and back to head, becoming aware of thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations that arise. Free 10-day courses are available for an intensive experience.
- Japa — using a 108-bead mala to chant a mantra or affirmation for each bead.
- Yoga Nidra — guided meditation, done lying down, that induces deep relaxation. A yoga nidra meditation can run between 20 minutes to an hour. I offer short meditations here.
- Walking — taking a step that is in synch with the natural in and out breath. This can be in the home, yard, around the neighborhood, or in a park.
Mindfulness is an effect of meditation, where a sharper focus in meditation carries over into daily life. There is more awareness of the breath, thoughts, or bodily sensations during rest, activities, and around other people. The need for multi tasking may lessen or disappear.
Science has finally caught up to the practice of meditation. Studies have shown that meditation improves brain functioning, reduces stress and anxiety, helps with depression, and lowers blood pressure. Meditation practitioners become healthier and happier.
The benefits of meditation take affect when it’s a daily practice. Carving out a small amount of time, even five minutes, shifts a life from chaos to peace. Rather than waiting to meditate when life feels unbearable, start a practice to experience calm. It will soon shift to a healthy habit and improved lifestyle.