Although it can be a challenging prospect for anyone to sit for any length of time, much less quietly and with one’s attention focused inward, hopefully by now you are beginning to understand the profound effect that meditation can have on your overall health and well being.
Not only can a meditation practice help you with physical issues like high blood pressure and anxiety, but also emotional ones like depression. Most importantly, meditation holds within it the awesome opportunity to cultivate a fulfilling, compassionate, and loving relationship with oneself.
In you are a beginning meditator, checkout these 5 simple and easy steps to get you started:
1. Plan on sitting for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Remember that it’s important to find both a time and a place where you can practice meditation uninterrupted. Consider letting others know what you are doing so that you won’t be disturbed or distracted.
2. Find either a comfortable chair or a space on the floor (maybe next to a wall or a couch) that will allow you to keep your spine straight. Consider sitting on a meditation pillow to help with rear-end-fatigue.
3. Sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees. Close your eyes. Take a few moments to appreciate your commitment. It’s a big deal. Begin the practice by inhaling deeply and naturally through the nose. At the top of the inhalation, notice the space before the exhalation (attention can also be placed on the rise and fall of the abdomen area). As you did on the inhalation, exhale through the nostrils. Notice the space at the end of the exhalation before the inhalation (or your belly). Continue for 15 to 20 minutes (remember to set a timer).
4. Notice any thoughts that may arise. If they do, gently acknowledge them and refocus your attention back to the breath (and the abdomen and space at the top and bottom of the breath cycle). Important to remember is that meditation isn’t necessarily about figuring out your problems. Rather, it’s about training your mind and body, to compassionately let go of the attachment to them.
5. Meditation benefits come with practice. Make a commitment to yourself (and tell a friend) to meditate everyday for a week. Keep a journal handy to track your progress.