Meditation is an exercise of mind which has manifold benefits for human mind and body. Our mind is a storehouse of thoughts as it is continuously thinking. But are all the thoughts that enter our mind positive? Do they lead to something constructive? Meditation gives us the power over our mind that helps us to limit the amount of thoughts that enter our mind and bring positive outcomes. It helps to increase our ability to focus, control emotions, compassion and improve our immune system. It also helps to reduce depression, stress, anxiety, pain and feeling of loneliness.
Types of meditation
There are a great many types of meditation that one can practice, listed below are a select few that beginners can start with.
• Mindfulness Meditation: This is great to reduce stress and anxiety. This involves introspection of thoughts and feelings that one experiences in the moment without any judgment or interpretation. Mindfulness meditation focuses on breathing, allowing all negativity to be breathed out of the system.
• Spiritual Meditation: This involves retrospection along with introspection that helps one realize true depths of who one really is. This helps one to let go of what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. It allows one to experience love and joy, boost confidence and self worth.
• Focused Meditation: This enables focusing on one thing like sound, smell, visual item or your own breathing while meditating. This allows your mind to stay focused in present and not wander. This meditation is very helpful for those who deal with stress and anxiety.
• Mantra Meditation: This includes recitation of a word or a phrase during meditation. The practitioner focuses on the vibrations that are produced by chanting of the syllables. Any Mantra that makes one happy, positive or joyous can be chosen for meditation, say, deity mantras, healing mantras or chakra mantras.
• Progressive Meditation: This focuses on a particular muscle/ group of muscles. While performing this meditation, gently tighten and relax the tensed muscle allowing it to release tension. Progressive Meditation is very effective to relieve stress, cure headaches, chest, abdomen and back pain.
Techniques to follow
In the beginning, meditation can be challenging as it demands one to put all the thoughts of the mind in the backseat and be in a zone of complete thoughtlessness. Meditation is learned with time and perseverance. The right technique can be mastered by following these instructions:
1. As for a beginner it is advisable to sit and meditate than by lying down to avoid drowsiness. Our brain can easily confuse meditation (state of doing nothing) with relaxation. So, to meditate, one can sit on the floor, cushion, bench or a chair. Sit with your back straight, relaxed neck with hands on your knees or lap. You don’t need to sit in the assumed posture of saints and monks. Just focus on sitting with the correct posture in a relaxed manner.
2. It is also important to focus on what to wear during meditation. You can wear anything that is comfortable and relaxing over clothes that can distract you from meditating like, a suit, tie, tight clothes, tight shoes or heels.
3. Now, when you sit with yourself, try to relax and scan your body from head to toe. Focus on every part, every muscle of your body checking which part feels tensed, uncomfortable or heavy. Incorporating body scan as a part of your meditation regime will help build a relationship between mind and body allowing better awareness of thoughts and feelings. It’s okay to get distracted while doing so, just try to bring back your focus on the last body part you observed.
4. Once you are done with the body scan, try to build focus on something, say, an object, mantra, sound or your breathing. Having a focus point to return from distracting thoughts is very important for beginners. It provides the grip to hold on to. Initially keeping focus on you breathing will help you better. Try to focus your attention on every breath and the movement of the body with every inhalation and exhalation.
5. Now, to come out of meditation, gradually open your eyes and sit in a relaxed way for a few minutes to give your body and mind the time to change state from meditation. This will give your brain the time to adjust back to the real world. Also, avoid putting any loud alarms or timers for meditation as the sound of it can either disturb your meditation or shake the calm and relax you just experienced.
Once you build a habit of meditation, it is very important to stay mindful throughout the day. Focus on the last thoughts of your meditation, plan your day accordingly and then carry forward those thoughts throughout your day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1. When and where to Meditate? There is no particular time to meditate. Meditation involves spending time with yourself so any time is a good time to meditate. However, before sunrise or before bedtime is considered as prime time for meditation. Choose any calm and relaxing area or corner of the house. Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing to meditate.
2. How to focus? For first time mediators, your mind can be resentful, it can wander at places, be restless and easily distracted. But that’s okay. Focus comes with time and effort. Initially, just be aware of the thoughts that are flowing in your mind, and when you are lost in the thoughts try to bring back the focus to one place say, your breathing, mantra or any object. this can happen multiple times but don’t panic or lose interest instead when you realise you are again getting lost in your thoughts, iterate back to your focus point. This technique will create awareness in the mind, keeping it conscious about the focus (say your breathing). Once you learn to tame your mind to focus, you will slowly ace the practice of meditation.
3. How long to meditate? Initially, 5 times a week for 10-15 minutes a day can help build up your meditation regime. Meditation takes discipline and perseverance, so it is important to build a routine that may involve meditating at the same place and same time every day.