We all want to meditate, but we don’t know how to do it. What is meditation? How does a beginner approach it? And what are the benefits of meditation? Let’s find out here.
What is Meditation?
To meditate is just `to be’ or to go within, slow down your inner chatter, and our breathing process . It is about being or living in the present which can be a tough proposition for many of us. There are many different techniques and methods to practice meditation.
To meditate, you only need to be aware of your breath. When you breathe with awareness, you are meditating. It is as simple as that- and that’s why you can meditate anywhere, at any time.
Meditation won’t be effective if you pick up a fixed time. Fix a time and then stick to it.
As you begin to meditate, you will start to feel calm and serene. This is simply because our breathing slows down, body and mind get relaxed and we feel immense joy!
Here are a few pointers for you to start
- On your first day just start with sitting idle at one place for a few minutes. It might sound simple yet it is difficult.
- You don’t really have to keep a track of time. All you have to do is just SIT at one place quietly. That’s it. I know it is boring and seems so difficult.
- Don’t control your thoughts. Let them keep coming and going. Don’t force anything.
- Try to concentrate on your breathing and just observe the things around you. Notice the colors and patterns. Let your eyes absorb anything and everything around you.
- Now slowly close your eyes. Just breath in and breath out. While you take a deep breath, imagine you are filling your lungs with fresh air then expelling all the stale air as you exhale.
- Feel your belly moving up and down with every breath. Feel your chest move up and down with every breath. Keep noticing the pattern of your breath and experience the rhythm. Notice how beautifully your body parts move in sync.
- Let your thoughts pass by. There is no pressure. There is no right or wrong.
- Listen to the sounds around you. Chirping of birds, sound of vehicles, rustling of leaves in the tree, anything and everything.
- Bring your awareness to your entire body. No need to change anything. Just feel and relax. Stay still for couple of minutes. Forget about the time.
- At this stage, you can chant Aum/Om (ॐ). I would suggest not to keep a count. Because we have to concentrate on breathing and not the count. Recite ‘Aum’ as many times as you want. Meanwhile, feel the vibrations in your entire body.
- When you are done, slowly start moving your body parts: Fingers, hands and feet.
- And then open your eyes.
This is the end of exercise. There is no any particular sequence. You can change it as you want. The whole purpose is to relax your body and mind.
Some people love to keep some light instrumental music in the background to create an aura.
How to meditate ?
Focus on any internal or external object. It is called trataka.
- Try to focus on your breathing pattern. When you inhale and exhale make the sound of Aum (Om).
- Focus on the tip of your nose or at the centre of your eyebrows (on the v shape bridge).
- You can also do candle gazing. Light up a candle, fix it in front of you at a distance of 1- 2 feet in level with your third eye.
- Focus on the burning tip of candle and stare it without blinking your eyes.
- Tears will run out of your eyes.
- You can do it for 1–2 minutes daily.
Benefits you see in yourself when you meditate regularly :
- You will be focused onto to anything you do throughout the day i.e. Increased concentration.
- Your mind will be as fresh as in the morning at the end of the day.
- You will have full control over your emotions whether its anxiety, anger, sadness, fear etc.
- There will be a boost in your confidence.
- You will start enjoying your lone time. You will start spending more time with yourself doing things that interest you or improve you as a person like writing , reading books, engaging in your hobbies etc. This does not mean it makes you an introvert, it’s just that you are slowly finding yourself more interesting than others. Meditation really changes your perspective towards life.
Meditation has brought many changes in my life. It has become a integral part of my life unknowingly. It helped me form a connection with myself. It aided in starting my journey inwards, where all my emotions depends on only me not on anyone else. I sincerely advice everyone to start meditating and see these changes happening to you yourself.
Meditating the Yoga Way
For many who find it hard to mediate, Yoga can be a best method to focus on our breath. According to sage Patanajali, the yoga stalwart, first one has be sthira ie. steady, thus one position helps. The second mandate is sukham, to be ‘comfortable’, stress-free, and for that if the asana/ position is becoming painful, you may shift. But try not to needlessly shuffle between postures. Try as far as possible to elongate the sitting in on position, of course without punishing yourself, which will defeat the whole purpose by distracting you from the mantra chanting.
If we start bearing the strain, the body learns to be comfortable in it in time. That is why all asanas are difficult and painful in longer sittings in the beginning, but with practice, it eases and there is no pain. But then it’s something you need to master on your own.
Another golden rule is no matter which position/ asana you are in, make sure you are comfortable, whole body is at rest and relaxed and there’s no stress in any part —this itself ensures longer sitting in the same asana. Usually we cannot sit longer because we sit defectively, and not comforting stress corners right at the outset. So if there’s pain or stress in the beginning of sitting and we just rough it out without easing it with readjustment, that pain/ stress slowly increases and dislodges us from the position.