One of the questions I get asked a lot is how to practice meditation.
Getting started with meditation is actually one of the easiest things you can ever do. What tends to get in the way though are some preconceived ideas on what meditation is and how it works. Then, when you try it for the first time and it doesn’t live up to your expectations it can get filed away in the too hard basket.
What Exactly Is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on something that is in the present moment. This is generally something simple like your breath, an object, a body movement, or even a word or phrase. In our everyday lives we are constantly being bombarded by demands on our time, energy, thoughts and focus.
This causes our nervous system to constantly be working overtime which can lead to stress, worry, lack of focus, fatigue, relationships problems, anxiety and more. Meditation helps to soothe the nervous system and in return leads to peace of mind, better focus, overcome stress, and enjoy better relationships and well-being.
5 Steps To Getting Started With Meditation
If you’re keen to get started with meditation and want to know the simplest way to approach it, then follow these guidelines.
1. Find Somewhere Quiet
This may sound a bit obvious but nevertheless it’s still important to mention. I have a small area setup in my bedroom just for meditation. You can use a chair, or even just a cushion or two on the floor to sit on. The main thing is that you sit comfortably and with your back as straight as possible. I use cushions on the floor so that my legs are lower than the base of my spine. This makes it easy to keep my back straight. If you’re unable to be comfortable in a seated position, then it’s okay to lie down.
2. Start With Your Breath
Take a few slow, deep breaths to get started to help clear your mind and relax your body. I always recommend meditating first thing in the morning because the mind is already quite calm and the body relaxed after having a good night’s sleep. This makes it easier to sit still for 5, 10 or even 20 minutes while you meditate. If need be, get up a few minutes earlier to allow for your practice.
3. Choose Your Focus
This is where you get to choose what you are going to focus on for the duration of your meditation. The simplest way to start is to focus on your breath as it comes in through your nostrils and then goes out again as you breathe out. You can also add numbers to each breath starting at 1 and going up to 10. Each breath in and out is one breath. If you lose your place, that’s okay, just start back at 1 again.
4. Relax When Done
Allow yourself a minute or two (or even more if you like) to lie down and relax at the end of your meditation. This is a great time to let the calming energy from your meditation move into every muscle and cell of your body. Don’t skip this part if you can help it as it is probably one of the most important parts of getting the most benefit from your meditation.
5. Rinse And Repeat
Follow steps 1 through 4 each morning for the next 30 days to give yourself the best chance at finding out just how powerful meditation can be in your everyday life. Play around with how long you meditate but try not to go any lower than 5 minutes at a time. 20 minutes is suggested as the optimal, but you can always work you ways towards that goal if meditation is a good fit for you.
Another great idea is to start up a meditation journal where you write down anything you can recall about your meditation experience. You’d be surprised at how much your meditations change over time, and how quiet your mind becomes and your creativity starts to explode. These are just some of the gifts that meditating on a consistent basis can bring.
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