If you would like to start a meditation practice but not sure how to begin, here are some answers to get you on the path!
How to meditate right now?
Read this paragraph and practice right away. You need about five minutes of quiet time and space. Your posture should be upright and relaxed – you can sit on a chair. There is no need for any specific yoga posture. The key is comfortable, upright, and relaxed.
- Observe your breathing with no special technique for a few minutes. Feel where is inhale initiates from? What about exhale?
- Take a few inhales through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
- Inhale through your nose on the count of four, feel how your chest expands, and exhale on the count of four, very slightly contracting your belly by bringing your belly button closer to the spine (no forceful movements here).
- Repeat the previous step for 12 times.
- Return your breath to normal and observe, how do you feel right now?
Congratulations on your first meditation practice and well done!
Now, if you’d like to delve deeper, let’s explore some more, shall we?
1) What is meditation?
Meditation is not a part of any religion. The practice originated in India. There is some evidence in the wall arts in the Indian subcontinent from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. It is showing ancient people seated in meditative postures with half-closed eyes.
The written text was first seen in the Vedas (sacred texts of Hinduism – around 1500 BCE).
From my understanding, the practice of meditation comes from various ancient Indian texts, direct experience, and by studying with a teacher.
We can say that meditation is a practice for focusing the mind.
2) How often should I practice?
Ideally, you should have a daily practice. It helps to have some guidance in the beginning. Typically, a teacher would recommend a meditation practice. It would depend on how much time you have, your goals and aspirations.
Personally, my daily meditation practice is very short and sweet – anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. It evolved during the last 20 years. But, I am very proud to share with you that I’ve been very consistent!
And, no, you don’t need to sit cross-legged with empty mind atop of the Himalayas. The whole purpose of practicing meditation is to be more present with your life here and now.
So, the take-away here is: keep it simple and keep it consistent.
3) What are the benefits?
If you want to know if your meditation is working, listing to your inner dialog, and observe your relationships.
- Become friends with yourself; once you learn how to treat yourself well, it will automatically translate into your relationships with others, and the world at large.
- Learn how to manage stress. In our culture, we demonize stress. However, this is not what happened to us, but instead how we react to things. Pain is reaction multiply by resistance.
- Cultivate focus.
- Reduce brain chatter.
I attribute many changes in my life’s – from quitting booze and cigarettes to finding love, moving to my dream-place, and losing weight to the practice of meditation. Of course, my practice includes many other tools. Nonetheless, I believe that meditation practice is the biggest part of that journey.
4) How is yoga different from meditation?
Yoga and meditation are synonyms. In a typical session, we always start with some physical movement – all movement is linked with breath. It helps to prepare the body for the next step, which is focused breathing.
A teacher can help us to choose an object of meditation. It can be anything from celestial bodies (moon, sun, or stars), natural objects (mountains, lakes, or forest). If a student believes in some deity (we can meditate on them), or it could be ideas like feelings of ease and gratitude. Since we all unique, it helps to be guided by a skilled teacher at least to start with.
5) What to do when my mind is racing, and I can’t focus?
Our minds are keeping us alive! Without it, we would cease to exists. However, we use the time to quiet the chatter. Imagine trying to train a puppy to walk on a leash. You won’t yell at a puppy; you would gently bring it back to training. Same with a meditation practice. When thoughts are rising, gently bring it back to breathing.
My mind is hyper-busy and wanders at all times. I don’t give up. Supposedly, I am trying to focus on my breath. Instead, my chatter is knocking and asking me “what’s for breakfast?” I reply: “thank you, not right now.”
So, I hope this clears it out for you a tiny bit. But, please feel free to share your experience below in the comment field.