Mindfulness is no longer considered a “soft skill,” but an essential part of overall health care among conscious people. Taking a few minutes to focus your mind each day can reduce stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and more. Meditation practice is getting more and more popular all around the world because without mindfulness it’s really hard to stay healthy and balanced in the modern world. If you want to start practicing meditation but don’t know how to start, this clear & easy guide is for you! To make it simple we will guide you through 6 easy steps to start a meditation practice.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s all about developing such skills as awareness and mindfulness, the ability to be present, and getting a healthy sense of perspective. During meditation practice, you don’t need to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.
When you learn mindfulness you gain the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever you’re doing at the moment.
The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits. Here are some of them:
- Reduces stress & anxiety;
- Promotes mental & emotional health;
- Increases focus & concentration;
- Enhances self-awareness;
- Can decrease blood pressure;
- Improves attention and clarity of thinking;
- Increases positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others;
- Improves the immune system;
- Increases our capacity for empathy & compassion;
- Can help fight addictions;
- Increases the energy level;
- Improves sleep;
- Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior;
- Improves emotional stability;
- Promotes clarity and peace of mind;
- Can diminish the perception of pain in the brain which may help treat chronic pain;
- Increases creativity;
- Develops intuition;
- Expands consciousness.
6 Steps to Start a Meditation Practice
Enough theory! Let’s dive into practice! Here are 6 easy steps to start a meditation practice.
#1: Take a sitting position
Make a commitment to sit still and watch what happens. Do not pick up the phone, ignore the doorbell, do not add another task to your to-do list. Just sit and observe the thoughts that arise and pass through your mind.
If you’re just starting your meditation practice you will probably be surprised at how difficult it can be just to sit still for 10 minutes. However, in the process, you may learn something important about the properties of your restless mind and the ever-changing nature of life.
#2: Listen to the sounds of life
Close your eyes and tune in to sounds – both external and internal. Most likely, at first, you will only hear the most obvious sounds (like a sound of a car passing by your house or sound of a barking dog), but over time you will discover new layers of sounds that you have not previously paid attention to. Observe what you hear, not clinging to it, but not resisting it. Note that the world seems more alive as your awareness of the present moment deepens.
#3: Practice mindfulness
Pay attention to the sensations of the present moment – feelings of warmth and coolness, hardness and softness, pressure, and lightness. What parts of your body touch the ground? How does the shape of the body change with each breath? How does your experience change over time? Developing awareness of the present moment will encourage a calmer and more attentive mind.
#4: Follow the breath
Focus your attention on the breath – on every breath you take in and out. Don’t force your breath in any way. Just observe it with your inner vision, the similar way as you would watch a tennis ball bounce from one side of the court to the other during the game. When you notice that the mind is wandering, just turn your focus back to your breath.
#5: Repeat the mantra
You don’t have to choose a complicated mantra in Sanskrit. Start with choosing just a positive word, phrase, prayer, or fragment of a poem and repeat it. Let its rhythm and meaning soothe you and bring you into a quiet, contemplative state of ease. When you notice that your mind is distracted by other thoughts, just redirect it back to the words of your mantra.
#6: Practice kindness
Direct your attention to someone who needs love, compassion, and healing right now. Mentally send this person love, happiness, and well-being.
The Bottom Line
For many people, meditation practice has become as essential as taking a shower or brushing teeth. Give it a chance – practice it daily, and very soon you will experience all the benefits this practice can give. Once you get into the habit and experience all of the mental clarity, emotional stability, physical relaxation that the meditation offers, not practicing meditation would seem unimaginable!