MEDITATION METHODS FOR BEGINNERS PT.1
Meditation seems to be living a boom these days. It is becoming a popular way to lower stress and boost health in people of all ages and from all walks of life. And with the added bonus that meditation generally doesn't require anything outside of a quiet place where you can sit comfortably, it's accessible to all people, and it's free!
Meditation methods for beginners pt.1
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Its name comes from the Latin word "meditatum", which translates roughly to mean "to contemplate" or "to ponder."
THE GOAL OF MEDITATION IS QUITE SIMPLY TO HELP YOU
F O C U S Y O U R M I N D A N D Q U I E T Y O U R T H O U G H T S
As you become better at focusing and concentrating on the present moment, you begin to struggle because other feelings and thoughts will come up.
But instead of following them and getting carried away by them like we usually do, you will learn just to notice your thoughts and let go. In other words, the ultimate goal is to develop mental stability so that you can approach all situations with calm.
Whether you're a Buddhist monk, a New Age enthusiast, an overworked Wall Street analyst, a stressed-out parent, or a college student looking to find some internal peace and quiet, meditation is something that anyone can and should practice.
WHAT IS MEDITATION USED FOR?
There are tons of proven benefits to meditation. The list includes improved focus, better memory, reduced stress and anxiety, increased compassion, higher pain tolerance, etc.
However, one main benefit is not talked about as much: it can help you sleep better. When you meditate, your brainwaves slow down from their usual frenetic pace, making it easier to enter the all-important "deep sleep" state.
This might be especially helpful for people who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night and want an easy and natural solution.
M E D I T A T I O N P R A C T I C E S
There are many different types of meditation with varying levels of difficulty and dedication. Still, they all share one common goal: to help you focus on having regular, relaxed breathing and quiet your mind from the constant chatter.
Here are some of our favorite meditation techniques for beginners:
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION MEDITATIONS
1. BREATHING MEDITATIONS
Breathing awareness meditation is a type of meditation where you focus mainly, or sometimes only, on your breath. You observe how your breath feels as it comes in and goes out of your body without trying to change it in any way.
In this type of breathing awareness meditation, there are no fancy techniques as such. You don't have to change your breathing pattern or do anything special. In fact, the less you try to control it, the better!
Even people with asthma can practice breathing meditations at any time simply by focusing on their breath going in and out of their bodies.
The goal of this kind of meditation is to train yourself to focus your attention by using your breathing.
The length of breathing meditation is really up to you, but generally speaking, shorter 5-10 minutes sessions work best for beginners.
Short meditations before bedtime can be helpful to aid sleep because they train you to become aware of your thoughts and release them before falling asleep. This is especially beneficial for people who have a great deal of mental chatter and struggle to switch off so that they can rest.
As well as breathing awareness meditations, you can also use specific breathing practices as a meditation. These consist of breathing exercises that you practice for several minutes at a time.
One of the most popular breathing practice meditations is 4-7-8 breathing. It involves breathing in through your nose to a count of four, holding your breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth to a count of eight. You repeat this pattern three times at first if you find it challenging, but you can build up to several minutes
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BREATHING MEDITATION?
Besides increasing your mental clarity and focus, breathing meditation can help you relax and be calmer. If you suffer from chronic stress, this is something that you should definitely try out. Breathing meditations help reduce tension in your muscles, quiet your mind, and lower blood pressure.
It is not uncommon to blend the breathing aspect of meditation with other practices. In fact, it is highly encouraged as the breath is used to calm the heart and mind. Many combine deep breathing exercises with other practices like yoga and Chi Qong.
2. MINDFULNESS MEDITATIONS
Mindfulness meditation is probably the best-known type of meditation. The basic idea behind mindfulness meditation is to bring your full attention to what's happening in the present moment without any judgment, criticism, or analysis. In other words, you're just observing things as they are - not as you think they should be.
You can practice mindfulness at any time during the day, but it's especially helpful for those who have trouble falling asleep because it helps take their mind off thoughts about the future and past so that they can relax a bit more before going to bed.
People who lack focus also find this very useful because becoming aware of distractions allows you to let go of them and return back to the present moment. And this is exactly what you need to do in order to concentrate better when you're studying or working.
There are a few techniques used in mindfulness meditations, but the one that's most commonly used is focusing on your breath, like a breathing awareness meditation.
Another is by noticing your surroundings, maybe going through all the senses, and taking note of what you can smell, hear, see, or touch. By doing this, you're moving your focus out of your mind and its chatter, and into your body.
You're also training yourself to focus on the present moment so that it becomes easier to let go of thoughts about the past and future.
For beginners, it's best if you start off small by meditating for maybe 5 minutes at a time. After some practice, sitting down every day for 15 minutes will be much easier than before because focusing on your bodily sensations becomes second nature after a while, and our mind gets used to being quieter.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS MEDITATION?
Besides helping reduce stress, mindfulness meditations also help you sleep better. It helps quiet your mind because there won't be so many random thoughts distracting you. In addition, studies have shown that mindfulness helps improve your immune system and boosts your energy levels.
Becoming more aware of the present moment also makes it easier to focus on what you're doing without letting distractions get in the way so that whatever you choose to do, whether it's eating or working out, is done with greater focus and concentration.
There are plenty of guided meditation soundtracks and videos to be found online that vary in purpose and design. The important thing is to find something that resonates most with you and falls in line with your goals. Whether your goals are to reduce anxiety, health improvement, or increase your overall focus, there are some powerful programs out there specifically for what you need.