The physical and mental benefits of meditation are endless. By taking as little as 10 to 20 minutes each day to focus on the present, practise breathing techniques, and forget about your worries, you can boost your attention span, tackle stress and reduce signs of ageing. You may also improve your mental health and increase your body’s ability to fight off diseases.
For those who have never meditated before, the whole process can seem a little unusual. Some people assume they’ll never be able to achieve the sense of peace and tranquillity associated with meditation and so they don’t even try. However, in reality, this relaxing practice is easier than you might think.
If you’d like to be more mindful but you’re unsure where to begin, simply follow the steps below to get started. Don’t forget to let us know how you get on.
The most common position for meditation involves sitting on a stool, chair, or the floor with crossed legs. No matter where you sit, posture is important. Imagine a thread extending from the top of your head and pulling your back, neck and head up towards the ceiling.
Relax your body
Close your eyes and relax your body, focussing on one area at a time. Start with your toes followed by your feet and ankles, until you’ve moved up your whole body to your head. Try to remove tension from your shoulders and neck as these are both areas we often neglect.
Once you’ve achieved a sense of relaxation, focus on staying as still as possible. With your eyes still closed take note of the surroundings you can sense. Gently breathe in. What can you smell? Listen carefully to the sounds around you. Don’t react to anything or try to change any smells or sounds that bother you.
Focus on your breathing. Breathe deeply but avoid making any sounds. Pay attention to how your breath feels in your nose, throat, chest and stomach as it passes in and out of your body.
Find your mantra
When people think of meditation, they often imagine someone loudly humming as they sit cross legged on a yoga mat. The sound a person makes when meditating is their mantra. It can be a humming sound if you wish, but it can also be a simple and easy phrase or set of words that make you feel calm. You don’t have to speak your mantra aloud, either. You can just repeat it in your mind, if you’d prefer.
Forget your worries
By focussing on your breathing, your senses, and your mantra, you’re likely to begin to feel calm and relaxed. Be present in the current moment and try to let your worries fade away.
Don’t give up if your mind wanders
Our minds aren’t machines that can simply be turned off as soon as we sit down to meditate and so don’t be hard on yourself if random thoughts or feelings arise. It’s only natural for your mind to wander and so rather than feeling discouraged, accept the thought for a moment before letting it go and focussing on the present moment once more.