Three easy ways to practice meditation
I find that a common question I often get asked is about starting a meditation practice. I would like to share with you how to easily start one with three different methods I often use. Meditation is simply awareness, and we can practice it anywhere.
The first method is through “Breath Work”. Every day we are breathing. Breath is life. How often are we paying attention to how we breathe?
Often, we don’t realize that we’re holding our breath in certain situations, or perhaps our inhalations and exhalations are varied. Take a moment to sit/stand nice and tall and notice how you are breathing in this very moment.
Are your inhalations/exhalations about the same? If not, that’s okay! Just do your best to have a natural, balanced, even flowing breath.
Notice the gentle rise and fall of your chest as fresh air enters and as used air leaves your body. Can if you can feel your breath into other areas of your body? Bringing your focus to the temperature of your inhalations and exhalations, are they the same or are they different? Remember there are no right or wrong answers as whatever you discover is just fine.
Then, bring your focus to the space between each breath. By simply doing that you are allowing yourself to experience this very moment. I find bringing my focus into my breath work is a great way to start if you are new to meditating.
My second way is through “Mindfulness.” I have heard mindfulness referred to as “Meditation in Motion” by various experts in the field of meditation. In mindfulness, you are engaging all of your senses in awareness (sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch). A great way to experience mindfulness is by venturing outside.
Ask yourself: What do I see? Are there people/nature around? What types of colours surround me? What types of smells can you smell as you continue your journey? What sounds do you hear? Is there anything you can taste? What can you feel with your sense of touch? Try to experience the world in a whole new way by engaging your senses; it’s a powerful thing.
My third suggestion is more of a traditional method of meditation.
Feel free to come into a comfortable, supported seated position. This can be done sitting in a chair, or if you are quite comfortable and safe getting up and down from the floor you can feel to do that if that’s available to you.
Do your very best to sit up nice and tall. (If you need additional back support, you can use a chair that offers support for your back, or if you are comfortable on the floor, even having your back into the wall can be quite helpful.)
Just doing your very best to put aside any thoughts of the day, of the past or present and just allowing yourself to “Be in this very moment.”
It’s okay if thoughts pop in and out, just doing your best to become an observer within yourself. I find if I’m having a hard time quieting my mind, I just focus on my breath.
If you are new to meditation, I would encourage starting within a short period (perhaps about two to five minutes) and if you are comfortable increasing your meditation time, you can feel free to add on a minute as you become more experienced. Any amount of time spent in meditation is fine and all is beneficial, even if it is only for one minute.
When I first started a meditation practice as a student, I thought that if I could prove to myself that I could meditate for a full hour. I assumed that I would experience all sorts of zen and peace, meditating for a much longer time than I was used to.
Because it was forced, at the end of the hour, I felt exhausted, and frustrated — the opposite of what you should be experiencing. If at any time you feel that you need to end your meditation session early that’s okay if that’s what’s best for you.
It will always be there to come back to when you’re ready. Mediation is a way of active awareness. I have had moments in a relaxed meditation where I’ve ended up falling asleep.
Again, if that happens, don’t be hard on yourself (your body likely needed the extra sleep), Just keep trying.
Have fun exploring in your practice, and be sure to check out the many wonderful resources on meditation that can be found through the library and online to keep you going.