Meditation for Beginners
As more and more research is carried out on the benefits of meditation, what yogis have known for millennium is beginning to surface in mainstream thought…..meditation is good for you!
While ancient yogis used meditation as a tool for transcending the mind, many of us today may not have the same desire – so why should we do it?
Just try an internet search on the benefits of meditation and you are going to find a really long list – from lowering blood pressure to improving self esteem. While some researchers believe it isn’t yet possible to draw conclusions on the health benefits of meditation, it does appear that there is a great deal of support for meditation as an aid for reducing stress.
Stress – in one form or another negatively affects many people I come across, including at times, myself. For some it can be a feeling of having a little too much to do, while for others it can be quite overwhelming and create health problems.
Taking a little time out each day for meditation can have a profound effect on how we manage stress. Meditation clears away some of the information overload we are all subject to and helps us to be present, a little more quiet. With regular practice, this quiet permeates our daily lives and we are able to recognise our unique patterns of behaviour and thinking that perhaps get us into a little trouble. From this place of recognition, we can begin to make positive change and bring more harmony into our lives.
When starting out with a meditation practice there can be some resistance that arises in the mind. “I don’t have time” is a pretty common reason – well actually, you don’t need much time – you can start with as little as 5 minutes. A regular short practice is going to bring more benefit than a half hour when you finally do have the time. How about “I can’t meditate because my mind is too busy” Join the club! All of us have minds that are busy – you could even say out of control. Ask any experienced meditators and they will tell you that they also struggle with mental distractions. It is the nature of the mind to be busy. Don’t worry – do it anyway!
Meditation is a generic word that encompasses many practices that may vary in nature. You will find many different techniques and sometimes it can be a matter of trying a few different ones to see which best resonates with you. What follows is a very simple practice and a good place to start.
Before beginning, find somewhere relatively quiet where you won’t be disturbed – turn your phone off!
- Sit in a comfortable, alert position. Sitting upright on a chair is just fine, it certainly doesn’t have to be cross legged on the floor.
- Draw your attention to your breath and just watch it’s natural rhythm. You don’t have to breathe in any particular way, just let the breath come and go as it will. Observe, without trying to change, where each breath starts and ends, how deep or shallow it is, how long or short it is.
- Each time you become aware that your mind has wandered off, (which it will….a lot!) don’t worry, just bring your attention back to watching your breath.
When you have finished, sit quietly for a few moments before resuming your day.
Remember, meditation takes practice so don’t expect too much of yourself at the beginning, but if you try and commit to 5-10 mins a day, you will soon notice a difference.