MEDITATION

How to meditate: Techniques & tips

It’s a busy world. Every person in the world is running a rat race, a seemingly endless one. We are all a part of this hullabaloo; getting up early, running to offices/schools/colleges, attending meetings, meeting deadlines, participating in stressful activities and sometimes even managing the tedious household chores. And what does it result in at the end of the day?  An exhausted you!

Of all the activities that you do, how much time do you give yourself? How many hours do you just sit with yourself and connect with what’s within you?  Ask yourself this and you shall find that you do not really spend any time with yourself. How often do you feel drained out? Stressed? Frustrated? Unable to think clearly? If, quite often is your answer then, you are reading the right space. The solution to all your problems is one word: Meditation.

Now the question arises: what is meditation and how to do meditation?

Meditation in simple words is the process of spending time with yourself. Meditating is the act of sitting peacefully with your own self and enjoying your company. Many people join classes, watch videos, or buy DVDs to learn guided meditation. You do not need to do all of that. Just read on and find out how to overcome your stress and spend time with yourself.

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Source: http://bit.ly/1NK9K9V

  1. Find a quiet, peaceful place:
    This is a primal step for meditating. Look for a quiet place. Meditation is all about peace and hence, can only be done in a noiseless environment. If you live in a city, chances are that your place is devoid of tranquility. A noisy environment is likely to distract you from your purpose of finding peace. Find a quiet place in your house. It can be your bedroom where you can lock yourself away from the world, or maybe even your praying room, if you have one.
  2. Fix a time:
    It is important to fix a time slot to meditate so that you gradually get into the habit of meditating. Setting a time slot also acts as a reminder; it helps you remember that you have to meditate at this point of time. Not only is it necessary to fix a time to get into the habit, but, this also brings in discipline which is very essential for meditation. Wake up early in the morning to meditate when the day’s bustle has not begun or you can meditate right before bed when it has all ended. Pick a time when you do not have anything on your mind; no errands to run, no deadlines to meet.
  3. Get comfortable:
    Wear comfortable clothes before you sit for meditation. A loose, oversized t-shirt or a kurta are great while meditating. Free flowing clothes keep you comfortable. Ill fitted or tight fitted clothes adds to the distraction and discomfort which disable you from meditating in peace. If you wear tight clothes, all your attention will be on them and the likely discomfort they may cause.
  4. Sit at ease or lie down:
    The best posture to meditate is to sit cross legged or in the Lotus posture, preferably on a flat, even surface like the floor. You can also lie down flat on your back, or sit on a chair. The most important thing is for you to be at ease and feel relaxed. While sitting, keep your back straight and keep your face in alignment with your chest. Your palms must either face the ceiling or connect your index finger and the thumb. It is important to keep your eyes closed to avoid any outer distractions that will keep you from meditating.
  5. Breathe deeply :
    Breath is the life force that drives. It is vital to breathe deeply during meditation. Concentrate on your breath. Counting your breath helps. Try inhaling for a count of 6, holding for a count of 2, and exhaling for 6. Giving your mind this simple task to focus on will help clear your head. It is has been found that we do not use our lungs to their full ability. Inhaling deep breaths will increase the intake of oxygen and therefore, more oxygen will reach the brain, making it more alert, aware and awake.
  6. Chant a mantra or hold a rosary:
    Meditation is the process of becoming still. It is important to focus on a single point all throughout the meditation. You can chant a mantra that will not only help you concentrate but also calm you while you chant it with each breath. You can also hold a rosary and count the beads to keep yourself from distracting. It may seem like a challenging task to still your mind and keep it bereft of thoughts. But eventually, once you practice it every day at a fixed time, you will slowly be able to calm yourself and rest your mind.
  7. Observe your mind:
    Your mind is like a restless monkey, always jumping from one branch of thought to another. Your job while meditating is to train it and tame it. The foremost step is to observe it carefully, closely. The moment your mind starts drifting, analyse the thought that is building up. Once you start doing this and practice it, your thoughts will become more stable and you will achieve an inner balance.

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Source: www.artofliferetreats.com

 

 

Meditation Techniques

The way exercise and yoga are for keeping the body fit; similarly, meditation is to keep the mind healthy. There are many techniques to meditate:

Guided Meditation:
In such meditation, you can meditate under the guidance of a teacher or a trained practitioner. It can be via a written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media. It can induce mental imagery and involves visualization to help focus.

Concentration meditation:
This is the easiest technique of meditation. It does not require any guidance and can be done at home easily without any aid. It involves focusing on a single point. It can entail watching the breath, chanting mantras or a single word like Om, counting rosary beads, gazing the candle flame or listening to music that calms you and brings tranquility. This meditation allows you to refocus your awareness by paying complete attention to a particular object whenever you notice your mind wandering and wavering. You do not have to make an effort to pursue your thoughts, you have to simply observe them and let them be. It improves your concentration.

Reflective Meditation:
This sort of meditation involves focusing on a particular question. It is also called analytical meditation or disciplined meditation. In order to do this meditation, pick a question and analyze it and reflect upon it. Not only will it help you to keep yourself focused but also help you get an answer to that question. It will help you develop a clear understanding. It will expand your consciousness and help you react better in day to day situations.

Heart centered/ Heart Chakra meditation:
This meditation is about focusing on the heart area of your body while meditating. Sit comfortably in a quiet place and focus on the heart area while inhaling and exhaling slowly. This meditation relieves you of your fears and depression. It helps you connect to your heart and stabilizes your emotions.

Meditation Tips

  • Never meditate on a full stomach: A full stomach will make you feel sleepy. But, do not meditate on an empty stomach either; your hunger will keep distracting you.
  • Breathe slowly but smoothly: Make sure your breathing is not jagged. Breathe slowly but smooth. Clear your nostrils before meditating especially if you suffer from sinus.
  • Try Pranayama: You can easily do a breathing exercise to refocus. It will awaken your senses and will help in concentrating better.
  • Keep your back straight: Do not be stiff. Keep your back comfortably straight. If you are too stiff, your back may start hurting and will disrupt your meditation. Do not have a slackened posture. Your spine must be straight at all times
  • Keep your eyes closed: Do not open your eyes while meditating. When your eyes are open, you tend to get distracted by things around you which arouse thoughts.
  • Do not meditate when angry: It is difficult to meditate when you are struggling with strong emotions. Strong emotions tend to breed stories and your mind will keep wandering.
  • Do not control your thoughts: While meditating, it is natural for you to have thoughts. It is the nature of the human mind to think all the time. Do not control these thoughts. The more you resist the more they will persist. All you have to do is simply observe them. Let the thoughts flow. Observe where they stem from and then let them go.
  • Try Meditation Music: If silence does not work for you, try meditation music or mantras. The sound of music will drown the chatter of your thoughts. The soothing music will calm you down and your thoughts will eventually die down.
  • Begin meditating with a short duration: Since, you are not used to sitting for long hours in a single position for a long duration, begin meditating with a small period of time. Start with 10 minutes and gradually, according to your comfort level, increase the duration. Sitting for a long time in the beginning may cause discomfort and numb our legs.
  • Enjoy meditation: Be relaxed and comfortable while meditating. Do not treat meditation like a daily chore. It is for you to relax and spend time with yourself. Enjoy while you are at it.

This is to all the people who find meditation a boring activity, please follow these tips and you will start enjoying it for sure!

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!

Meditation: A Practice to clear your Soul and achieve Complete Relaxation.

When you say meditation, what exactly comes to your mind? Sitting in one posture and focus on an object or chant constantly? Before we proceed with a complete meditation guideline, let us first understand what the word meditation actually mean.

 

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practise where the mind crosses the conscience bar and enters a zone of deep relaxation of body and mind. It is beyond any religious practise. It is largely practised to go beyond the common awareness and let you enter a state of ultimate awareness of your inner conscious.

Origin and History of Meditation.

Let us look back at the roots of the practice of Meditation. The word meditation is derived from the Latin word ‘meditatum’ which means to ponder or think deeply. The roots of meditation lies in the religious chants of ancient civilisation. The chants were rhythmic and repetitive in nature to appease the ancient religious gods. The chanting are now known as chant mantras. These chant mantras are still used for certain meditative practise.

Antiquity – The earliest record of meditation practise has been noticed in Hindu religion, Vedanta to be precise. That goes back to 1500 B. C when meditation was practised in Vedantism. Meditation then was started in Buddhist religious offering and the Taoist, Chinese religious practice. On the other hand, some believe that meditation practise had its origin in Eastern Asia and was spread via the Silk Road.

Growth in the middle ages – The Japanese Buddhism took a surge after the growth of Chinese Buddhism. This led to the growth of Japanese Zen. In the meantime Jewish meditation was also growing and was also revolutionizing. The Christian practiced meditation in a particular mode and pose. The western Christian meditation contradicted the single posture meditative practice.

The Modern Time – In the modern times, the Buddhist meditative practice became more prevalent. Yoga session and classes popped up at various places. In fact at this time period, meditation took the transformation from religious practice to a mind exercise to relax stress and promote self-satisfaction.

Now let us discuss seven different types of meditation which are more commonly in practice now.

Seven most effective forms and techniques of meditation:

Vipassana Meditation :

The best way to define this form of meditation is insight meditation. The purpose is to actualise the inner sense. The mind is made to wander and to feel the existence of life. It is a both way practise. You let in the outer world feelings to come inside your mind, but at the same time you practise to remain detach from them.

It is believed by some, that Vipassana meditation was first introduced byBuddha himself, therefore it is practised in Major Buddhist meditation.

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How to practise Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation                                Source: http://bit.ly/1GZ0or9

Posture:

First of all, find a quiet place to practice this meditation. It is recommended to do this meditation in open air. Sit with crossed legs and your back straight. You can sit in on a chair if you have a back problem.

Breathing:

You have to breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Each time you breathe in and breathe out, you observe your abdomen movements with each breath. Slowly you start concentrating into the real world life cycle and at the same time get detached from them.

Through this meditation what you achieve is a deeper and clearer awareness of your inner mind. If you do this meditation for an hour in a day, then you can both rise on ground reality and walk away as you wish.

2) Heart Rhythm Meditation

Heart Rhythm Meditation                                                                             Source: http://bit.ly/1iyfcBq

 

This meditation is practiced to keep a balance between the heart and heartbeat. The heart is the center of all organs, where blood is pumped to reach other organs. The heart is the centre of all emotions too. The goal of this yoga is to know and identity with your heart.

For this meditation, you should be sitting in the grand monolithic posture. That is sitting on your chair on upright position with your back at ninety degree angle. Keep both hands on your knees, palms down and close your eyes. Start breathing slowly. Concentrate on the stillness of your body and stay calm. Let your mind realise the harmony between your breath and your heart. This augments the purification of body, mind and heart.

3) Zazen Meditation

Zazen Meditation, popularly known as Zen Meditation, is practised in Japanese Buddhism. It is a form of sitting meditation. This form of meditation aims at sharpening your senses. This meditation has to be essentially practised while sitting. If you feel uncomfortable while sitting, then there are various postures to choose from. You can opt the ‘half lotus’ position, whereby you can tuck your right leg under your left leg. If your back and leg does not hurt then you can sit in ‘full lotus’ position. You can sit crossed legged on your knee also but if your back and knee is weak, then sit on a chair in upright position.

Zazen Meditation                                Source: http://bit.ly/1Q66xDS

This meditation wholly focuses on worldly realism and actualising your mind. You start with counting and focussing on your breath. First count till five and breath without thinking anything but your breath. If you can’t, retry. Once you achieve till five, increase counting. With daily practise you will learn to focus on your breath without even counting.

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4) Hypnosis Meditation

This is not a fun party meditation. You can actually meditate and hypnotise yourself. This affirmation meditation is done to get rid of stress and regain self-confidence. First of all, find a place where you will be undisturbed from rest of the world. You will have to believe in the meditation. You should feel the stress moving out of your body. Once you start feeling relaxed, affirm your belief or faith in yourself.

You can try out the hypnosis audio recordings to get a better grip on hypnosis meditation.

 Hypnosis Meditation                                                    Source: http://bit.ly/1l3VmQo

5) Mindfulness Meditation

 

This meditation is followed to increase concentration and focus. After practising this form of meditation, you feel more relaxed and your awareness gets deeper.

For this type of meditation, you can find a place of solitude. Choose any position which you feel you are comfortable. First relax yourself and then focus on your breath. Close your eyes and then shift your focus from one part of body to another, from one organ to another. Then start to explore the sensations within you. Think about your mind, ideas and dreams. Then slowly clear your mind from these thoughts. Make your mind an empty box slowly.

You should practise this meditation and see how it feels. Do not over occupy your mind. Think one thing at a time and then set your thoughts free. Let them wander till you empty your mind from thoughts.

Mindfulness Meditation                                             Source: http://bit.ly/1Rpw1un

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Floating Feather meditation

 

 

This is the most relaxing and easy form of meditation. If you are a beginner with meditation, then you should start with floating feather meditation. This meditation involves breathing, concentration and visualisation.

First sit on the ground with your back straight or you can sit on a chair if you wish. Breathe in till your belly is full with air. Then slowly breathe out every bit of air inside your lungs. While this breathe in and out, imagine a feather in front of you. When you breathe in,the imagine the feather to fly and drop when you breathe out. Focus on every detail of the feather while you breathe in and out.

Floating Feather meditation                                                             Source: http://bit.ly/1Sjcrkt

 

 

7) Guided Visualization Meditation

This form of meditation is practiced to escape into the world of imagination. If for some time, you want to be completely detached from the world of realism; then follow this guided visualization meditation.

First find a quiet place for yourself, then close your eyes and relax your senses. Listen to the audio and engage all your five senses to feel and visualize and imaginary world. Listen and feel the ruffle of leaves, listen to the rumble of train wheels while it is moving. This form of meditation is also used as a psychological tool to get immersed into a visual and imaginary world.

Guided Visualisation Meditation                                                            Source: http://bit.ly/1Oj4n4H

 

Create a space for meditation in your surroundings.

Choose any form of meditation which you can relate with your present state. Then your next important step would be to create or find a surrounding which compliments your meditation practise perfectly.

Some people believe in having single object as point of focus for meditation. It can be a statue, painting, craft work, candle or a photo.

Decide what you want to derive from your space of meditation. If you want to feel secure and be indoors then it can be paintings with low light surrounding. If you want a visual space, then a solid colour wall or an open space is what you need. Wherever you are, you need to be detached from the outer world and live in your inner world.

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Simple tips to meditate successfully:

 

1) Follow it to the distance– Noone can master the art of meditation in few days. But you should have the perseverance to continue and increase the practise. You might not get immediate result but if you believe in your practise, you are bound to feel relaxed and focused.

 

2) Make it regular and official – If you want to go the long way then make a specific time for yoga on daily basis. This will make you disciplined and definitely pave the way for a long term association with meditation.

 

3) Find a support or guide – If you want to advance in your meditative practise, then it is advisable to take the support of an experienced friend or guide. You can even take help of meditation related journals. Studying meditative forms and practise goes hand in hand for a successful meditation.

 

4) Master your breathing speed – Breath is a vital component in meditation. With constant practise, you can master the art of slow breath in and breathe out. It is the most essential component for a complete body and mind relaxation.

 

5) Meditate at the end of the day – It is the best practise you can do to clear your body and mind before sleeping. Obviously early morning meditation is the best start to your day, but meditation at night is a perfect way to end your day.

 

It is normal to have doubts while you are starting with meditation practice but do not stop in the middle. That will not give you happy results. If you feel like, take a guide or tutor in meditation for a year. That will help you to get a better hand in meditation and you can progress for a higher level of body and mind relaxation. Happy Meditation!