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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
- 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!