The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation

MEDITATION

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

What is meditation?

If you haven’t tried or don’t know of anyone that meditates, then you’re probably thinking meditating is being alone on a mountain and chanting Ooooommmmm for hours. But in a more toned down sense of the definition, it is just clearing your mind or concentrating your mind on something specific for even just 5-10 minutes.

Why meditate?

Ok so now whyyyy would we want to sit quietly and do nothing for periods of time? Sounds boring doesn’t it?

It is actually quite hard to do!

So what  meditating is really doing is training your brain, kinda like exercising it. And it is good for it just like exercise is good for your body!

It improves concentration, improves mood (even to the point of combating depression), reduces anxiety, improves creativity, and even helps reduce pain!

And I think we could all use some help with at least one of those things!

Therefore, meditating is just as important as exercising for health and well being. It’s something to add to the list of daily must-do’s!

Ok So How Do I Do this Thing That I’ve Only Seen in Japanese Movies???

To start, simply find a quiet place, sit, relax, set a timer (start with 5 minutes if you haven’t tried this before), close your eyes, and try to clear your mind. Continue trying until the timer goes off – don’t check it and disrupt yourself!

Tips

There are apps for smart phones that have timers, background music or natural sounds that help to relax and block out background noise.

There are also videos on YouTube with music to listen to and that guide you through a meditation session.

You can try multiple times per day instead of once if you get disrupted or a time doesn’t work out. Experts meditate for hours so there’s no time limit on this! Though many studies show that meditating in blocks of 20 minutes per day shows the benefits, there are many others that show that even 5 minutes per day gives benefits! Therefore, start where you can and go from there.

Many people also combine meditation with Yoga, so if you’re already a Yoga fan, that may help you!

Next Steps

  • Find the best time of day for at least five to ten minutes of solitude

  • Find an appropriate, quiet setting

  • Start with 5 minutes per day

  • Relax

  • Patience, practice makes perfect and it gets easier!
   

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Comments

  1. I started meditating about 1.5 years ago and wish I had been able to read this back then. Would have so helped me get started. Nice job!

  2. Thanks for the reminder that you can meditate in as little as 5 minutes a day — sometimes I set myself up by feeling like I NEED to meditate longer. I like to focus on my breath when I do it.

  3. First of all, I want to be wherever that picture is!

    Second, this is a good reminder for me that meditation is important. I’ve done it off and on at different times, but currently don’t do it aside from during yoga.

    I think one of the things that discourages people about meditating is that they can’t get it “right”. They worry so much about the thoughts they’re having, and that they should be doing it longer, etc., and then they give up. But it takes a lot of practice to be able to just sit and breath. I saw an article on the NY Times website yesterday that was encouraging people to try meditation, even just for two minutes, so they could start to build up to longer times.

  4. Once again, you have taken a concept that seems challenging to me and broken it down so simply that I ask myself: “How could I not try it?” Meditation has always been one of those things that I will get to someday. Maybe now is the time! I really do see the value in it. In our fast pace Western society, slowing down is hard to do and it’s certainly not encouraged. There have been many studies that show how the brain reacts to meditation (all in good ways!) so it seems that it’s well worth a try. I think the key for me is to start small and see how it goes. And hopefully I can calm my monkey mind down just a little bit. 😉 Thanks for the great article.

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