A regular meditation practice can have a whole host of benefits, but how do you manage to clear your mind in this million-mile-an-hour world?
Meditation has become very popular in recent years and is helping many people around the globe. It can offer significant benefits, from disease and pain management to better sleep, improved control of emotions and even stress relief. It can sound like a wonder drug, but it might also sound like an impossible task when you can’t – or don’t have the opportunity to – sit still.
Some people make it sound so easy, to just sit down and meditate and clear out the mind of all of your thoughts, but in reality this can take some time to learn. It is like training your muscles in the gym. It takes practice, patience and dedication, which most of us are not born with…
How to meditate?
First of all, forget about sitting crossed-legged or in lotus positions unless you are an experienced yogi or hyper mobile. There are many meditation traditions that tell you that you must sit in a certain way to experience enlightenment and the benefits of meditation, but this is not a must. It’s perfectly OK to sit on a normal chair with your feet on the ground in an upright position. But do try and sit upright, as this ensures the ‘Chi’ (the life-giving energy that unites body, mind and spirit) in your body to flow freely. It’s quite important to have a balanced spine with no blockages. If you’re out of alignment in your spine, your chi will be disrupted and you’ll feel discomfort during meditation. Have your spine checked by a chiropractor and make yourself ready for meditation.
Try to avoid supporting your back with pillows, you’ll find yourself snoring after five minutes if it’s too comfortable. But it’s very important not to be in pain either, as this will disrupt your meditation experience.
In the beginning it can be a little hard to meditate in silence. A good way to start could be with some relaxing meditation music (you can find a great deal on YouTube) or even listen to a guided meditation.
Start with 15-20 minutes and gradually increase your meditation time to whatever suits your life and schedule. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, it’s okay.
Try meditating in a group. It’s easier to keep up the energy in a group because everyone is helping each other. It can be like pushing a car up a hill – this is very hard to do alone, but easier in a group.
Close your eyes and take some deep breaths to connect with your body. Feel your body; is there any tension or discomfort? Notice what’s going on as you move your focus up and down your body, like a CAT scan done by yourself.
Focus on your breath, breathing in and out of your nose. Feel the sensation in your nostrils when the air enters and leaves again. Accept that there can be noise around you, but preferably meditate in a quiet environment without disturbances.
Be present in the moment. Commit to being right here, right now for the time you have agreed – it doesn’t matter if it’s 15 minutes or two hours. Turn your phone to silence mode, not vibration. Know that it’s OK to fall asleep, fall off the chair, be bored, have thoughts, worry about your grocery shopping, etc. It’s completely normal in the beginning and sometimes later on as well – we’re still human, after all.
When you have a thought, acknowledge that thought and let it go, let it drift away like clouds in the sky. If you keep thinking “I must clear my mind and think of nothing,” guess what? You’ll have a stream of thoughts coming your way, so just relax and let them slowly float away.
Find a meditation place that suits you. If you have the option, try meditating in nature. Nature has the ability to really ground you and fill up your energy deposits.
Just do it!
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
More control of emotions
Connection with yourself
Improved ability to be present in the moment
Takes us beyond our worries, fears and judgments
Better knowledge of our inner-self
Increased production of anti-ageing hormone DHEA