A Newbie’s Guide To Meditation

Many people believe that the practice of meditation is limited to a seated lotus position in a room; however, meditation can be practiced virtually anywhere: while grocery shopping, riding the train, walking, during a flight, even during an argument. Herbert Benson, MD, who conducted research on transcendental meditators at Harvard Medical University in the 1970s coined the term “Relaxation Response” to describe the body’s ability to stimulate the relaxation of the muscles and organs secondary to meditation. According to Benson, more than 60 percent of all visits to healthcare providers are related to stress. As stress causes the flight or fight feedback loop and the firing of the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, this can lead to a number of health conditions including hypertension, headaches, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic low back pain.

Life is a meditation and meditation is in turn a life tool. It helps us to be more mindful of our behaviors, psychology, health and overall state of being. Once we are able to observe these facets within and without, we can better make choices in our life from daily decisions to career paths, jobs and general wellbeing – all while finding an avenue to unplug from the brain’s sensory overload and remain present.

Photo From: Healingcem

Photo From: Healingcem

1. Find a comfortable place and sit with an upright spine with your hands resting comfortably over your thighs. It helps to loosen your body with stretching prior – this is especially why yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand, as yoga helps to stretch your muscles and calms the body & mind. You can meditate at anytime during the day, although morning is best when your mind is still free from the clutter of the upcoming day.

2. Mindfulness meditation is about quieting the mind and putting the attention on your breath and the feeling of your inhales and exhales as they occur naturally. You clear your mind from lingering thoughts and as they come up, as they inherently will at the start, you steer your attention back to your breath. Observe your thoughts, but don’t judge them or become frustrated as they surface.

3. Some people can better focus with sound through the repetition of a mantra or affirmation. You can also focus your gaze on an object such as candlelight, any one point in your surroundings, or an image such as a beach – select a visual that you find most relaxing.

Photo From: labeachfit

Photo From: labeachfit

4. You can start off with 5-10 minutes a day, whatever you feel comfortable with, and slowly build up. Make it a formal practice and it will become more natural with time. At the end of your meditation, be grateful for the time you had to practice and focus your mind.

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