3 Simple Meditation Methods To Start Your Practice
“3 Simple Meditation Methods To Start Your Practice” is a guest post by Panos, who is the founder of www.TheSpiritualBodies.com
Arguably, when a majority of people think about meditation, they view it as something highly spiritual, reserved only for monks who reside in a monastery somewhere at the edge of the world. This can’t be any further from the truth.
Meditation is for everyone. Whether you practice it to achieve spiritual enlightenment and a higher state of being, or you just want to be able to relax better, meditating a few minutes daily will only bring benefits to your life.
You will find a lot of scientific articles on the proven benefits of meditation. I will not go into that discussion now, but some are lowering stress and anxiety levels, regulating mood, better sleep, improved focus and attention, stronger immune system, and even helps in relieving panic attacks and depression.
So, for today I would like to give you a few techniques on meditation, whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced practitioner.
How To Begin To Meditate – Method 1
The following meditation method is the most basic one, making it ideal for beginners, but you can actually practice it at any level.
The first thing you need to do is to find a quiet place and sit comfortably, making sure you’re sitting up, because lying down will most likely make you fall asleep. Use an armchair so you can support your back and keep your feet on the ground.
Next just close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Best way to do it is to find the easiest place where you feel your breath, like your chest or usually your nose. Don’t try to control your breathing, just inhale and exhale naturally and focus on the movement. The best way to describe focus in this case, is to observe it without analysing it.
That’s it! This will help you quiet and calm your mind. Don’t think about it, just observe it. Thoughts will begin to enter your mind, but when that happens just go back to observing your breathing.
You can start by practising for about 5 minutes daily, any time of day you prefer, and gradually go up to 15 minutes. When you begin to feel comfortable with this technique, you can move on to the next one below.
How To Begin To Meditate – Method 2
With this method you actively engage your brain into visualisation, by creating in your mind’s eye various states of an object in front of you. For example, you can use here a tea light candle, placed lower than your eye level so you can have you eyelids relaxed. Sit at the same comfortable position, described in the previous meditation method, and keep your focus on the candle. It’s better if the room is dark so the flame is the only thing you see.
After you focus on the candle flame for a couple of minutes, begin to imagine what it will feel like if it was placed near your hand or your face. Feel the warmth of the flame and listen to it. If it’s quiet you will be able to listen to the flame crack. Create a smell for it in your mind, maybe the smell of the burning wax. Focus on each sense separately for as long as you like. Next visualise the flame changing shapes or dancing, as if you are using your will to influence it in any possible way; all this of course, without moving a muscle.
Here is a suggestion. Prepare the candle and begin with method 1 for a few minutes, then open your eyes and focus on the candle and continue with this method.
How To Begin To Meditate – Method 3
This is a bit more advanced because it requires strong visualisation abilities and focus, but if you’ve been practising the two techniques above for a while, the following will feel very pleasant. I like to practice this when I‘m in nature, like a forest walk or at a quiet beach.
Again, find a place where you can sit comfortably with your back straight up and preferably, sit facing the sun if the time of day permits it, like early in the morning or before the sunset. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a bit and the warmth of the sun on your face.
Slowly, with each inhale, begin to visualise golden rays from the sun entering through your third eye (the spot between the eyebrows) into your head. Continue like this for a couple of minutes visualising your brain becoming brighter and overflowing with light. Like having a halo!
Next, with each inhale visualise the sun rays entering your head through the third eye, only this time they continue to move down your spine and into your stomach. But now with every exhale see the light going up another channel entering and filling your heart, expanding to the rest of your body; covering every single cell of your physical existence until you are yourself a being of light.
This meditation method should take you about 15-30 minutes.
Notes on the lotus position
You’ve probably realised that I haven’t mentioned the lotus position (sitting on the floor, cross-legged). The reason is that, even though, this position is ideal for meditation, it takes time to learn how to properly relax in it.
Most beginners, after a few minutes in lotus position tend to slouch and that can be counterproductive, since it can cause back and waist problems in the long run. On the other hand, you can use a pillow to sit on and support your spine while you have your legs crossed, but it’s always better when you begin to practise meditation in lotus position to be with an experienced coach.