Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice

Meditation may seem foreign or intimidating if you have never tried it.  Learning to meditate is actually very simple and can be as natural as breathing.  For the sake of stress relief, the purpose of meditation is to calm the mind and relax the body by inducing the parasympathetic relaxation response.  The more often you do it, the better the results.  Below are some tips to help you get started.

  • Find some quiet time by yourself that will be uninterrupted.  This could be in the morning before you get out of bed or in the evening before going to sleep.
  • Get comfortable by sitting on a cushion, chair, or lying down on your back with your spine straight.
  • Set the intention of “being” rather than “doing”.  You can set other intentions such as letting go, giving your mind and body permission to relax, connecting with yourself, etc.
  • Start by noticing your breath and how it feels in your chest, belly, nostrils or wherever.
  • Continue to focus on your breath, moment by moment and breath by breath.
  • You may notice that your breath begins to change as you give it attention or that you begin to feel sensations in your body by giving it your awareness.
  • You may notice your mind wandering and if so, just notice without judgment as this is what minds do. 
  • This awareness and acceptance can assist with detaching from thoughts and prevent you from getting carried away by them.
  • Observe what is going on and what you are experiencing, without judgment, for that is the moment of awareness. 
  • You can bring your awareness back to your breath over and over, as necessary. 
  • Initially, this practice can take time to get used to.  It requires patience, self-compassion and appreciation for attempting a new practice and taking the time to nurture yourself. 
  • When you are finished be sure to ground yourself by bringing your awareness back to the room and into your body by noticing your feet on the ground and how your body feels as you move. 
  • Following guided meditations can be helpful and relaxing as you begin a practice.  For your convenience, complimentary guided meditation downloads can be found on our website.     

 

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Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is recognized as a great stress relief tool with vast and potentially life altering benefits.  Meditation can be done anywhere by anyone.  It can be done while sitting, lying down, taking a shower, eating, cooking, walking, dancing, painting, writing, listening to music, praying, doing yoga………and the list goes on.  Life can be a meditation if living is done mindfully by experiencing and being present moment by moment. 

The benefits of meditation include, but are not limited to:  reduced stress, elevation and maintenance of positive emotions, increased resilience, mind-body connection, greater awareness, self-reflection, clarity, acceptance of present moment reality, quiet mind, increased concentration, greater creativity/imagination and connectedness to all that exists.  Meditation has become the subject of study for neuroscientists and there have been findings to support that meditation positively changes how the brain functions during stressful situations.  Additionally, consistent meditation practice has been shown to restore health in people who experience pain and illness.    

Meditation is a practice worth adding to your self-care regimen or building upon if you already meditate.  Our next blog will provide tips on how to begin a meditation practice.

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