Meditation For Beginners
“Shoshin” is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject.
Start your meditation journey without any expectations as it can ruin your practice. Expect nothing going into it. Let go of the judgement and resist nothing. Have an open mind and be kind to your wandering mind. Lastly especially when you are first starting your meditation voyage, Keep it simple!
Meditation can enhance your life, begin slowly and don’t get discouraged. Some people are scared to even try meditation as it has a “hippy” connotation to it, thanks to the movies. However, mediation is accessible to everyone and the great thing is you can start learning from the comfort of your own home.
As noted in the literature, meditation can benefit your mind and body while also having a powerful effect on your health.
There are many types of meditations, you need to try and see which one is a syn for you.
TYPES OF MEDITATION
- Mindfulness Meditation
Focusing on an object such as your breathing, thoughts, a cable flame or sounds. This type of meditation focuses on concentration and awareness.
- Mindfulness Meditation
5 phases meditation and each phase has a purpose to create bigger awareness and deeper connection
- Guided Meditation
Use a recorded tape or in-person guidance, where the teacher uses guided imagery to help put your mind at peace.
- Concentrative Meditation
Focus on a single object, such as an image, your breathing or a candle flame. When your mind steers off of the object, train your mind to refocus.
- Open Awareness
Opening your mind to what is going on around you without specifically focusing on one particular thing.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
As mentioned meditation has many benefits to enhance your mental and physical wellbeing. Some of the benefits are listed below.
- Reduces anxiety
Meditation strengthens a person’s cognitive ability to regulate emotions.
- Knowledge of Self
It enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self, as you concentration on yourself from within.
- Reduces stress
Focusing your attention and reducing the amount of different thoughts crowding your mind and inturn reduce your stress levels. By producing a deep state of relaxation, while meditating you are able to decrease the amount of anxiety and stress you feel. Studies have also shown that through meditation certain brain regions that are attached to stress change.
- Increases Your Consciousness and Inner Peace
Through meditation you become more connected with everything around you, the people around and the world. You realize that everything is connected and start vibrating at a higher level of energy.
- Revibes You
Meditation helps you remove any negativity that may be weighing you down, and allows you to get more out of each day.
- Helps with insomnia
During the process of mindfulness meditation we focus on our breathing and we stop thinking about the past and future, only focusing on the present. Once you have let go and fully relaxed, you are in a better state for a good night’s sleep. You quiet your mind while meditating, in turn your heart rate decreases and your blood pressure and stress hormones go down. All of these factors allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
- Better health
Meditation helps benefit the immune system and it may help lower cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and can protect you against disease.
- Increase Clarity, Calm and Focus
Meditation has been proven to improve brain functions. It produces a sense of calm and clarity that you may not have otherwise and it allows you to focus more.
- Increased Productivity
Through mediation you improve your focus, which allows you to focus on the task at hand, naturally increasing productivity.
- Increased Vitality
You focus on yourself as a whole being, producing wellness at a cellular level.
- Increased self awareness
To be self-aware, one needs to be aware and conscious of one’s own, feelings, motives, and desires. To be able to do this, meditation is the tool as it allows you to be calm and reflect internally.
- Slows down the aging process
Cortisol levels are reduced when you meditate, and one of the things this may do is reduce the activity of telomerase, an enzyme that is related to the aging process.
- Reduces the possibility of disease
Meditation reduces the heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels which can increase our overall immunity. With increased immunity we are less susceptible to diseases. Instead of living a long and healthy life.
- Increased libido
Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels this reduces libido. Meditation allows for balance of the hormones in your body.
- Allows for pain management
Meditation allows you to feel the sensations from within, to check in with yourself, while meditating you can concentrate in each area of the body and see how you are truly feeling.
HOW TO MEDITATE: SIMPLE MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS
- Sit or lie comfortably with your eyes relaxed
You can use a meditation cushion, if you like and sit with your back straight. Keep your eyes relaxed. Depending on what meditation you are doing, you can close your eyes. You can also fix your gaze upon an object in front of you. Keep in mind if you lie down you may fall asleep!
- Make no effort to control the breath
Just breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
Notice the movement of your body as you breathe, without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
To start off with just choose a sitting or lying position that is comfortable. Ideally you want your back straight. With any meditation pose you may use a cushion to support you when you sit down.
- Sitting posture (Easy pose)
- A.) Sit on the floor and keep your back straight.
- B.) Cross your legs as the children do at school or at home when they are sitting on the mat. This is called “easy pose” or Sukhasana in Sandscript.
- C.) If you can then you can do a half lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana, and then aim to work up to lotus pose, but that of course comes with time.). To try half lotus use your hands to bring your right foot on top of your left calf with the sole of the foot facing upwards.
- Chair Posture
If you find that sitting on the floor is not comfortable for you, you can of course sit on a chair. When you sit do not lean back as this may cause you to fall asleep.
- A.) Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- B.) Keep your back as straight as possible.
- C.) Rest your hands on your knees, with your palms facing downward.
- Diamond Posture
This pose is a variation of the sitting posture, and some people might find it more comfortable, especially if you have back discomfort.
- A.) Kneel on the floor.
- B.) Sit back on your heels.
- C.) Keep your knees and legs as close together as possible.
- D.) Place the palms of your hands on top of your thighs.
- The Lotus Posture
Many people believe this is the ideal position for meditation, but it is not for everyone. All postures, if done safely and correctly, can result in effective meditation.
- A.) Stretch your leg and knees.
- B.) Sit on the floor, or you may use a cushion.
- C.) Place your lower left leg on your upper right thigh. This is also called the Half Lotus.
- D.) Place your lower right leg on your upper left thigh.
You may reverse steps c and d by using the opposite leg, if the opposite cross-legged position is more comfortable for you.
HOW TO ADOPT BEGINNER’S MIND
A beginner’s mind is your mind’s natural state, it’s like when you were a kid. Look at a child say playing blocks, he;s just concentrated on that and nothing else. You need to try and empty your mind of judgements before you begin the meditation session. Below are three things to help empty your mind. Just remember it takes time so be gentle on yourself and take it slow.
- Mindful Breathing
Focus your attention on inhaling and exhaling.
Suggestion: Concentrate on the process of your belly rising and then retracting.
- Mindful Observations
Stare at an object for some time and while doing this, look at it thoughtfully, its form, shape, texture, color, etc.
Suggestion: try lighting a candle and focus on the flame.
- Start without any expectations
Expectations hinder meditation with time you will learn it’s fantastic just to be!
Suggestion: Non Judgment is the core of meditation. Start without judgment
TYPICAL QUESTIONS FROM A BEGINNER
- Am I doing it right?
Be ok with making mistakes, and take them as a learning experience. Start slowly and do from there. If you can, you can attend a meditation class to seek guidance.
Suggestion: Curiosity is important…often call it childlike curiosity in learning meditation
- My mind is wandering all the time
Having a wandering mind during meditation is not a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t receiving benefits from your meditation practice. It’s ok, sometimes your mental chatter is loud, sometimes it isn’t. The point is when you realize that your mind is wondering you bring it back, with no judgement.
Suggestion: Practice acceptance …Don’t forget you are not your emotions or thoughts
- Sometimes i keep falling asleep
It can be hard to find the perfect balance between focus and relaxation, especially when you’re first starting. Also if you are sitting on a chair try and not rest your back on the chair, istead still upright, this can help.
Suggestion: Sit with you back as straight as possible.
- Is it okay to scratch an itch during meditation?
One of the things meditation teaches you is not to react. The itch may be a way your stress is leaving your body. Try not to scratch.
Suggestion: Just concentrate on your breath.
- I’m not comfortable!
Try to find a comfortable, sitting position, but sometimes that’s easier said than done! Try sitting on a meditation cushion, or try me lying down or on a chair. On your first attempts don’t try and meditate for an extended period, say 20 minutes as you will get discouraged if you cannot complete it. Start with 3 minutes and increase your time as you feel comfortable.
Suggestion: Get comfortable before you start and begin with a short rmeditation and build your time up.
- How often and how long should I meditate?
Like anything you do the more frequently you do it the better you get.
So set aside time each day for your practise.
Suggestion: Short regular meditation practice is better than infrequent ones… Few minutes a day quiet time can do wonders
- When should I meditate?
There are no set rules when to meditate, it’s really up to you. Try the morning, afternoon and night session and see which one is better for you. If you meditate in the morning, it’s a great way to start your day and set your intentions for the day. On the other hand if you meditate at night, it’s a great way to end the day and unwind. Maybe you need to decompress in the afternoon. Everyone is different, so what suits you may not suit your friend. Just try it and see!
Suggestion: Set a reminder.
- What should I wear?
Something comfortable and loose, as you don’t want to wear anything too tight or constricting.
Suggestion: wear something comfortable, then you can just concentrate on your breath, not how your clothing feels.
- Can I get my kids to meditate with me?
Meditation is for everyone, but the only catch is that the person needs to want to do it, if not they are just wasting that time. Again, if your children want to try meditation, start with a small amount of time to show them it’s possible to do.
Suggestion: If they see you meditating, one day they may want to try with you.
- Where should I meditate?
Once you learn how to meditate, it can be done anywhere. Like when you are walking or during a short work break. But at home and especially when you are first starting you should find a quiet area in your house where you will not be disturbed. Remember to let others know you are meditating and to not disturb you, as for some reason my kids always seem to need something when l am meditating!
Suggestion: You can incorporate the practice in daily activities like while walking or sitting in traffic or waiting for public transport
Meditation is an amazing practice that once you start you will continue to do for the rest of your life. It will not only bring you peace of mind, but it has many other great health benefits. Meditation allows you to learn how to be present and mindful and achieve mental clarity and stillness. So why don’t you get started with this journey today!