Meditation helps to increase our intuitive capacity and to relax from the daily stress that is our life.
Have you ever thought about it?
Want to learn to meditate but don’t know how to start?
Beginners to meditation sometimes imagine a monk sitting in the lotus pose for hours on top of a mountain. But the reality is that learning to meditate is much easier and more accessible than most people realize.
1 – Choose the best time and place to meditate
Meditation is relaxation. So, choose a time and place where you know you won’t be interrupted or disturbed. The hours of sunrise and sunset, while nature transitions between day and night, are ideal for learning to meditate; however, any time is acceptable as long as you feel comfortable and prepared.
As for the location, you should choose a calm and peaceful place, without great noises or shrill noises. The area must be pleasant for you. To help you, you can light scented candles or incense, but you can also choose some fresh flowers or something good for you. However, avoid places where you usually rest, such as a bed or sofa.
2 – Sit comfortably
Take off your shoes and any tight clothing. Sit on the floor, on a chair or a bench. If you choose the floor, it is more comfortable to sit cross-legged on a pillow. Comfort is key. After sitting down, imagine that you have a string that extends from the top of your head and that pulls your back, neck and head up towards the ceiling, in a straight line.
At this stage, when you are learning to meditate, support your back on a right chair, a cushion or pillow, and if you outdoors choose to lean against a tree trunk, a garden wall that is not cold or other comfortable supports.
3 – Relax your body
Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed, and your eyes closed throughout the process. Relax each part of the body, one at a time. Start with your toes, feet, ankles, legs and continue until you relax your entire body. Although straight, be sure to relax your shoulders, neck, eyes, face, jaw and tongue. These are the areas where we maintain some tension.
4 – Attention to the stomach
Do not meditate on an empty stomach, but do not meditate after a meal. Ideally, wait two hours after eating, or do it before eating. Do not drink alcohol or take drugs within 24 hours of meditation and do not smoke for the previous 30 minutes.
5 – Prepare the body
Warm-up. Before sitting down to meditate, do some exercises that help to improve circulation, remove inertia and restlessness. This makes the body feel lighter, and you will be able to sit steadily and for longer.
Turn your attention to your breath. Breathe silently but deeply. Open your diaphragm and fill your lungs. Breathe from the inside out. Try it through your nose and then through your mouth and feel what it does to your body. Notice the silence around you before and after breathing. Breathing is one of the fundamental parts for anyone learning to meditate.
7 – Create a mantra
A mantra is a sound, word or phrase that can be repeated throughout your meditation. Mantras can have spiritual benefits, or they can provide a focal point during meditation. They can be said out loud or silently to yourself. A simple and easy mantra for beginners is to communicate silently with each breath, and I breathe, I breathe.
8 – Focus
Turn off or silence all phones. Turn off the lights. If you prefer, light a candle first. Don’t think about anything. Leave the shopping list, forget a conversation or a song.
9 – Smile
Keep a smile on your face. A soft smile leaves you relaxed, peaceful and improves your meditation experience.
10 – Choose the duration
While you are learning to meditate, it is more accessible to start by doing it for a short time, between 5 to 10 minutes. There is no correct time to practice meditation. However, you can use an alarm if you prefer to meditate for a predetermined time.
11 – Open your eyes
When you are finished, gently move your fingers and toes and continue through your arms and legs. Don’t be in a hurry to open your eyes. Open them slowly and gradually, move slowly and take your time before getting up.
Final tips for learning to meditate:
Consistency is more important than quantity. If you meditate for 5 minutes a day, this is more rewarding than meditating for two hours, one day a week.
For most beginners, it is easier to meditate in a quiet space at home, but over time and with practice, it is possible to start exploring new places for meditation. Anywhere is useful for meditation: outdoors, on the bus or even in the office, and this can be an excellent tranquillizer.
How to properly meditate alone (in 5 simple steps)
Meditation is a technique that allows leading the mind to a state of calm and relaxation through methods that involve posture and focus of attention to achieve tranquillity and inner peace, bringing several benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety, insomnia, in addition to helping improving focus and productivity at work or studies.
Although it is more easily practised in classes and places, with an instructor, meditation can also be done in other environments such as at home or work, for example. To learn to meditate alone, it is necessary to practice the techniques daily for 5 to 20 minutes, 1 or 2 times a day.
- Set aside time
You should reserve 1 or 2 times during the day to switch off for a while. It can be when you wake up, to allow you to start the day with less anxiety and more focus, in the middle of the day, to rest a little from your tasks, or when you go to bed, to calm your mind before bed.
Ideally, a period of 15 to 20 minutes is a great time to bring the maximum benefits of meditation, but 5 minutes is already enough to allow a journey into yourself, achieving tranquillity and focus.
To avoid worries about time, it is possible to set an alarm clock on the cell phone for the time you want to keep meditating.
- Find a quiet place
It is recommended to separate a space where you can sit with a little tranquillity, such as a living room, a garden, a sofa, and it is also possible in the office chair itself, or even in the car, after parking before going to work, for example.
The important thing is that you can, preferably, be in a quiet environment and with minimal distractions to facilitate concentration.
- Adopt a comfortable posture
The ideal position for practising meditation, according to oriental techniques, is the lotus posture, in which you sit, with your legs crossed and your feet on your thighs, just above your knees, and with your spine straight. However, this position is not mandatory, and you can sit or lie in any situation, including a chair or bench, as long as you are comfortable, with a straight spine, relaxed shoulders and aligned neck.
You should also find support for your hands, which can rest on your lap, with the back of one over the other, or stand one on each knee, with your palms down or up. Then, keep your eyes closed and allow your muscles to relax.
- Control breathing
It is essential to learn to pay more particular attention to breathing, using your lungs completely. A deep inhalation must be made, drawing air using the belly and chest, and slow and pleasant exhalation.
Controlling your breathing may not be easy at first, which happens with practice, but it must be comfortable and without straining, so that it does not become an unpleasant moment. An exercise that can be done is to count to 4 on the inspiration and repeat this time for the exhalation.
- Focus attention
In traditional meditation, it is necessary to find a focus to maintain attention, usually a mantra, which is any sound, syllable, word or phrase that must be repeated several times to exert a specific power over the mind, and to assist concentration to meditation.
It should be vocalized or thought out by the person doing the meditation and, preferably, if it is a mantra of Buddhism or Yoga origin, it should be taught correctly by a teacher. The “om” is the best-known mantra and has the power to bring inner peace during meditation.
However, it is also possible to have other types of focus for attention, such as an image, melody, feeling of the breeze on the skin, breathing itself, or even on some positive thought or goal that you want to achieve. The important thing is that, for this, the mind is calm and without other ideas.
It is widespread for various thoughts to arise during meditation, and in this case, one should not fight with them, but let them come and then leave. With time and practice, it becomes easier to focus better and avoid thoughts.
Health Benefits of Meditation
With the daily practice of meditation, it is possible to perceive better control of thoughts and maintaining focus on activities, in addition to bringing other benefits, such as:
- Aid in the treatment of depression and decreased chances of relapse;
- Control of stress and anxiety;
- Decreased insomnia;
- Improved focus and performance at work and studies;
- Helps control high blood pressure;
- Greater glycemic control in diabetes;
- Assists in the treatment of eating and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Thus, even though it is a technique of ancient oriental traditions, meditation is fully applicable in everyday life to improve well-being and quality of life. Another practice that helps you relax is Yoga, which through exercises promotes the connection between body and mind and promotes a feeling of well being.