Meditation can help us relax the mind and achieve better mental focus. It can be practiced by anyone and it can be done anytime, whether as a regular practice for wellbeing or to help us prepare for stressing moments such as a work meeting or a stressful busy day.
Meditation is a way to learn how to make our mind still and calm by focusing our attention in a single point with the aim to stop our constant chatting thoughts for a short period.
Although meditation can be quite an abstract subject to explain in a few words, it can be simply summarized as being a mental exercise on focus and concentration; and although it might come across as a mystical practice, in reality it is quite simple and down to earth.
I recommend you to practice it on daily basis to achieve its full potential and to get a hang of it. This is particularly important during the beginning as it might take some time to learn deep relaxation.
During the beginning of your practice start in a quiet setting free of distractions. After some time you should be able to repeat this exercise wherever you want to. You can keep your eyes closed or open. Also, make sure that the tip of your tongue is in contact with the roof of your mouth.
Step 1: Sit down with your back up right and ensure that you are comfortable.
You can sit with your legs crossed or in a chair. You can also place a couple of pillows behind your back or rest your back against a wall. Ensure that you are comfortable and remember to keep your back upright.
Step 2: Take slow deep breaths and relax your body down from head to toes.
Proper relaxation is the key to deep meditation. Focus your breathing on areas of tension during your breathing in and release this tension during your breathing out, gradually working your way down. Take your time and remember that you will keep getting better at this as you progress with time.
Step 3: Focus on your breath coming in and out of your nose.
Focus is the key. Aim at keeping your attention on your nose at all times and observe the breath going in and out, that’s all!
You will notice at this point that your attention will try to go back into your thoughts. When this happens, disengage your attention from your thoughts and bring it back to your nose. The trick here is not to place attention on your thoughts.
Remember that practice is essential. Be consistent and try to meditate on daily basis until you learn how to do it properly. Aim for periods of 10 minutes at the beginning and gradually work your way up for as long as you want. My personal recommendation is to aim for 30 minutes to 1 hour every day.
Finally, I recommend reading Mindfulness in Plain English by Venerable Banthe Henepola Gunaratana as it answers in a simple manner the questions that can arise during your practice and gives you a clear idea of what meditation is.
Photo credit: Mitchell Joyce via Flickr