Meditation is an ancient practice that allows us to connect to our feelings, thoughts and emotions at a very deep level. This connection usually allows the mind and body to eventually be free of physical and emotional stress, and just Be. 22 minutes a day of listening to your breath can expand your horizons.
The history of meditation
Human meditation practice is traced back as far as 1500 BCE, to India. As time went by, it spread throughout Buddhist India and Taoist China, and made its way to other oriental countries, passing through a well-known historic route called the Silk Road.
By the late 18th century, the Western world was familiarized with meditation through the teachings of the well-recognized Indian-Hindu monk, Swami Vivikenanda.
Nowadays, meditation is practiced worldwide by various people of all kinds, using an array of meditation techniques.
Taking time to meditate can have a tremendous positive impact on how we manage our stress. It let’s us dig deep into ourselves and helps us prioritize – what’s urgent, and what can wait. It affects our mood and usually heightens appreciation for life.
People that practice meditation on a regular basis usually get into deep states of relaxation, sometimes to a level in which their breathing rate is lower than when they are a sleep!
How do you meditate?
Luckily, meditation doesn’t require us to purchase any fancy equipment. All you need is YOU and the willingness to sit still and travel within.
Here are a few essential tips for beginners:
Find a peaceful spot.
The beach, a forest, usually help tremendously with getting into a deep meditative state. In case the outdoors are’t available – a quiet room is a good alternative.
Set a timer.
This part is essential – you don’t want to have to worry about time during your session. 22 minutes are usually enough for one session.
Close your eyes.
Avoid visual distractions.
Find a comfortable position.
Sit on a chair or on the floor – It is important to make sure that the body is upright, but relaxed. Relax the shoulders, open the chest, rest your hands on the knees and try to soften the stomach. If you find sitting is not your thing – lying on your bed is also an option.
Concentrate on your breath.
Focus on every aspect of the breathing process – the air moving into your nostrils, into the lungs, and finally back towards the open air.
Accept the thoughts.
You will probably notice some random thoughts passing through your mind. They will come and go. ‘Accept’ the thoughts, and return your focus back to your breathing.
Ideally, you will reach the state of just breathing, sensing (without thinking) – this is a meditative state. If you don’t succeed to reach this state, remember: consistency is key to this game. Meditation is a practice, and like all practices, it takes time and effort to be good at.
When is it best to meditate?
Typically, it’s a good idea to start and end your day with a meditation session. Starting your day off with a good session of meditation can help you confront unpredictable ups and downs of your daily schedule, while staying sharp and focused.
Ending your day with a meditation session is also very beneficial and is known to improve the quality of sleep.
Short meditation sessions throughout the day can be done in times of great stress. Even 5 minutes of meditating can leave you calmer then before and ready for what the rest of the day (or boss) will bring.
Where is it best to meditate?
Meditating can be done anywhere, but the outdoors is pretty much the ideal location. Sunshine, the breeze, the sound of a streaming river, or even the sound of rain can be helpful when meditating. If not available to you, a quiet room can be a pretty good alternative.
Meditation is a great tool to incorporate to your daily routine. It can truly change the outlook of one’s life and give a sense of well-being and purpose.