If you want to improve your mood, sleep and focus as well as boost your overall immunity, then look no further than meditation.
We know for a fact that fitness is an approach to training the body and just like fitness, meditation is a great way to train the mind. Though meditation is hard and needs a lot of practice, it is the best way to develop a sense of self-awareness, while being aware of your body, breath, emotions, beliefs and thoughts along with staying connected to a state of peace.
Meditation is an extremely personal and spiritual experience that requires dedication. According to experts, practicing meditation regularly helps you downshift into the body’s natural relaxation response. This, in return aids in lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate and breathing. Meditation isn’t about preventing your thoughts from wandering or disappearing, rather observing them without judgment and getting a healthy sense of perspective.
If you’re open to trying something new in order to reduce stress and stay calm; meditation might be the right choice.
Benefits of meditation
Though we are unable to control what happens around us, we do have the potential to take control of our own emotions and transform the way in which we relate to anxiety, worry and frustration. Extreme relaxation and learning to live in the present aren’t the only advantages of meditating; it is a technique that trains the mind to be present, and to be aware of our thoughts without judgement. Various studies show that practising meditation can have a positive impact on mental health: it decreases stress, anxiety and insomnia. It has been found to boost productivity by enhancing focus and creativity. Here is how you can start practicing mindfulness meditation at home.
Even taking out a single minute during the day is enough to get started. Remember the most powerful tool in meditation is to focus on our breath. All you have to do is close your eyes and inhale deeply, letting your lower abdomen expand. Pay attention to the air going into your nostrils all the way to your lungs, and then out of your body. Repeat six times, as slowly as you can. This simple breathing exercise is a nice way to ‘try out’ meditation, and takes only a moment.
Set a time
Begin slowly and set up a time of day and a place to kick off your new habit. You can either meditate in the morning before starting your day or in bed if you have trouble sleeping. You can also do short meditations as ‘mindful breaks’ throughout the day. If you a few minutes to spare, try this breathing exercise - close your eyes, and in four stages of five seconds each, inhale, hold your breath, exhale, hold your breath and repeat; it’s known as box or square breathing because of the four stages.
There is no right way
There is no defined position to practise mediation. There are people who prefer lying flat on their backs, or sitting in a Yoga pose, while others choose to sit on a chair to meditate. However, the key is to find a position where your body can feel strong yet neutral.
Create your space
It is very necessary to set up an area dedicated to meditation at home. Some people call this an altar and add plants, rocks or candles. If that’s not your thing, just pick a place in your home that is quiet and makes you feel calm.
Let it go
Remember you are doing this for your wellbeing; to feel more settled in yourself and in the world. Just let yourself sink into whatever your practice is for that day. Try visualising a calming scene, or take deep breaths. Pay attention to your body - where your legs touch the floor, how your spine feels - and listen to yourself.
Guide to meditation
The technique comes in many forms depending on your lifestyle and needs. The most common types of meditation include:
Mindfulness meditation: The easiest way to practice alone, mindfulness meditation focuses on paying attention to your passing thoughts without judging them. The goal is to observe your thought patterns, feelings, and physical sensations, so you can expect to build your awareness and concentration as you progress.
Focused meditation: Looking to cultivate more focus in your daily life? Focused meditation can help you to keep your mind from wandering. It involves using your senses to concentrate — think focusing on a specific sound or counting prayer beads.
Spiritual meditation: It is quite similar to the act of praying. This type of mediation involves seeking a deeper connection to the universe or the higher beings that one worships by reflecting in silence.