A Practical Guide to Meditation

Almost everyone has tried to meditate at one point in their life. However, most of us remain unsuccessful and give up. In this short guide, I will give you practical guidance to make your meditation a success.

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What about my thoughts during meditation?
Observe that they are happening, no need to resolve them or try and stop them. They are a part of human nature and happen during meditation. Gently bring yourself back to the breath, the affirmations or the mantra. Simply observe your thoughts and don’t judge yourself or your thoughts. You will find the still gaps between the thoughts becoming longer and your mind getting calmer.

How should I be breathing?
The technique is not as important as the awareness of breath. When we feel stressed our breathing is generally too shallow. Count your breath as you gently inhale through your nose, 1, 2, 3, 4 and exhale slow, smooth and long . Fill your lungs with air, your rib cage expand and your stomach rise as you breathe in. Exhale just as thoroughly and let your rib cage and stomach push out all the air. Do this gently, no need to strain.

With each exhalation allow your thoughts to be released - all worries and concerns flow out of your body. Let your mind being exhaled. After a few sets, you can let go of counting. Whenever you feel like your mind has taken over, bring yourself back to your breath . This is a type of meditation in itself.

What if I am interrupted?
Resolve to return phone calls after and if you have to attend to an interruption simply go back to the meditation, or at least lie still for a few more minutes.

Where should I meditate?
Our meditations are best done in a quiet place at home. You can use some of the relaxation techniques like focusing on breath at the office, or while nature walking. This helps you come back to feeling centred during the day.

Should I lie down or sit up during the meditation?
The important part is that you are comfortable. Your body needs to be able to relax. Many people don’t lie down, since they don’t want to fall asleep and miss out on the meditation experience. So if you lie down, make it different from what you do when you go to sleep. Prop up some pillows in your bed, or lie down on a mat on the floor and on a folded towel under your sternum. Or raise your legs with a pillow, if that is something that gives you comfort.

If you are sitting, settle into a comfortable posture. Keep your alignment: torso aligned with hips and head aligned with spine. Let your shoulders relax and your arms rest gently. Feel your sitting bones supported by the chair or the pillow you are on. Let your legs be rooted to the floor.