You’ve probably heard about the many benefits of meditation (unless you’ve been living under a rock) – it improves health, happiness, productivity, relationships, and essentially lives you a more optimal life. But what does a meditation practice really look like for someone who’s never started one? Do you have to go to India and live in a temple for months at a time in order to learn how to meditate? We’re going to break it down for you and share some tips for starting a meditation practice that you can build upon gradually, to build yourself a happier, more mindful life.
One of the easiest ways to begin meditating is to simply focus on the breath. Find yourself a comfortable seat where you won’t feel too distracted (but even if distractions come, that’s part of the practice!), and simply watch the breath. You can count to 8 on the inhale and the exhale, or you can simply allow your mind to gently follow the breath. When it wanders away, simply bring it back. Start with 5 minutes, then gradually work your way up as you are able to sit longer.
Another technique that many people find helpful when they begin meditating is to focus on a mantra to keep their mind focused. Your mantra can be as simple as “in… out…” with the breath, or you can find an empowering statement such as “I am limitless” or even “Thank you” to focus your mind on.
When we align our breath and focused mind with movement, we can enter a deeply meditative state. This kind of meditation can be great for people who tend to interact with the world kinesthetically. You can start a slow walking meditation by moving in a circle, focusing on the breath and simply on the movement of one foot in front of the other. Allow your movements to flow with the breath, so one step with each inhale, one step with each exhale. Yoga is another great way to link movement with mediation. Find a yoga practice that you resonate with, and allow this to be your time to set your wildly chaotic thoughts to the sideline. When you focus on the breath and how it moves your body, you become linked to the present moment and develop a deep and powerful mindfulness that you can bring into the rest of your life.