We all know someone who practices meditation as part of their daily lives. And feels good for it. But there is a lot of conflicting advice out there and not everything works for everyone. If you are serious about incorporating meditation into your daily practice. Then you should start with a few different, simple techniques and see what works best for you.
Have a look on the internet, browse through some books, even go to one or two classes. Since we all process information in different ways, it is best to look at exactly what’s on offer. What would fit into your life and is the best way of doing things for you? We know it can be confusing, so have put together a few ideas to get you started. Start by sitting comfortably, relaxing your body and mind and giving one of these a try:
Chant a mantra
Chanting a mantra is an easy way to keep the mind from wondering. Choosing a mantra to chant is down to personal preference. Om and Rama are two well-known mantras you could try. Or you could choose a more modern mantra. If you are lucky enough to know a meditation teacher, they may give you a mantra to use.
Chanting is a good starting point for meditation if you find it hard to focus. Because by repeating the mantra, you are focusing your mind. Many people use a mala bead necklace to count the number of mantras they want to complete.
Focus attention on the breath
This is another nice easy way to start a meditation practice. Start by focusing your attention on your breath. Feel your abdomen rising and falling as you breathe.
If a thought comes into your head, acknowledge it then let it go. Before bringing your focus back to your breath. If you find it difficult to focus on your breath then try counting. Count every breath up to 10, then begin again.
Once again this focuses on the breath. There are many different techniques for regulating your breathing. But one of our favorites is the 4,4,4,4 method. This entails sitting quietly and breathing in for the count of four. Holding the breath for the count of four. Breathing out for the count of four and holding once again for the count of four. Repeat this pattern a few times to feel balanced and calm.
Alternative nostril breathing is also a type of pranayama, we have a whole blog post on this if you would like to check it out.
Finally, we have sound meditation. Like the previous techniques, this one also gives your mind something to focus on. Again there are many different ways of doing this. From listening to Tibetan singing bowls or gongs. Through to the flute music of native American Indians. Even simply listening to calming ambient music. Once again the choice is yours.
A friend of ours started her meditation practice by listening to a slow, calming pop song. That had meaning to her. The song lasted a little over four minutes. And gave her enough of a boost to grow her practice and strengthen her technique. She no longer listens to anything and meditates for at least twenty minutes a day.
In short, if you want to start a meditation practice. But don’t know where to start. Give one of these methods a go and see how you get on. Remember we are all different. So what works for one person may not work for another. If you can, join a class and gather as much information as you can, to find the best way forward for you.
For more information, hints and tips why not take a look at our health and wellness, lifestyle and spiritual sections of our blog. Don’t forget to tag us in any of your meditation photos at @surrender_to_happiness.