One of the most common complaints I hear about meditation is that it sounds confusing, intimidating or difficult to learn. This couldn't be further from the truth! Meditation is actually super simple and we are going to get a whole lot more Zen with it in a minute.
But first, in case you're wondering what meditation is all about, let me give you a snapshot.
In a nutshell, meditation is the process of making your mind quieter and finding inner-stillness. It began with the Indian Vedas over 3,000 years ago and has since been adopted by Buddhist Monks and many well-known names such as Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Lebron James and Miranda Kerr.
Unlike some of the preconceived ideas you might have about meditation, you don't actually have to sit cross-legged or chant and it's not a religion either.
It's actually a really functional and scientifically proven way to manage stress and improve your health, self-awareness, happiness and productivity all by slowing down the pace of your mind.
Most people meditate for anywhere from 2-60mins a day and some meditations use a technique like breathing or a mantra but that's not super relevant as it doesn't matter how you get there, just that you get there.
What actually happens during the meditation is that you begin to enter a deeper state of relaxation (not uncommon to snooze at this point) and you start noticing the thoughts and emotions you're having (i.e regret about the past, anxiety about the future, creative thoughts, jealousy, fear, happiness). Awareness of these thoughts which cloud your mind and build stress is the first step to letting go of them.
Alright, enough explaining! Let's get started with a simple meditation you can use at home.
First off, find a comfy position. It doesn't matter how you sit (you don't have to sit cross-legged or anything). Just make sure your body is relaxed and that your spine is straight as it helps your breathing
Quick tip; when you're meditating set a timer on your phone so you don't have to check the time constantly to see when you're done. Start with five minutes and work your way up when you feel ready.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
Try to breathe through your nose if you can as this has a more calming effect on your nervous system.
Shrug your shoulders up to your ears and as you release them back down, relax your shoulders, neck and muscles. Relax your legs, feet, ankles and belly, too.
Your breath is like your anchor in meditation. Just let your focus fall on your inhale and exhale.
You will have thoughts. Thoughts about the past or the future or even thoughts about what to eat for dinner.
Don't worry about it, it's completely normal. Just bring your attention back to your breath, your anchor, when you notice you're thinking.
Continue relaxing your body and focusing on your breath. There is no right or wrong in meditation. If you have the impulse to move or follow your thoughts, just return to your breath.
As you reach the end of your meditation, choose an affirmation or intention to take with you. Something like; "As I am is enough" or "Today, I'm not going to let my challenges get to me. I will respond with grace, strength and kindness."
Take a few more breath's in and out through your nose.
Relax your body and let the tension drop from your face, head, neck and shoulders.
When you are ready, open your eyes. Gently move your body and get up slowly.
Continue on your day knowing that you just spent 5minutes investing in yourself and giving your mind and body a rejuvenating rest.
CONGRATULATIONS! You just meditated!
See, it's really not as confusing as it sounds. It's actually very simple and to reap the benefits only requires one very easy action - practice.
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