Close up of hands meditating during sunset

A Simple Guide On How To Meditate

Meditation allows you to achieve mentally clarity, and emotional stability. Ready to create the life you desire? Get started today.

What is meditation?

Meditation is the space of physical stillness that allows you to focus on exercising your mind, stretching it to its full capacity, strengthening it, improving its endurance, increasing its flexibility. Your mind is your true core. Your entire life, who you are, what experiences you have, your perception of the world, is orbiting around it. If you want to live your best life, get your mind as fit as possible. So now you know why you should do it, let’s get right into how to get started.

The good news is that meditation is certainly not as exhausting as getting on a treadmill if you’ve never been much of a runner. But, like any new activity, it’s going to take a bit of repetition, commitment and practice to be able to do it with ease. In just 10 to 20 minutes a day over a few short weeks you’ll start to experience such a  transformation that you’ll almost be pinching yourself wondering if it’s possible that something that has become very pleasurable and is completely free, requiring so little of your time, could have such a significant effect. What’s the catch? Only this. You will not feel comfortable going back to your old self again. You are now forever on the path to progress and expansion. 

Meditation is the act of connecting to a place of quiet within you by focusing on one of three things:

  • A particular activity for example listening to your breath or the sounds of nature or calming music 
  • A particular thought such as a mantra or affirmation
  • A particular object like a candle flame or a rosary 
Woman embracing the sunset over the ocean

Why should you meditate?

This practice allows you to achieve mentally clarity, and emotional stability. It develops calmness of mind and resilience. Meditation helps you replenish your creative energy.  It frees you from the stresses of everyday living and reduces feelings of anxiety and turmoil whilst increasing your sense of serenity. Meditation is a space to let go of your baggage and feel light again. It increases your self-awareness and inspires positive emotions such as kindness and compassion. It lets you experience the spaces between your thoughts and through this you can live a less reactive life, living instead with greater deliberation and intention.  

Meditation is:

  • An opportunity to reset your thinking and your beliefs. What you believe is simply a result of habitual thinking. The space of meditation is the field of all possibilities, a field in which you can change your habitual thinking. 
  • An amazing tool to manage any type of stress.
  • A process to bring together all the elements of your desires and set in motion the harnessing of those very desires into a full physical manifestation in your life.
  • A way of experiencing your happy future and bringing it closer to you. 
  • A process to transform the mind resulting in a transformation of the body.
Muslim woman meditating on a rock

How to get started

1. Minimise external stimuli

Make sure that you can find a place where you won’t disturbed. If you’re new to meditation, you can make things easier for yourself by blocking out as much sensory input as possible. You can draw the curtains and switch off all the lights or use a blindfold to create complete darkness. If you are doing a guided meditation use headphones to block out any external distracting noises. I like to wear ear plugs if I am doing a breathing meditation, it amplifies the sound in my head, makes it easier to focus and I can connect to the breath more deeply.

2. Chose a time when you are already relaxed

When you are just starting out with meditation, timing is important to help you optimise your meditation experience. For example, you might find it a challenge to sit down in stillness and silence just after a gym class when you’re feeling pumped, or straight after work when you’re knackered and may end up dosing off. The best times to meditate are when you are already in a more relaxed state, either just after waking or just before bed time. I prefer first thing in the morning because it primes my thinking for the day and I can set my intention for the kind of day I want to have. If you have a wandering mind at bedtime that makes it hard for you to sleep, maybe it would be best for you to meditate then. You can even do both! Choose what works best for you.

3. Tie up loose ends in advance

Make sure you have attended to anything that you ‘needed’ to do so that you don’t have any excuse for cutting your meditation short. You know that quote ‘My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember everything I forgot to do’? Well, in the beginning meditation might feel like that ‘magical place’ too. If you notice your mind trying to thwart you with reminders in the early stages, consider having a notebook where you can scribble things down and then release them, knowing it’s on paper and you can attend to it later.

4. Make sure your body is comfortable

Wear something warm, comfortable and baggy. The last thing you need distracting you is your pants bunching into a wedgie or a cold gust across your arms. The weight of a blanket over your lap can help settle your legs into relaxation. Scratch any itches in advance!

5. Get into position

It’s preferable to sit while you meditate rather than lie down. Meditation requires a balance between alertness and relaxation. When you sit with a straight, upright posture you facilitate the alertness you need to stay mindful of the present moment. Lying down shifts the balance away from alertness to too much relaxation. Sitting upright, even if you are gently leaning against a back rest, doesn’t interfere with the movements of the rib cage. Lying down can limit the expansion of your rib cage and movement of the diaphragm thereby reducing the depth of your breath.

You can sit how you like – on the floor or sofa cross-legged, or on a chair with your feet on the ground, with or without a back rest. Just make sure you’re comfortable. And if you really can’t sit then lie down.

Some styles of meditating

Here are some simple ideas for how you could start with meditation.

1. Breath Meditation

This is my favourite. With practice I have learnt to take magnificently deep breaths, hold and release in long, rhythmic, utterly relaxing cycles. I use the breathing style known as Ujjayi breathing or also called the ocean breath. It’s a yogic form of breathing in and out through the nose. The mouth remains closed. However, unlike normal nasal breathing, with this technique you constrict your throat slightly and use the throat to draw in the breath via your nose. The exhalation technique is again through a slightly constricted throat almost as if you wanted to say ‘Ahhh’ to frost up a glass but with your mouth closed. It’s a slow breath and the inhalation speed should equal the exhalation. 

A simpler exercise you can try is the square breath. In for four counts, hold for four, out for four, and hold again for four before repeating. 

2. Affirmation/Mantra Meditation

Perhaps the most famous mantra of all is Om, a sacred sound and Sanskrit word that embodies the essence of the entire Universe. There is a powerful vibration that can be felt from chanting Om aloud, the vibration is the focal point of the meditation. It can also be chanted internally. You can use any mantras or affirmations that feel comfortable or true to you. A couple of examples of ones that I use are ‘the Universe creates opportunities and circumstances for the fulfillment of my greatest desires’ and ‘things are always working out for me.’

3. Object/Visual Meditation

Sitting in a quiet, dark room watching the flickering of a candle flame can be a very useful initial exercise for people who find it hard to still their mind. We’ve all felt the hypnotic, cathartic pull of gazing into fire. With a single flame you are drawn into focusing deeply and intently such that you can for a time forget your physical being and connect with your mind.

4. Guided Meditation

A guided meditation is simply following a recorded track where you listen to a voice that directs your thoughts. A great short morning meditation that I enjoy is 10 minutes to start every day perfectly. I also love Bob Proctor’s abundance meditation.

When you first start meditating, it will be difficult to still your body and your mind. Notice how you may have suddenly become the most fidgety person ever. Your nose tickles, now your braid feels too tight, there’s suddenly a curve in your back that you hadn’t noticed for thirty-five years. Your body may be going into revolt at having to sit still. But don’t let this put you off. Think of your body as a wild animal that needs to be tamed. Let your mind be in charge, and keep reinforcing the message to your body that all its itches and irritations aren’t going to interfere with your efforts. As you persevere and keep practicing, the body will succumb. It’s just like starting at the gym when you are unfit, the first few sessions you are out of breath and tire quickly, it can be uncomfortable, but as you stick with it, you get stronger and exercising gets easier and more enjoyable. 

Start meditating today, it will transform you!

If you have anything you want to ask, or if there’s a topic you’d like me to write about just let me know.

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