Yoga and Meditation VIII
Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. The practice comes with a myriad of well-publicized health benefits, but although a great number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, only a small percentage actually stick with it for the long-term. A possible reason is that you really need a certain mindset to make the practice sustainable.
In a previous article we had already presented some simple hints for beginners. Here we would like to go more into depth.
1) Start with slow, deep breath. Breathing deeply slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.
2) Stretching loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit (or lie) more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and brings added attention to the body.
3) Meditate with purpose. Beginners must understand that meditation is an active process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work, and you have to be purposefully engaged!
4) Notice frustration creep up on you. This is very common for beginners as we think, “what am I doing here” or “why can’t I just quiet my mind”. When this happens, really focus in on your breath and let the frustrated feelings go.
5) Experiment. Although many of us think of effective meditation as a Yogi sitting cross-legged beneath a Bodhi tree, beginners should be more experimental and try different types of meditation. Try sitting, lying, eyes open, eyes closed, etc.
6) Feel your body parts. A great practice for beginning meditators is to take notice of the body when a meditative state starts to take hold. Once the mind quiets, put all your attention to the feet and then slowly move your way up the body (include your internal organs). This is very healthy and an indicator that you are on the right path.
7) Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. Make sure it is not the same room where you work, exercise, or sleep. Place candles and other spiritual or calming paraphernalia in the room to help you feel at ease.