What is Meditation and Where do I start?
Meditation is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. It means focusing the mind on one point, stilling the mind in order to come into awareness of our true selves.
The human brain has the function of thinking, organizing and analyzing, so for us to think we become free of thoughts isn’t entirely true. Through our meditative process we become more aware of the thoughts and not following or reacting to them. Meditation helps us become the observer of the thoughts and not the lead actor. This is where the word mindfulness comes into play; it is defined as paying attention in a specific way. We purposely bring ourselves to the present moment without judgment, being present one breath at a time.
Mediation has many benefits on different aspects of ourselves. Physically, the heart and respiratory rates drop, the overall metabolic rate drops and has a positive influence on the biochemistry and overall health. Mentally we discover a greater sense of purpose and thinking becomes clearer and more focused. Emotionally it teaches us that we possess our own source of joy and wisdom, which we can channel the desire for contentment inward instead of looking for it in the external world. Spiritually we can slow the rush of thoughts and understand our true nature and tranquility we all have within.
To begin your meditation journey all you need is a comfortable place to sit and the intention to dedicate a few minutes to yourself. Sitting in the most common form of meditation, however there are also walking meditations and somewhere you lie down, see which one would serve you better and that can change from day to day.
If it can be established as a routine meditation becomes easier and easier, much like sleeping or digesting food, it will come naturally.
Meditations to begin with
Waves of the Mind:
Sit in a comfortable position, maybe on a folded blanket or cushion so your hips are higher than your knees. Close your eyes and observe how you are breathing, without trying to change it or judge it. Become aware of the air cool as it enters the nose and how it is warm when you exhale. Slowly allow the breaths to become longer and slower. Stay breathing like this for a few moments. Slowly imagine your mind as a surface of water, a lake or an ocean. The waves formed are your thoughts. Are they high and choppy? Are the small and slow? Now imagine a diamond at the bottom of the water, this diamond is your true self. The more agitated the water the more difficult it is to see. Allow your exhales to calm the waves of your mind until you can see the diamond shining clearly. Stay in the image for as long as you would like.
Candle Gazing Meditation:
Place a candle at eye level about a meter in front of you. Sit comfortably and come in tune with your breath as mentioned before. Begin gazing at the object without blinking. Don’t stare or gaze vacantly, just look steady without straining. Once your eyes begin to water, close your eyes and keep your inner gaze steady at the spot in between our eyebrows. Once the small flame fades in your minds eye open the eyes again and repeat. As you continue your concentration will grow deeper and your gaze steadier. At first it is normal to have unwanted thoughts, just keep returning your attention to the candle and your mind will become more focused.
So Hum Meditation:
This is one of the oldest from of meditation in India. It is a mantra that is repeated with the breath. The sound is “SO” on the inhale and “HUM” on the exhale. The inhalation is nourishing, pulling in fresh energy while the exhalation is cleansing, taking away fatigue and tension. Sit tall, pulling the waist out of the hips, ribcage out of the waist. Chin parallel with the floor, eyes softly closed and keeping the belly soft and free of tension. On each inhale silently repeat the word SO and on each exhale repeat the word HUM. If your mind wanders, that’s ok, just bring it back to the mantra.
Begin by standing and feeling grounded to the earth. Close your eyes and take your attention to your body starting from the top of your head all the way down, part by part to your feet. Begin slowly walking keeping your full attention to the sensations in your body, the foot rising, the calves working, the knees bending, the hips moving, the waist stabilizing, the arms swinging, the shoulders moving, the head steady. Continue walking slowly, being completely aware of the sensations in the body for as long as you would like. Once finished stand at ease and feel the sensation of being grounded once again.
Written by: Rebecca Quintero of Daratma Yoga Studio
To contact her, visit her Instagram profile @becaq or email firstname.lastname@example.org