If you’ve ever wanted to learn to meditate, but never known how to get started, this guide will teach you a simple form of meditation known as a breathing meditation.
There are so many benefits to meditation and it is so simple to do, that there is absolutely no reason for anyone not to meditate. All it takes is about twenty minutes every day to see all of the benefits.
There are numerous documented benefits to meditation and these include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Decreases tension in the body.
- Improves your energy levels.
- Increases creativity and intuition.
- Increases happiness and peace of mind.
A note on breathing
The best way to breath during meditation (and all the time anyway!) might be somewhat unfamiliar to you. This technique is known as abdominal breathing, and instead of breathing with your chest as a lot of people do, it involves breathing with your stomach.
- Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose.
- As the air comes in, allow your abdomen to expand, rather than your chest.
- Breath in for a count of four, so that at the four count you still feel comfortable.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Slowly let your breath out by relaxing your abdomen, again for a count of four.
- Start the breath again by breathing in.
How to perform a breathing meditation
- Get yourself into a comfortable position. It is best to get into a sitting position. You can lie down, but it is quite common to become sleepy during meditation and if you are tired already and lying down you might actually fall asleep! There is no need to contort yourself into a lotus position or anything like that, just make sure you are comfortable.
- Carry out a body scan on yourself. Starting at your scalp, feel any tension there just melt away and let your scalp relax. Repeat the process with your forehead and face.
- Continue the body scan by moving down to your throat, then your neck. Your shoulders are the next step and if you’re like me you might carry most of your tension here – take your time and gradually let your shoulders relax.
- When you are ready, move on to your arms and hands, then move down to your abdomen.
- The scan is nearly complete, just move the scan down to your thighs, then your calves and finally your feet.
- The body scan is now complete, give yourself a moment to just enjoy feeling so relaxed (as a side note – if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, the body scan is a great way to relax yourself so you can sleep, just lie down, perform the body scan and enjoy the feeling of relaxation).
- When you feel ready to continue, it is time to start the meditation.
- Make sure you are performing abdominal breathing and start to concentrate on your breath. Follow your breath as you breath in and your breath begins to fill your body.
- Pause at the top of your breath and, when you are ready, gradually let it out again
- As you breath, count your breaths up to five breaths and then start again at one.
- Continue this breathing for about 20 minutes (it is useful to set a timer for this – just make sure that when it goes off it is not too loud or startling!)
- When you have completed the meditation take a few moments to come back to the rest of world, and when you are ready carry on with the rest of your day.
Tips for meditating
- As you concentrate on your breathing your mind will inevitably wander. Don’t worry about it, this happens to everyone! When you realise that your mind has started to wander, just bring your focus back to your breathing and follow your breath as it goes in and out of your body.
- As you count your breaths it is quite possible that you will get distracted without realising it and either lose your count or discover that you have counted beyond five. Again, don’t worry about it, just bring your focus back to your breathing and follow your breath as it goes in and out of your body.
- Enjoy it! This breathing meditation is meant to be relaxing and there no wrong way to do it. So just take your time, enjoy the process and gradually you will find that it will become easier without you even realising it.
This breathing meditation is a great practise for anyone to start, especially they have trouble dealing with stress and anxiety. All you have to do is find twenty minutes a day for yourself, relax and enjoy yourself.