Although meditation is an ancient tradition with a rich cultural history in countries like India, China, and Japan, it is still practiced worldwide and is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries as it can provide benefits such as fostering a sense of calm and inner harmony. Meditation can have several other mental and physical health benefits as well.
Meditation is more about managing your consciousness, developing awareness, and achieving peace and clarity rather than a religious teaching. While it may seem overwhelming and daunting to learn how to meditate and establish a routine, it takes less than 10 minutes a day to get started.
Steps on How to Practice Meditation
1. Sit or lie down
Find a comfortable position for you in a quiet and calm place. Eyes closed or open.
2. Set a time for meditation
It may be beneficial for you to choose a short time (5-10 minutes) if you’re new to meditation.
3. Be aware of your body.
Whether you’re sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor or laying down on your bed with your neck on a pillow, take time to notice where your body is being touched and be aware of the sensations.
4. Notice your breath.
Pay attention to the sensations of your body as you breathe in and out slowly, but make no effort to control the breath, do so naturally. Notice your chest expanding and contracting and the pressure of your shoulder shifting.
5. Observe your mind wondering without judgement.
It is natural for your mind to wander and your focus to turn away from your breathing and bodily sensations. Don’t judge yourself or overthink your thoughts. Simply observe and be aware that you’re distracted.
6. Regain focus.
Once you notice a change in attention away from the previous steps, take time to return your attention to your breath.
7. Finish slowly.
When you’re done, slowly open your eyes (if your eyes are closed). Take a moment to reflect and gain awareness of your environment. Notice anything you see, any sounds you hear, how your body feels right now, and your thoughts.
Meditation Apps You may Use
If you prefer to have some guidance while meditating, many beginners find meditation apps and resources helpful. Here are a few recommended apps:
Headspace is one of the most popular and beginner-friendly apps available on both iOS and Google Play. It has an expansive library of guided meditations while allowing the user to choose what goals and moods they’re going for.
Another meditation app that is highly recommended for beginners. It is available on both iOS and Google Play, and as the name suggests, it is designed to calm the user with background nature sounds in their guided meditations
On both iOS and Google Play, this app has over 55,000 free guided meditations, so this may be an ideal place for a beginner to start meditating.
This app is created by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center on both iOS and Google Play. This app is easy to use while containing meditations for beginners and wellness meditations designed for people with challenging or uncomfortable health conditions. This app has a download-free option by accessing free meditations through their website.
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Written by: Sean Shih