Meditation is very trendy at the moment. You might feel that everybody around you “meditates” or states “I should try meditation”. Do you wonder what it is and if you should give it a try? Let’s explore the basics together.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is different from the normal waking state. The ultimate goal is to experience the center of consciousness within.
Meditating has numerous benefits for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, including: calming your mind, improving concentration and clarity, enhancing communication, relaxing and rejuvenating mind and body…and so much more. For a detailed list of benefits, readmy post “Why you should meditate every day”.
How to meditate
Some people say that the purpose of asana is to prepare for meditation. This might be a controversial statement, and we could also consider the asana practice itself to be a (moving) meditation.
There are many styles and types of meditation, each with various effects. The simplest and easiest to start with is to sit, placing attention on breath. In doing so we have the opportunity to watch the mind’s activity. When we observe the mind, we see that we are not the mind, that we are something beyond the mind. This can aid understanding ourselves beyond the limitations of the mind.
Here are the 3 steps to practice simple meditation:
- Choose a seat. Any cross-legged position (padmasana, ardha padmasana or sukhasana). Hands may be placed on the lap or the knees.
- Keep the outer body still. Do not move. If you’re uncomfortable, next time choose your seat differently so you can sit with more comfort.
- Follow the breath. If the mind asserts itself with thoughts of future or past, simply return gently to awareness of breath. Each time we realize that we are thinking, it’s a step towards greater consciousness.
When to meditate
Meditation is a yin practice. I’d like to encourage you to play with it and explore: some of us prefer meditating in stillness after some yang activity, like an asana practice or a busy day, and some others like it just fresh in the morning. I personally love to meditate after an asana practice, as I do feel the practice helps me peel off the layers of my body and mind, and allows me to sit more comfortable: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So now, time to play! Give it a go and let me know how you feel. Spoiler: there might be some moments of frustration. Just know you’re not alone and they will pass.
Yours in stillness,
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