Meditation is a term that is often misunderstood. Meditation is simply the act of purposely relaxing your body and mind to release stress to achieve a desired outcome, usually clear thinking, calm demeanor, and better health. Sound good?
Styles of Meditation – There are as many types or styles of meditation as there are people it seems, and just as many reasons to do it – purposeful imagery to draw positive energy to a specific outcome, opening the mind for particular insight or resolution, healing of a specific condition, and so on. We are not going to go that deep, rather simply learn to accomplish the basics. Once you become comfortable with this process you may want to research a bit on your own and try some of the styles and techniques that are popular these days. Our only goal in this process is to achieve focused relaxation, so feel free to accommodate any of these steps to your personal needs.
How to Meditate
1. Sit or lie on your back in a comfortable, secure spot. The floor is best, but an armchair will do as long as it is sturdy, comfortable, and you fit in it well – no chance of toppling out of it if you reach a completely Zen state.
2. Regardless of position, your goal is to expand your middle section, either sitting tall and straight or laying flat with your arms and legs gently extended.
3. Once comfortably seated (we will use ‘seated’ for the sake of this article) with your middle section gently expanded, quiet your mind. No heroic efforts needed here, it is difficult to do at first but try it. Pay attention to your breathing.
4. Place one hand gently on your stomach, the other lightly on your chest. Notice them going up and down with each breath you take. Just concentrate on feeling them, up and down, up and down.
5. Next, try to feel the air coming in and out of you. For the moment you can breathe through your nose or your mouth, which ever feels most natural for you. Once you feel a steady rhythm to your breathing, try to breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Do this several times until it feels very comfortable, natural, and relaxed.
6. The next step is called belly breathing. Try to fill your belly with air as you breathe in, concentrate on your stomach rising on inhale, falling as you exhale. Do this for several minutes, until you are able to push every stray though from your mind and are concentrating fully on the breath entering and exiting your body. Feel your entire body relax. You may feel as if you are sinking into the chair or floor; or you may feel light, as if gravity has left you.
7. Continue to breath. Your breathing may slow and become deeper. Your heart rate will slow, and stress will simply melt away.
This is meditation in its simplest form. Try to do this for 15 – 20 minutes daily, each day for a week. You should notice a decrease in any feelings of depression, a significant improvement in stress level, and a general feeling of well being. It’s worth the effort.
The information above is gathered from Project-Meditation.org,StopandBreathe.com, and my personal experience. I began meditating a few years ago in an attempt to lessen negative side effects of cancer treatment. It has since become a part of my daily routine, can’t imagine starting a day without it.