Meditation is defined as a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus, and awareness. Meditation is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body. The practice is usually done individually, in a still seated position, and with eyes closed. Mindworks (a non-profit group of mind trainers) notes that a lot of things in life are beyond our control, but meditation can help give us greater control over our actions and how we respond to the situations we find ourselves in. Meditation helps to cultivate awareness of how the mind works and the ability to maintain focus.
Meditation is for all genders and ages. There are many different meditation styles but most of them follow the same steps. . A quick how to meditate guide is as follows:
- Get comfortable- sit in a way that is accessible to you, seated in a chair, or legs crossed on the floor, or even lying down.
- Focus on your breath- notice where you feel your inhales and exhales (the nose, chest, or belly) and follow the rise and fall of your breath
- Notice when you are lost in thought- when you notice your mind wondering off, see if you can shift your attention back to the simple breath in and out technique
- Treat yourself kindly- how you speak to yourself in the moment when your mind wonders is an essential part of the practise. Be kind and begin again.
The following video by Aileen, a lifestyle blogger who goes by the name of Lavendaire. She explains the many benefits of meditation as well as a quick ‘how to meditate’ guide:
There are multiple benefits of practising meditation. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions. Meditation provides a range of emotional benefits by reducing stress. Additionally it has also been known to help with certain medical conditions (especially those aggravated by stress) such as asthma, anxiety, depression, insomnia and more.
Although the practice has ties to many different religious teachings, meditation is less about faith and more about altering consciousness, finding awareness, and achieving peace. These days (especially amidst a global pandemic) there is a greater need to reduce stress in the midst of our busy schedules and demanding lives, meditation is increasing in popularity.
There are many different types of meditation that can appeal to every person. You can find out which style would best suit your needs by doing some simple research online. The nine most popular types of meditation are:
- mindfulness meditation
- spiritual meditation
- focused meditation
- movement meditation
- mantra meditation
- transcendental meditation
- progressive relaxation
- loving-kindness meditation
- visualization meditation
Additionally there are many meditation apps available on both Android and Apple to help you get started on your meditation journey. Meditator Jon Andre’s quote is apt when he says that “the goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting your thoughts control you.”