In the United States, 14% of adults have tried meditation at least once in their lifetime.
But what made the art of meditation attractive to people in our 21st-century world? Why is everyone flocking to this practice that promises to help overcome depression, reduce stress, and promote an overall healthy lifestyle?
It is necessary to learn what meditation is to grasp these questions. So, of course, we are here to help you understand this ancient technique. Below you’ll know what mediation is and how you can start your practice.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
The purpose of meditation is to enhance awareness and attention while at the same time relaxing the body and mind. There are many psychological benefits also associated with meditation.
Even though many spiritual traditions include meditation in their practices and teachings, mediation is a technique that is not specific to any religion. Despite its ancient origins, it is still practiced in cultures worldwide to create a sense of calm, peace, and harmony within themselves. However, it is often associated with Buddhist traditions due to media, but Buddhists practice a wide range of meditation types and mindfulness practices.
During times of hectic schedules and high demands, meditation may be a good option to reduce stress, alongside a wide range of benefits. Meditation can be done in any way, although it’s essential to find the method that works for you.
WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT FROM MEDITATION
You might have an ideal picture of yourself sitting on your yoga mat, meditating for 30 minutes every day. You see the great guru meditation teachers being able to do it, so you should be able to do it, too.
We hate to break it to you. When you first start meditating, it’s not always going to be like the description above. Of course, you may find the time when you can meditate for a full 30 minutes a day, but in the beginning, this may not be possible due to our daily lives.
For a beginner, it’s best to set a time limit of five minutes or less when meditating as an initial meditation session, as this will give you a chance to learn how to quiet your mind and embrace the emotions that arise.
Another thing you should not expect from meditation is your mind will be 100 percent blank, and you will not feel your emotions. During meditation, there is no way to keep thoughts from entering your mind.
You may also find yourself experiencing a range of emotions during the five minutes of doing meditation. For example, one minute you’ll be happy, and the next, you’ll be mad at the world.
When meditating, don’t try to suppress your feelings or thoughts. Remember, the goal of meditation is the time to feel and experience your emotions. Explore why you are feeling this way and embrace the emotions.
Also, you will not levitate in mid-air, and your chakras will not swirl around you. It’ll be cool if it could happen, but it won’t. Mediation is a lot more practical than that.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MEDITATION
Connecting with the present moment is what meditation is all about. The present moment is full of richness when you sit still and observe, release, and return. Over time, with daily meditation practice, you do not allow distractions to enter your life, you free up the mind to connect with its creativity and become aware of the thoughts and feelings that flow through it.
How will you cope with these thoughts and emotions? Without being enamored or frustrated, you will merely acknowledge them and allow them to go back to where they came from, like how a wave arises and inevitably returns to the ocean.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT MEDITATION TYPES?
While there are many types of meditation, there are nine that are most popular. Below you’ll discover those nine forms of meditation:
- Sleep meditation
- Guided meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Movement meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Visualization meditation
- Progressive relaxation
Do not assume every single meditation style will be suitable for you. Performing each type of meditation requires a different mindset and set of skills. So, how do you choose the right practice?
You experiment with the one style that gains interest to you and what feels comfortable. If you enjoy your experience, then continue to practice as much as you can. You may discover you enjoy doing guided meditation while you’re going to sleep, or even that visualization meditation style is not right for you.
Maybe you would like to discover the deeper meanings of religion and practice spiritual meditation. People seeking spiritual growth or a stronger connection with a higher power or spiritual force can benefit from this practice unlike some that simply want to better their everyday lives. When figuring out what meditation practice to start with, determine which one will help you the most during this stage of your life.
BEGINNER’S STEPS ON HOW TO MEDITATE FOR THE FIRST TIME
Meditation can take many forms and ways but learning a basic meditation for beginners is an excellent place to start, with both mental and physical health benefits if it is considered a daily practice. Below are some beginner’s steps on how to meditate:
- Choose the best time of day and place where you can sit quietly, free of distractions – This could be your bed, your couch, or even out in your garden. Finding a spot that you feel relaxed in is one of the most important steps.
- Set a time limit – preferably between 5-10 minutes as a beginner
- Get into a comfortable position – Find a seated position that you are comfortable in and that you will be able to stay in for the duration of your meditation. You can sit on a chair with your legs dangling off, or you can sit crossed legged on your bed, wherever you sit and whatever way you sit, make sure it allows you to feel comfortable.
- Pay attention to your body and focus on your breathing – Pay attention to every breath as it goes through your nose and goes slowly out through your mouth. You can close your eyes to allow your senses to focus solely on your breathing.
- Return your thoughts to your breathing – After a few moments you may notice that your mind has started to wander. This is completely normal. Pay attention to how your mind wanders but try not to obsess over these wandering thoughts and gently return your mind to your breathing. This part can be a bit tricky, but it gets easier with practice.
- Acknowledge the space around you – As your session ends, try to take in the sounds in your environment, and pay attention to how your body and your mind feel. Take your time coming out of your meditative state, and take a moment to appreciate your thoughts.
When you try meditating for the first time or prepare for your first meditation exercise, make sure to turn off your phone and TVs. If you live with many people, it is best to wait until everyone is asleep or home alone to ensure no one interrupts you while you meditate. Also, to help you create a relaxing mood, turn off the lights and light some scented candles.
As you’re sitting in your spot and focusing on your breathing, you’ll notice your mind will begin to wander. Remember, the purpose of meditation is not to clear your mind because it’s eventually going to wander. So when you notice this, bring your focus back to your deep breathing.
If you have trouble controlling your breathing, we recommend starting with simple breathing exercises before starting meditating, as this will help you get more control over your breath.
SIMPLE MEDITATION EXERCISES TO HELP YOU START
As you start your practice, keep in mind you do not have to sit crisscrossed applesauce during meditation. Instead of doing it this way, try these simple meditation exercises [or styles of meditation] to help you switch your practice sometimes.
RANDOM MINDFUL MEDITATION
Download an app that can randomly pop notifications on your phone to remind you to set time for yourself for meditation. Often these apps will have a timer you can use during your practice.
You can set a timer for three minutes, and when it rings, try to take three mindful breaths. As you breathe in, feel the air entering, filling, and then ejecting from your lungs.
As you breathe out, notice the gaps between inhalation and exhalation. Through this short practice, you will gain a clearer understanding of all that is happening in your body and mind.
MINDFUL MOVEMENT FOR MEDITATION
Many people find mindful movement to be a beneficial meditation technique. Since you are likely to be walking at some point throughout your day, why not use a few minutes to practice mindfulness simultaneously?
Shut your phone off and choose what you will focus on for a few minutes. Then, you can take some time to focus on your legs and feet to notice their sensations and stretch them out for a bit.
As you walk from one end of the block to the other, you might want to check your posture by focusing on your glutes. However, remember that you must have your full attention in a mindful moment, so don’t try to cross a busy street during this time.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION?
Stress is one of the reasons why people decide to try meditation. With this hectic world we live in, everyone needs a way to destress. According to the results of one study, meditation is effective in reducing stress.
As stress levels reduce, so do the symptoms of anxiety. For example, you may have job-related stress and anxiety. One study found that employees using a mindfulness meditation app for eight weeks reported reduced distress and job strain compared with their peers in the control group.
Mediation, just like physical exercise in some forms, can improve one’s self-image and help one find a positive outlook on life. In another study, mindfulness meditation was shown to reduce depression and PTSD symptoms in adult patients.
The benefits of meditation also improve other areas of your life besides stress and anxiety. Below are some other ways meditation can help you:
- Improve memory in aging adults
- Provide a better quality of sleep
- Enhance one’s willpower
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve gut health
The best benefit of mediation is that it can help one discover their true self as a person. Thus, practicing meditation can assist you in becoming a better version of yourself, finding the best parts of yourself, giving you a positive physical sensation and enhancing your ability to love.
JOIN BUDDALIFE TODAY TO FIND THE BEST MEDITATION PRODUCTS
As you can see, meditation can overall improve your quality of health and life, improve overall mental health and more. But make sure you pick the right form of meditation that works for you and your goals. While you explore your new lifestyle, you might want some products to help you during your practice.
During your practice, try Buddalife’s Zafu meditation cushion, the Buddalife tall meditation cushion, or the Buddalife half-moon crescent meditation cushion to help you get into a comfortable position and help you enhance your physical and mental well-being. With a buckwheat hull interior that is popular in Asia for its supportive qualities, these cushions provide support to your back by lifting your hips and rolling them forward so that they align your spine with the rest of your body. They are the perfect companion for your meditation as they provide comfort whilst also keeping you cool due to the ability of air to easily pass through the buckwheat hull.
To further promote a relaxing environment whilst you meditate, we have implemented biocrystal technology into the Buddalife meditation cushions which reduces stress levels, improves the quality of your sleep, reduces muscle tension, regulates oxygen levels, and decreases the impact of EMF (Electromagnetic Fields).
Make sure to follow Buddalife to find out more on meditation an