All About Meditation: How To Do It And What Are The Benefits?
What Is Meditation?
Meditation really is a technique to understand yourself better, meditation is your journey to self-awareness and consciousness.
In meditation, you achieve both mental and emotional calmness, which helps you attain a focused and attentive state of being.
Meditation may well be your answer if you want to get rid of your anxiety and stress. It helps in veering the negative thoughts away.
But before we go deep into the benefits, it is important to understand what meditation is. Whether you are a complete beginner or someone who is looking for a better understanding of Meditation, this guide is for you.
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The Process of Meditation
The process of meditation is not as complicated as it seems. It is a simple act which is designed to help you relax.
For beginners, it is important to start slow. Beginning without too many constraints of time will help you get used to the process more.
You can meditate anywhere, at any time, and that too without any special types of equipment. The accessibility of meditation will help you make the most out of it.
As long as you are in the process of making it a habit, how long you meditate is not an issue. Meditating at least once a day will help you to be regular with it. So, what is the process of meditation?
Step 1: Find Your Place
Find a place that you are most comfortable with. The quieter, the better.
Step 2: Decide the Time Duration
5 Minutes, 10 Minutes, an hour. It completely depends on you. If you are a beginning or a first-timer, choose short durations.
Step 3: Taking a Comfortable Position
Listen to your body when taking a position to meditate. You can sit on a chair or mat. With legs open or crossed. All is good as long as you are comfortable sitting in that position. Make sure you can stay stable in that position for a long time.
Step 4: Feel Your Breathing
Arguably the most important aspect of meditation. Feel yourself inhale and exhale, as the air goes in and out.
Step 5: Be Aware of Your Thoughts
As volatile as our human minds are, the mind will wander off to other thoughts. When you realize you are thinking about other stuff and not focusing on your breathing, just move your attention back.
Step 6: Take it Easy
Don’t be hard on yourself. It is natural for your mind to shift its focus to other things. Rather than being anxious about it, just bring it back with kindness and understanding.
Step 7: Finishing It Off
When you want to end the session, it is time to slowly open your eyes (if they are closed), and take in the surroundings. Notice the environment you are in. It is time to also consider what you are thinking after meditation, and what you feel.
This is the easiest way to meditate at home or the place of your preference. However, we will understand the types of meditation as we go by. For now, let’s understand why meditation is helpful for us, and what benefits it will bring to your life.
Benefits Of Meditation: Why Do We Meditate?
Meditation will help you create a comfortable place in your mind. It isn’t claiming to be an all-out cure to your problems but it can help with a lot of things.
As we mentioned above, it will sure help to take away your anxiety and stress. Apart from that, there are long-term benefits of meditation.
Not only do these benefits help you in getting peace of mind at an arm’s length, but can also help you to make your life better.
Meditation will help you get to know your feelings better, without judging them. You will be closer to knowing yourself than you have ever been.
This is your birds-eye overview, though. Let’s see how meditation helps in changing our lives in detail.
Here’s Why You Should Meditate
Once again, there are several long-term benefits when you include meditation in your daily life. With some patience and dedication, you can bring a lot of positive changes to your mind. More than that, it also teaches you to be kind to yourself which is an important aspect in the journey of finding yourself.
A Better Understanding Of Yourself
When you clear out the outer noise, you are bound to get close to yourself. The first and foremost benefit of meditation would be better self-awareness, self-understanding. If you are going through tough times, or cannot pinpoint where the problem is, meditation can help!
Meditation will let you know about some harmful thoughts. Without your knowledge, there may be some thoughts you may be harboring that are likely to hurt you. It is essential to get rid of them for a better quality of life. Not only that, but it may also help in coming up with ways to cope with them.
Lowered Stress And Anxiety
The most known benefit of all, meditation and mindfulness will help you fight anxiety and stress. Both of them are omnipresent in modern life. Increased stress and anxiety release hormones like cortisol in our body. Disturbances in sleep, high blood pressure, and fatigue are common results of increased stress.
Meditation will help you fend off the harmful effects of stress and anxiety. Those who are suffering from anxiety disorder have been found to benefit from meditation. It also helps in the management of stress and anxiety which is induced by the pain of any kind. In short, it is a tool for your comprehensive well-being.
A New Perspective To Situations
It is not all about the stress-reduction. When you know yourself better and understand yourself in certain ways, it will help you develop a new perspective towards the situations. If you are going through tough times, meditation will help you get a new vantage point.
With new perspectives, there may come new solutions. Thus, meditation will help you manage your stressful situation better. The better management of the situation will lead to better decisions and eventually, to success.
Increased Tolerance And Patience
Meditation helps you in healthily tolerating your pain. People who meditate have proven to show less sensitivity to pain compared to those who do not. Meditation helps you in taking the objective decisions that are best for you, rather than decisions based on the experience of pain.
Also, it helps in attaining the greatest virtue of all time, patience. Patience is the key to many doors of opportunities in life. As meditation helps you in connecting with the present moment, it helps you understand the value of keeping patience at the right time according to the situation.
Improvements In Attention Span And Focus
In modern times, the attention span of a regular human being is often criticized. With the rise of the visual content and every information a click away, the information retention and focus have taken a hit. Meditation will help you get that back. It will lead you to an optimized way of consuming information and learning.
An increase in focus ratio will also help you understand your surroundings better. A focused mind will always help you achieve more than a mind that wanders around every 5 seconds or so. The best thing about meditation is, you can spare 5 minutes, and it can help you increase your attention span and focusing abilities a lot!
Clarity Of Thoughts And Less Mental-noise
Spending time with yourself and focusing more on the present is bound to get you some clarity of thoughts. As we mentioned above, objectivity is the key to making important decisions, and meditation can certainly help you achieve that.
The Mental-noise or mental-chatter is also referred to as monkey-mind sometimes. As the name suggests, it is a state of scattered thoughts in your mind. Modern life and the layers of it can bring a lot of voices and conflicts to your mind, cluttering it with a plethora of options. Meditation will help you untangle it all.
Now that you know the benefits, it is time to know some meditation techniques for beginners.
Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners
For beginners, meditation can be intimidating. They always know what is meditation and how to do it, yet there are some obstacles when it comes to committing.
If you are also one of those beginners who are just getting into meditation, we have some great techniques for you.
Here are three of the best meditation techniques for beginners. You can start with any one of them without worrying.
However, keep in mind that you should understand your requirements and abilities first, and follow that. In the longer run, convenience will win.
Some of the best beginner-friendly meditation techniques are:
1 Minute Meditation | Focus on Breathing
This may not sound much, but it’s a blessing for the new-comers. When you are just starting to get into the feel of what is meditation, the 1-minute meditation is your perfect first step. It consists of standing and sitting on your feet, scanning your body, and connecting with your breathing.
In simple words, take a position that is convenient for you, and start the meditation by paying attention to your breathing. In, and out.
10 Minute Meditation | Learning to Concentrate
A 10-minute meditation is a slightly longer version. Here, apart from breathing, we will also concentrate on our posture, surroundings, and thoughts. As the time-duration is more, our thoughts will have enough time to wander off, compared to one-minute meditation where we only focus on breathing.
Here, we will make sure our posture is up-right yet not stiff. You need to make yourself aware of your surroundings. Whether you are sitting on a chair or mat, your feet are touching the ground or not, and so on. Another important factor to consider is your thoughts. After a few breaths, your mind will start thinking about other things. This is the time you need to make a note of these thoughts and bring back your attention to breathing.
15 Minute Meditation | Understanding the Restlessness
This is the longest of all the beginner meditations you can try. At 15 minutes, it has all the elements of the two techniques mentioned above. Now, it is time to dive into the emotional aspect of meditation. When you notice the breathing and your body for a certain amount of time, you are likely to feel a surge of emotions.
Apart from that, some physical discomforts may also creep up. Without pushing yourself too much, this is the time to acknowledge the feelings, emotions, and discomforts that you are feeling. This acknowledgment is essential to expand your awareness. This will only take you one step closer to knowing yourself and your emotions better.
This is where you can start with. But there are several other types or ‘styles’ of meditation you should have a look into, according to your requirements:
Types of Meditation: What is Right for You?
Before you dive in, it is important to know what is the best-suited meditation for you.
Knowing which type of meditation is for you will help you get the maximum benefits out of the activity.
This list is for you if you are just beginning to meditate and do not know where to start. Depending on your needs, you can pick one and see if that is the right kind of meditation for you.
It is also important to know there are several other types of meditation other than the ones mentioned below. In this list, we have tried to cover the essence of most of them.
Here are types of meditation for you.
This would be the most famous meditation type of all. Mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhist teachings. As the name suggests, you pay attention to thoughts passing through your mind.
It is important to not judge the thoughts, however. The goal of mindful meditation is to observe them and see the repeating patterns. This will help you with concentration and awareness.
This is the most popular type of meditation as it would not require any special guide or teacher to walk you through.
Spiritual meditation is more prominent in the Eastern culture, as opposed to mindfulness meditation which is popular in the west.
In spiritual meditation, you pay attention to the silence around you and try to connect with a higher entity. Your higher entity can be a God, or simply the universe itself.
Some forms of Spiritual Meditation also make use of essential oils. It can be performed at home or temple (any place of worship). For those who love silence, this is the best type of meditation.
As you may already know, there are five senses we use. Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch. Focused meditation is about these senses.
You can use both internal and external elements to focus on. Mala beads, gong, and candle flames are popular elements for that. You can also focus on your breathing, which would be considered an internal factor.
This is the best type of meditation for those who need extra focus in their life. For some, this may be a hard type of meditation, to begin with
As the name suggests, movements are included in this type of meditation. You simply go where the movements guide you. If you like moving around rather than sitting in one place, this is for you.
Most people mistake it for yoga, which is not entirely true. Movement Meditation can include walks, gardening, or anything that includes fluid, gentle motions.
A little different from the other types of meditation, this one is about finding peace in the actions, movements. The thoughts might wander off at times, but that is acceptable.
Mantra is a repetitive sound that you can use to clear your mind from fleeting thoughts. This is prominent in both Hindu (as Dhyana) and Buddhist cultures, where you often find people chanting Mantras while meditating.
It can be a word, phrase, or a simple sound like ‘Om’, which also helps in unifying your breathing patterns. It does not matter if it is spoken loudly or like a whisper. Mantra will help you in getting in sync with your environment.
People enjoy Mantra meditation as it helps them focus quite easily, and it is less silent than the other forms of meditation.
A very closely related type of meditation to mantra meditation, Transcendental meditation also uses a mantra to get you in the ‘zone’. Generally, meditation is practiced for 15-20 minutes, twice a day.
It is taught by a teacher or a Guru, each of them can use a different mantra specific to themselves. This method was popularized in the west by several celebrities. Many people consider this a non-religious meditation technique that helps in stress-reduction and self-development
It is believed that Transcendental meditation is for the people who are serious about meditation and continue with it for a long time.
As the name suggests, this technique is used to relieve tension from your body and make you feel relaxed. It is also called body scan meditation.
At times, you will slowly tighten your muscle group and then release the tension slowly, throughout the body. Alternatively, you can also imagine a wave flowing through your body, relieving the tension.
This type of meditation is best when done right before you go to sleep, as it may help you unwind the tension and stress.
Loving-kindness meditation is all about opening yourself up to receive love and kindness from yourself and others. This works best for the people who are feeling some anger and resentment.
In love-kindness meditation, you strengthen the feelings of acceptance, compassion, and kindness. It helps you in understanding the love and well wishes your friends and people close to you have for you.
This is not about receiving only. It also includes wishing well to others and reciprocating the compassion that you are receiving from them.
For those who are willing to boost their mood, feel confident, and find inner peace in the process, this is the type.
In the visualization method, you will imagine a calm and positive scenery or image. Then it is about trying to be in that place with all your senses. You can fill in as many details to your happy place as you want.
Some forms of visual meditation also promote visualizing yourself achieving what you wish for, with focus and motivation.
These are the widely known types of meditation you will come across. However, there are some other types in Buddhist, Chinese, and other cultures. Here is all you need to know:
Some other types of Meditations include:
Noting – includes you taking the notes about what is distracting your mind.
- Skillful compassion – involves you focusing on the love you receive from a specific person and understanding what you feel in your heart.
- Reflection – includes reflecting on specific questions and understanding how the answers make you feel. Example: What is making you restless today?
- Zen meditation – Being in the moment, breathing from your stomach. A Buddhist technique.
- Taoist Emptiness – involves not following a thought when it comes up, and not taking any emotions or feelings.
- Yoga – Using yoga for meditation, such as Kundalini Yoga or Shavasana (the corpse relaxation pose)
- Vipassana – Concentrating on certain aspects of existence and contemplating on them. Those aspects can be the stress you feel, pain, emptiness, or dissatisfaction.
- Chakra – aim to keep the core chakras aligned. They are believed to be the centers of energy for your body.
- Qigong – A Chinese method similar to yoga, used to harness energy through your meridians (energy pathways).
Now that you are familiar with most of the types, we have some tips and tricks to share with you, if you are just getting into the world of meditation.
10 Tips & Tricks for Beginners
Meditation is not complicated.
If there were only one tip to give, this would be it. However, we have many and we will be sharing them with you below.
But yes, meditation is not rocket science and it is very easy for beginners as well.
The tips given below will help you in developing the habit of meditating daily and form a discipline.
Yes, anyone can meditate and we are about to prove that. Here are the best tips to practice every day:
- An Open Mind Will Help
Even before you begin, it is important to know that meditation will not fix everything at one go. It is a long-term process with long-term benefits. Patience is the key.
- Get Your Clocks Right
Now, to develop a habit, try to meditate at the same time every day. Decide on a time and stick to it.
- Where You Meditate Counts
Same as the time, the place you meditate is also important. Find a place where you are most comfortable and will not be disturbed.
- Don’t Rush It
It is not always possible to jump right into meditation when you start. Allow yourself some time to clear off your mind. It’s okay. Take a few deep breaths to begin.
- Learn to Be Still
This is the part beginners struggle with the most. Try not to fidget and move too much. Though it is not advisable to be harsh on yourself. The trick here is to start with a position you are most comfortable with.
- Remember to Breath
The core idea of meditation revolves around breathing, and breathing is what makes it easy. Even when the mind wanders or thought arises, just remember to come back to breathing. You are good to go.
- Learn to Let Go
Be easy on yourself. Naturally, your mind will take a stroll with other thoughts. Don’t bash yourself up over that. Just gently come back to breathing and focus on that.
- Notice the Emotions
Rather than being harsh on yourself, acknowledge the thoughts and feelings coming to you. Some days you will feel happy, some days it will be a downer. Both are possible and both are part of the package. This will eventually lead you to self-care.
- Call It Off Slowly
Once you are done, lift your eyes slowly and take in the surroundings. Slowly get in touch with the environment you are in. This slowness will help you be in the moment a little more, rather than concluding your session in a hurry at once.
- Try to Stick To The Routine
Even if you don’t feel like it after one session, try to come back the next day. It is important to make a routine for meditation to work. Did you know? The benefits of a long-term meditation are similar to vacation for your mental health. Don’t give up.
Hope these tips will help you meditate daily. If you still have some questions about meditation, here you go:
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Much Should I Meditate?There are no specific time limits for meditation. Even if you do it for five minutes, it is good. Just make sure you do it regularly.
- Should I Breath Deep Or Fast?You should be breathing at a speed that is comfortable for you. Do not worry about the pace.
- Can I Move While Meditating?Try to be as still as possible. But if there is a strong discomfort or itch, you can attend to it. No worries.
- While Meditating, Should My Eyes Be Open Or Closed?Again, see what works best for you. If your eyes are open, try not to focus on anything in particular and keep them softly open. If you shut them, don’t keep them tense.
- Should I Meditate Alone Or In A Group?Both are great. A group can be extremely supportive or extremely disturbing. See what works for you the best.
- What Is The Best Time To Meditate?Whatever time you can take out from your day, works. Try to stick to the time you decide upon.
- Do I Need To Stick To A Specific Type Of Meditation?No, there are many types of meditations to choose from, and whatever you want out of your meditation will decide the style you will go with. You can change, mix and match, as long as you feel it working.
- Can I Walk While Meditating?Yes, you can. Movement Meditation is a type in itself. As long as it helps you, you can.
- How To Stop The Thoughts While Meditating?The truth is, you cannot. However, you can train yourself to bring your attention back to breathing. Do not be harsh on yourself if thoughts are arising. The whole goal of meditation is to know yourself better.
- How To Stop Visualising?When you close your eyes, there are chances that you will visualize some of your thoughts. Visualizing can be a part of your meditation. But if it distracts you, try not to control them too much. Acknowledge it and keep breathing.
- How Do I Know If I Am Meditating Right?If you are not happy with your results, try changing your style. However, it is important to remember we are not expecting quick results and meditation can take time to feel ‘right’.
- Can I Listen To Music While Meditating?You can listen to music that helps you in clearing your mind. However, silence is the most preferred by many.
- What Should I Do If There Is A Pain?In the beginning, sitting upright may cause some back pain, or in other muscles. You can sit on a chair or experiment with your positions till it feels right.
- Are There Specific Meditations For Specific Situations?As said before, meditation is not a quick-fix for anything. Go with what helps you calm down and focus. However, there are specific meditations for specific outcomes as listed above.
- What Do I Do If I Find It Hard To Meditate After A Few Days?As with any habit, meditation takes time to be developed into a habit. Focus on what you want and come back to meditate day after day. With time, it is likely to get easier. Use the tips and tricks we have mentioned above.