Meditation is the act of training the mind to a state of consciousness for some sort of benefit. This could be to ease health concerns, control mental illnesses, or just to clear the mind. There are numerous techniques to aid in meditation, as well as numerous forms of meditation. Here are 5 easy meditation techniques.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
This meditation technique was designed to control wandering thoughts that drift around in ones’ mind. The idea is to be aware of your mental thoughts as they arise, and see how they move in particular patterns. This is done without any judgment, and through practice you will eventually be able to judge different experiences as good or bad, developing inner balance.
Mindfulness meditation is often used in medical centers and hospitals to help people with mental illnesses. Breathing and breath awareness is an important technique that is used in this form of meditation, and it can be done lying down, sitting up, or even walking.
2. Concentration meditation
This involves focusing on one point to concentrate the mind. The point of concentration can be through sound, sight, speech or touch, through techniques such as staring at a candle flame, listening to a gong, repeating a mantra or counting mala beads. Concentration meditation focuses your awareness on something to keep your mind from wandering.
3. Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is mindful walking without a goal, being aware of each step and breath. It can be practiced anywhere and at any time of the day, and with no time restraints. Each footstep is taken slowly and in silence, creating peace and joy with each step.
4. Osho Meditation
Created by philosopher Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), this is one of the most popular forms of meditation in the west. The idea behind it is that meditation is a state of awareness that can be kept in every movement. Osho meditation uses movement to create silence and stillness of the mind. It is similar to walking meditation, except that it can be any type of movement. The idea is to let whatever happens happen, be it jumping, dancing, laughing, shouting, or shaking. However, there are stages in Osho meditation; it starts with rapid breathing, then goes to active meditation, followed by silence and motionless. It ends in dancing and celebrating. Osho meditation is usually done on groups, as opposed to doing it on your own, as it relies on the energy of others to get you to a state of consciousness.
5. Kundalini Yoga
Known as the ‘yoga of awareness’, Kundalini Yoga uses meditation as a way of awakening energy at the base of the spine to raise body awareness. Many of the asana focus on the spine and the navel, while at the same time using breath work to release this energy and let it travel up the spine.
How to Meditate
Choosing the meditation technique that is best for you is the easy part, but meditation itself is not always easy and many people need tips to help get them started. Here are 4 tips that anyone can follow:
1. Find a peaceful spot
It is important to find a quiet, private place to meditate where there are no distractions and the possibility of being disrupted is at a minimum. This can be different for everyone, as everyone finds peace in different scenarios. It could be under a tree at a park, on a beach with the sound of the waves, or even in your living room. If you have children or pets, go to your bedroom and shut the door so that you will not be disturbed.
Some people also use objects to make their meditation spot peaceful and relaxing, like candles, incense, flowers, crystals or stones. Again, this varies from one person to the next and there is no right or wrong. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and relaxed, use it.
2. Get comfortable
Most people sit when they meditate, as it seems like the natural thing to do. How you sit is very important because you want to be comfortable. You also want to be as straight and stable as you can be. The lotus pose is the traditional pose to sit in when meditating, but not everyone is comfortable sitting like this, and being comfortable is key. You can also sit crossed legged, on your heels, or in a chair. You can use a cushion, a yoga mat, or just sit on the floor. You can even sit on your bed. Choose what sitting position is most comfortable for you, so long as you are straight to allow the flow of energy. Then rest your palms on your thighs, which can be done with them facing up or down
When you turn your palms up to the sky you are receiving energy, when they’re facing down you are getting a sense of grounding. Play around with both and choose the one that is most comfortable for you and your meditation practice.
3. Become Present
Become aware of your surroundings, the sounds, and the feeling you have while in this place. Think about your thoughts and feelings and what they are focussed on. You do not have to clear your mind to meditate, you just have to be aware of where your thoughts are going. Let your mind think whatever it wants to and try not to have any feelings about it; do not let your mind engage in it, just let the thought be.
Being aware of your thoughts. Having thoughts at all means that you are clearing your mind to be in the present. People have so many thoughts going around in their head and meditation makes you aware of them and clear them out. A great way to do this is to count slowly from 1 to 10. If you start to think of something remember what number you were at when your mind when to this thought and that is your total focus time. The more you do this the greater the number will be until counting is no longer needed. This will help you to focus on the present in your day to day life, helping you to focus on one task at a time.
4. Focus on your breath
Before starting any type of meditation it is important to take a few deep breaths. Once you are comfortable and ready to start, be aware of your breathing and feel it move from your lungs until you breathe out. There is no right or wrong way to breathe when meditating; it can be done through the nose or the mouth. The important thing is to focus on it and be aware of it, as this will also allow your mind to be free.
Practice is the key in meditation, as the more you meditate the easier to will become. As well, in time you will be able to meditate for long periods of time and truly have a clear mind.