Maya’s shares with us her experience of meditation, suggesting some techniques on how to get started.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the training of the body to control the mind through breathing exercises. It’s an ancient method deriving from India and has become an increasingly popular phenomenon in the western world alongside the increasing focus on self-care and wellbeing.
Meditation is about training in awareness and understanding your own perspective and those around you. It is a mode which can help you observe your feelings and thoughts without judgement, hopefully leading to a better understanding of those feelings as well.
Meditation can be practised in many different ways, one of the most popular including breathing exercises, similar to yoga. It can also be practised through yoga, mantra (the practise of repeating a phrase multiple times), body scan, visualisation, reflection and many other ways.
Where to start?
With the bustling world surrounding me, I often find that guided meditations are the best way to start. Guided meditations help you to focus on your physical self-awareness and bring you back to thinking about your current state of mind.
There are many ways to get involved in meditation, and one of the easiest is to listen to Headspace’s guided meditations. This was where I started and I found it incredibly helpful to listen to a kind, calm voice explaining what to do and how to meditate. There are also many YouTube videos and podcasts which provide information about meditation and guided meditations for people wanting to start.
Series are also particularly helpful. Headspace: guide to meditation has different episodes with varying focuses, such as how to deal with stress, how to let go, how to deal with anger and how to deal with pain. The series Headspace: Guide to Sleep is also good to listen to before bed as it helps to clear your mind, relax your body and improve your sleep as a whole.
I’ll go on to explain how to meditate more generally further on in this article.
What are the main focuses of meditation?
Within practising meditation, one of the main focuses is the present. Nowadays, a lot of people focus more on the past, or too much on the future. Mindfulness prioritises the ability to be present and appreciate what you’re doing in that moment.
Meditation helps us to become less judgemental about ourselves and others through self-reflection. As Headspace says, true peace of mind is always there, but we first have to let go of everything that obscures such calm and clarity — our confusion, our ruminating, our expectations, our inner chatter. When you achieve calmness and peace of mind with morning meditation, your perspective changes and you may start to feel more positively about yourself and your day ahead.
Mediation reduces worry, calms your mind and increases productivity.
How do I meditate?
Start by viewing meditation as a workout for the mind, something incorporated into your routine.
It could be beneficial to start meditation practise in the mornings, helping you to set a positive tone for the day. It is normal to sometimes wake up in a bad mood and this can help a lot. Whether you wake up at 6am or 11am, 15 minutes of incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine can be beneficial, especially for the long run.
Are there any struggles when it comes to meditation?
Personally, I found it difficult to get into the routine of meditation, but there are so many ways and types of meditation that it is easy to find one which suits you. There is no such thing as a perfect meditation experience, it’s whatever works for you.
Due to the fast-paced nature of life, it can be easy to say that there is simply not enough time in the day to take 15 minutes out to simply sit and breathe. This is an excuse I would often tell myself. It might not be easy at first. Sometimes you will find yourself sitting there thinking why can’t I focus on my meditation? Why do my thoughts keep going elsewhere? I will admit, meditation does take a while to get used to.
Remember: the journey is more important than the destination.
By taking up meditation, you will come to realise just how strong your mind is in controlling your thoughts, no matter how small or big. Meditation is a good way to rebalance your thoughts and put them into perspective.
This can also make you a calmer and more collected person. Over time you will be able to see the positive effects that meditating has on your life, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
I recommend visiting this website page: https://www.headspace.com/meditation/techniques
Written by Maya Tajuddin