Meditation is simply the practice of focusing the mind. This can mean focusing on a repeated thought, or just emptying the mind of all thoughts and focusing on a sound or the breath.
The goal is to achieve peace and tranquility, both mentally and physically. Meditation is beneficial for stress, anxiety as well as sleep disorders such as insomnia.
The following exercise allows you to achieve a deep level of meditation.
Turn off the television, phones, radio and any other distractions.Come to a comfortable sitting position.
Do not lie down as this may cause you to fall asleep.
Either sit upright in a chair, with your arms at your sides, or on a pillow on the floor in a simple cross-legged position with your hands resting on your lap.
Make sure the spine is erect, with the chin dropped down slightly. You may close your eyes, or just keep them half open while focusing on one particular spot.
Make sure you are comfortable enough that you can sit still for at least 20 minutes.
Begin to relax. Try to clear the mind of all thoughts. Ignore any external distractions.Allow your breath to be deep and slow.
Begin by emptying the lungs of all air, squeezing the belly button back toward the spine, then compressing the chest. As you inhale, first fill the belly with air and allow the diaphragm to expand, then open the chest and allow the body to fill like a balloon.
This is one breath. Repeat for as many as 20 full breaths. This may take as long as 5 minutes or more.
Relax the entire body, beginning with the toes and working your way up to your head. This exercise allows all the muscles in the body to completely relax.
Begin by focusing your attention on your toes. Inhale and tighten the toes. Exhale and allow them to completely relax. Repeat this process exactly for the feet, ankles, calves, thighs, buttocks, low back and abdomen, chest and upper back, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, face and scalp.
The entire process will take around 10 to 15 minutes.
Focus the mind on the breath, and the breath alone. Allow it to be deep and slow, but not forced. To further calm the heart and mind, try chanting the word “Om” softly to yourself over and over. Do not count, just chant. Om is a yogic chant, also known as the universal vibration.
This process helps to quiet the mind and push out any distracting thoughts. Chant softly or silently for 5 to 10 minutes.
STEP 5 (optional)
If you have difficulty emptying the mind completely, use imagery to detach from the present. Imagine yourself lying on a beach in the warm sand, floating in a raft on a gentle stream, or lying in a meadow of sweet wild flowers. Use an image that helps you feel totally at peace.
For example, if you are afraid of water, do not imagine yourself floating in a stream! That would only cause more anxiety and stress. Sit quietly for about another 5 minutes, longer if you have time.
Begin to bring your attention back to the present.Gently wiggle your fingers and toes. Bring your attention there. Take one last deep breath, and then return your breathing to normal.
Lastly, open your eyes. Help yourself back up to a standing position. You are now prepared to deal with the stresses of the day!
Meditation not only provides relaxation during the session, but helps you handle everyday challenges with peaceful detachment.
The more regularly you practice deep meditation, the more you will gain control over your emotional responses to life.
1) Make sure you can meditate undisturbed. This may mean practicing early in the morning before others are awake, or late in the evening after the noise of the day has ended. Find a quiet time that works best for you.
2) It may take time to work up to a full session of deep meditation. Do not get discouraged if you can only sit for a few minutes at a time initially. Set goals and use a timer to lengthen the session each day.
Many practitioners enjoy meditation for as much as an hour in one sitting. Find a set time that works for you and your schedule.