Let me guess, when you think of meditation you immediately picture someone sitting in the lotus position for hours repeating “Ooooommmmm”?
Am I right? I know that is what I used to think.
What is meditation?
Well my simple definition of meditation is…
“A practice that helps to calm your mind, while benefiting your body, that can be done anywhere, with your eyes open or closed, sitting, standing or lying down”.
What is meditation not?
It is not:
o A cult or religion – it is for everyone
o Time consuming – you can meditate for 5 minutes or 5 hours – whatever works for you is perfect
o Age related – it is a great practice for all ages
o Stopping your thoughts – impossible! – we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts every single day so there is no chance of stopping them
o For only when you are stressed – it certainly helps if you are feeling stressed but also a great way to prevent a build-up of stress levels with regular practice.
Meditation is different for everyone and everyone will have different experiences with each practice.
Are there different types of meditation?
YES! There are loads!
Here are 10 of the more popular types of meditation…
o Breathing Meditations
o Love & Kindness Meditation
There are so many different types of meditation and some you will love and connect with certain ones and there will be some that you do not like as much. It is important that you do not give up if you try a certain type of meditation and you did not like it straight away… Try a different meditation or try listening to a different Meditation Teacher – everyone will connect with different people and different types of practice.
When did meditation practice begin?
Meditation has a long and varied history. It has evolved over many thousands of years and the first evidence of it was found through cave paintings. It is thought that the cave man began meditating as he gazed into the flames of his fire and that this could have induced a trance like state.
How do I start?
I would always recommend beginning with simple guided meditations and when you advance more with your practice you will be able to do it independently.
How long should I meditate for?
Aim to start with 5 mins each day. The more often you practice the easier you will find it and the quicker you will notice the benefits.
Will I find it easy to meditate every day?
Not every day. Every day is a new day and sometimes you can meditate easily and for longer. Other days you will find it more of a challenge to focus on your breathing & to quiet your mind.
Even people that have meditated regularly for years find it difficult to quieten their minds some days, so be kind and easy on yourself.
Why should I meditate regularly?
There are so many benefits from meditating regularly, here are a few:
o Reduced stress & anxiety levels
o Better sleep
o Improved concentration
o Feel happier
o Health benefits e.g. can lower blood pressure & aid pain management
o Help with age-related memory loss
Is it better to meditate with or without music?
Some people prefer to meditate with music in the background. When I was training to become an accredited Meditation Teacher my tutor taught me to meditate without music. The reason being that some people will find that it is the music that relaxes them more than the meditation itself. Ideally you should be able to meditate anywhere, at any time, without any aids – all you need is you and your mind.
I will be honest and tell you it was strange at the start as I had always music on when meditating. I was initially more aware of external noises and got distracted easily, but I definitely found my practice more powerful and beneficial when I got used to releasing those distractions/noises and being more mindful in my practice.
How can I stop my mind wandering when I am meditating?
Thoughts will always distract you – some days more than others – but once you find your mind wandering for whatever reason bring your mind back to your meditation. It could be only a few times during your meditation or it could be 100 times. Keep trying to focus on your breath and if it is causing you more stress to ignore those distractions – stop the meditation and don’t be annoyed with yourself – it might be easier for you to try again later.