“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” – Sir Francis Bacon
Science has finally caught up to what humans around the world have known for thousands of years: meditation works. There are countless studies showing the many benefits of mindfulness meditation. In addition to a calmer mind, meditation can increase immune function, decrease inflammation, improve your memory, and make you a kinder and more compassionate person. And who doesn’t want that?
Meditation can seem intimidating at first but it’s available to everyone. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge in order to practice and it doesn’t require equipment or accessories. You don’t need to be on the top of a mountain or on the shores of a calm lake to find stillness within. There are no rules and, contrary to popular belief, you cannot be “bad” at meditation. The simplest meditation philosophy can be broken down to two steps: just start and keep going.
The beauty of meditation is that it can be done anywhereat any timebyany one. If it sounds too good to be true, you can try it now! There’s a simple meditation for beginner’s at the end of this article.
Much like exercise, meditation will not change your life after one session. In fact, you may not “feel” anything at all. But consistent practice will lead to a more grounded and centered version of you.
Meditation can be simple, but it’s not easy. Finding the time to sit for any period of time has always been a challenge for me. Even if it is a few minutes in the shower taking deep breaths while inhaling some of my favorite essential oils, I try to make an effort to meditate each day. In the morning I carefully choose which soap I use based on the day’s agenda. Selecting asoapbased on its infused essential oils, allows me to be surrounded by the perfect aroma while meditating. This gets me grounded and ready to start my day.
Even though it could be a challenge, always try to make time to nourish yourself. You deserve it.
- Start by finding a comfortable seated position. You can sit on a chair with your feet planted evenly on the ground or, if it’s comfortable, you can sit on the ground with your legs crossed. To help keep your spine lengthened, try sitting on a pillow which will give your hips an extra lift. Your hands can fall wherever is comfortable– maybe that means your palms are resting on your thighs or your hands are gently clasped on your lap.
- Gently close your eyes or lower your gaze to the ground in front of you.
- Without altering your natural breathing pattern, simply breathe. Focus your attention on your breath and how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice how your body responds, paying attention to the rise and fall of the ribcage, your belly, and chest.
- When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the breath. It’s inevitable that you will lose focus, become distracted- maybe even doze off! Meditation is a practice of paying attention. So without judgment or comment, simply refocus on each inhale and exhale when you notice that your attention has wandered. You can think of your mind as the sky and your thoughts as clouds, and just let them pass through.
Start by practicing for 2-3 minutes a day, gradually adding one minute to the end of your practice until you can sit for 20-30 minutes a day.