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How to meditate properly

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Meditation is a simple practice of sitting still and understanding the interplay of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. It lowers your stress levels, makes your mind calm and mindful, plus it has long lasting benefits like improving focus, bringing clarity and promoting peace and a feeling of compassion towards self and others.

What is meditation?

Mindfulness meditation involves paying attention to the breath as it comes in and goes out. It involves noticing when your mind starts to wander during this practice. Mindfulness meditation or the task of bringing your awareness back to the breath builds muscles of mindfulness and guides you to return to and remain in the present moment.

Why should you meditate?

Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Is that what your schedule looks like?

You need to press pause and declutter your mind to increase your mind power, maintain control over your emotions and learn to respond rather than react. To understand how exactly the mind works, you need to learn how to meditate.

Meditation gives you a chance to evaluate and realign your own thoughts. Hence, starting with guided meditations for a few minutes daily boosts your mind power.

Here are top 5 reasons to meditate:

  1. Improve focus
  2. Reduces stress
  3. Brings in clarity
  4. Boosts creativity
  5. Enhances memory

How to meditate?

Unlike what most people think, the practice of meditation is not tough. It merely requires you to be consistent enough to devote just 10 minutes a day for an enhanced mind power.

The best way to meditate is by listening to a guided meditation since your mind is quick enough to return to the breath through the instructions even if it starts to wander.

To get started, find a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed and where you won’t get interrupted during the duration of your meditation. Now, follow these steps:

1. Take a seat

Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight but not rigid. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor or if you want, you can sit loosely cross legged.

You can play meditative music or calm, repetitive tunes to avoid being distracted.

2. Decide how long you want to meditate

While it is recommended that you meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes everyday, beginners can start by doing as little as 5 minutes once a day.

Try to stick to your time. Don’t just give up thinking that it’s not working. It will take time for you to achieve successful meditation. Set a gentle alarm to remind you when the time is over.

3. Follow your breath

Close your eyes if you want. This helps you to avoid visual distractions.  Now, simply pay attention to your breath- how it comes in and goes out.

4. Observe when your mind starts to wander

Within the first few minutes of the meditation practice, your mind will start to wander. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently bring your awareness back to your breath.

5. Don’t be self critical

Don’t judge yourself or get carried away by your thoughts when your mind starts to wander. Simply come back to your breath.

6. Conclude with kindness

Whenever you’re ready, slowly wiggle your toes and fingers and gently open your eyes. Notice how peaceful you feel at this moment. Notice your body, your emotions.

Mindfulness meditation practices

Body scan

The point of body scan meditation is to check in with your body by focusing on each body part. The main rule is to simply notice the feeling of being in your body without any judgements or worries.

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  2. Start with your toes. Concentrate on the sensations present there and make a conscious effort to relax any tension you might be feeling in your toes.
  3. Then, move upwards and try to feel the sensation in your feet.
  4. Bring your awareness to each body part up to the crown of your head. Spend as much time as you want to focus on each body part.
  5. On completing the relaxation of each body part, bring your awareness to the entire body and notice how light and relaxed it feels right now.

Whenever you notice that your mind has wandered, just bring your attention back to the part of the body you last remember focusing on.

Walking meditation

Walking meditation involves noticing the feet's movement as you walk and becoming conscious of your body's relationship to the earth.

It helps you be more self aware, get better sleep, achieve mental clarity and boost your mind power by establishing a mind-body connection.

  1. Look for a safe and distraction free space where you have enough room to move comfortably. You can walk on the road, in a park or at home.
  2. When you start to walk, pay attention to how your feet and legs are moving rather than your breath.
  3. Take 10 to 20 steps in a row, moving slower than usual. On reaching the end of those steps, turn around and walk back the same way at a slow pace.
  4. Notice the sensation in your legs as you walk. When your mind starts to wander, simply acknowledge the thought and bring your mind back to the feeling of your steps.

Pay attention to your speed and posture while walking. Walk with poise, keep your spine straight and your leg muscles relaxed. You may find it challenging at first but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

Visualization

This meditation practice involves imagining and creating a peaceful place in your mind, then exploring it until you’re completely relaxed.

  1. The place you visualize could be anything you feel peaceful at- a quiet forest or a comfortable place in a room.
  2. Relax and let the details of your surroundings come to your mind.
  3. Observe the sight, sounds and smell around you. Enjoy the place as long as you want to.
  4. Whenever you’re ready, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes.

Loving-Kindness meditation

This meditation is done to practice reminding yourself that you deserve peace and happiness and that goes for everyone else out there.

  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.
  2. Imagine feeling extremely well, physically and emotionally. Imagine thanking yourself for everything you’ve done. Inhale love and exhale dullness and all the worries.
  3. Repeat three or four positive phrases to yourself like-

• May I be happy.

• May I be safe.

• May I be healthy and peaceful.

• May I live with ease.

Next, spend some time feeling kind and compassionate towards yourself. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to these feelings of loving kindness. After doing this, you can also bring your loved ones into your awareness and feel your love and gratitude towards them one by one.

Meditation vs Mindfulness


Imagine your favourite food. When you eat it, you take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it. That’s mindfulness.

When you’re fully present, aware of where you are and what you’re doing, without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going around you, you are mindful.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of training your attention and awareness to stay mindful all the time.

Final thoughts

Hope you’ve got your answer to how to meditate. When you’re just starting out, don’t expect your meditation practice to be perfect. Focus on the experience itself and view it as a journey rather than the goal. As long as you feel calmer and happier after meditation, the purpose of meditation is fulfilled.

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