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If one of your goals is to improve your health, spend more time with your family or to bring a sense of calm into your life then this post will show you to how you can use the ancient art of meditation to help you achieve your goals.
Everyone wants to feel in control and on top of things yet every now and then life gets in the way. Your goals, dreams and aspirations get lost in the stream of activities which make up your daily routine. If your life is like the majority of the working population, it is easy to allow work to dominate your schedule. Personal relationships, family time and leisure time is squeezed in between work commitments, leaving little time for your body to relax and repair itself.
No Time To Rest
In the constant juggle to “make it” your health suffers. There simply just aren’t enough hours in the day to relax, to rest and recharge your batteries.
Many of my yoga and meditation students see meditation as an essential weapon in their effort to keep stress at bay and to balance and manage their complex lives.
If you struggle to fit everything in and feel anxious about your ability to stay on top of your domestic chores, look after your family and be productive at work, then the ancient art of meditation may well help you to refocus, slow down and re-evaluate the direction your life is taking.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation has been liken to gazing at the sea on a calm and clear day. If you sit at the shore and gaze beyond the horizon you see the infinity and vastness of life.
When you meditate you are able to still and quieten your mind. Your awareness is focused inwards and with practice you experience, amongst other sensations, a deep sense of calm, clarity and connection with self and with all humanity. In this state it is easier to remember your desires and forgotten dreams.
Seven Simple Steps To Start Meditation
There are many approaches and styles to meditation; here is one way you can begin to meditate.
1. Prepare your space
Find a quiet comfortable space where you can sit undisturbed for at least 10-30 minutes. This can be in your bedroom, quiet space at work, in a park or even in your car (obviously parked).
2. Choose a comfortable sitting position
This can be on a meditation stool or a cushion,sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. If your hips are stiff, you can either place a cushion under your knees or sit with your legs straight out in front of you. If you are at work or find sitting on the floor too uncomfortable, sit on a chair and make sure your feet are flat on the ground. Whether you sit on a chair on the floor, make sure you sit on your sitting bones, keep your head, neck and back in a straight line. Rest your hands on your lap. There are a variety of hand positions you can use, but a simple one is to rest your hands on your lap with the palms facing up.
3. Do a few simple stretches to release tension in the body
For example you can stretch your arms straight up above your head, place your left hand on your right wrist and gently lean to the right as you stretch your right arm; rest and repeat on the other side and return your hands to your lap; shrug your shoulders up to your ears and roll them forwards and backwards 3-5 times in each direction. Shake and flap your hands for 20 seconds, stroke down each arm and return your hands to your lap. Set your timer for 5-20 minutes
4. Become aware of your everyday breath
Slowly take 3-5 full deep breaths in and out through your nose
This helps to clear your mind and mentally prepare you to meditate. You can close your eyes or have a soft gaze. As you breathe out consciously allow your jaw, shoulders and neck to relax.
5. Stay focused on your breath for 3-20 minutes
Breathe naturally, slowly and gently in and out through your nose. Keep your attention focused on the movement of the breath through your body; beware of the rising and falling of your abdomen. Remember to keep your shoulders lowered and chin parallel to the ground. If your mind wanders and you forget to concentrate on the movement of the breath through your body, observe the distraction and then guide your attention back to your breath. So at all times your intention is to stay focused on your breath, as you inhale for a count of 4 (1, 2, 3, 4) and exhale for a count of 4 (1, 2, 3, 4). In the early stages don’t get too hooked up on counting, just stay focused on observing your breath.
6. When your timer goes off, gracefully return to the everyday breath
7. Gradually open your eyes/keep the soft gaze
Stay seated for a few more moments to allow yourself to acknowledge how your mind feels, to observe your first thoughts and slowly reengage with the space.
You will experience a range of emotions and states. Take time to recognise and acknowledge all the thoughts and emotions bubbling beneath the surface, you can write them down in a journal. The more you practice this simple meditation, the easier it becomes for you to experience moments of calm and be in control of your energy during your day.
It is in these moments of calm stillness that clarity and focus surface. You feel better equipped to do the work required to reach for your reclaim and work towards your goals.
Meditation Tip: Start your day off with a few minutes meditation- use the practice above or your own, you will feel calm, centred and cared for as you prepare for your day.
What benefits or changes does meditation make to your day? Do you feel more alive, alert and attentive after practice? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Stay blessed and thank you for pausing.
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Image thanks to premasagar