If you’re immersed in the yoga and wellness space, you’ve probably heard of meditation and know that it’s extremely beneficial for overall health. But how do you get started, and what should you know before jumping in?
Read on to learn why you should meditate and tips for getting started on your meditation journey.
Why Try Meditation?
Meditation has many benefits. It’s been proven through multiple studies to have an effect on the mind and body.
One study, in particular, analyzed the blood pressure of 238 employees who were split up into two groups. One group was given access to a meditation app and was asked to listen to it every day for at least 20 minutes for an eight-week trial. At the end of the trial, the group of employees who didn’t have access to the meditation app was found to have a higher blood pressure than the group who meditated. High blood pressure can mean higher stress levels. From this study, as well as others, scientists can conclude that meditation reduces stress levels, especially in an office setting.
The other benefits of meditation are:
Increased ability to focus
Lower occurrence of negative feelings
Amplified kind energy
Meditation can be for spiritual purposes and for bettering yourself. It’s practiced in multiple religions and cultures like Buddhism and Hinduism. You might want to consider meditation if you’re working on self-growth or self-love. Those who practice meditation also have an easier time staying level-headed during times of stress or worry.
If you’re ready to get started with your meditation journey, here are some action points to consider.
1. Find a spot
It’s important that you choose to meditate somewhere quiet and distraction-free. This could be a secluded area outside, a studio, or any other quiet room. You can choose to incorporate a candle, instrumental music, a mat or rug, or anything else into your practice that will encourage you to relax and focus. Once you find a suitable spot, you should also think about your position during meditation. Some choose to lie on their backs; others prefer to sit up straight with their legs crossed. Here is a blog post from Headspace, explaining four common meditation poses.
2. Catch your mind wandering
As you begin your meditation journey, you’ll find that keeping your mind from wandering is a tough task. It’s important that you catch yourself when this happens. But don’t beat yourself up over it! Even experienced yogis have to work to maintain their awareness during meditation.
Simply take note of your wandering mind and slowly bring it back to the present moment by focusing on your breath.
3. Focus on breathing
When you meditate, you are exercising your mind’s ability to focus on nothing but the present moment.
Many beginners struggle with paying attention to the here and now. Something that is always present in every moment is your breath.
Concentrating on your breathing plays an important part in meditation and yoga. Some say that it connects the body and the mind, which is another benefit of meditation.
Just like in yoga, breathing in meditation includes inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose or mouth.
Focusing on breathing is one way to declutter your mind and sharpen your focus. Another option is to choose a mantra.
4. Choose a mantra
In Sanskrit, mantra means “tool of the mind.” Mantra refers to a word or phrase that is repeated out loud or quietly during practice. A mantra can be used by beginners to practice their focus during meditation. By choosing a set of words that you connect with, you will find your practice more beneficial.
This can be a positive affirmation like “I am content in this moment.” Other popular choices are Om and Soham. Whatever mantra you choose to use, make sure it fits your goals and purpose for meditating.
For more tips on how to get started with mantra meditation, check out this blog post from Healthline.
5. Consistency is your friend
Meditation experts all agree that the best way to reap the benefits of meditation is to practice consistently. One expert, Pedram Shojai, recommends 20 minutes of meditation every day for 100 straight days. This can be a great way to start your journey. Each day, you will notice that focusing on the present moment becomes easier.
You can also choose to split 20 minutes up into five- or ten-minute increments if that works better for your schedule.
6. Helpful tools
There are so many tools available to help you on your meditation journey.
Apps like Calm, Headspace, and The Mindfulness App offer workplace meditation programs, as well as tips and articles on meditating for beginners. They also have curated playlists for focusing the mind, reducing stress, and other common goals people have when they choose to meditate.
Meditation can be beneficial to anyone who wants to try it. As long as you take it seriously and don’t quit early on, you’ll notice improvements in your mental state over time. The longer you incorporate meditation into your daily life, the more you’ll notice its impact.
Meditating can lower stress levels, impact emotional and mental health, and train the mind to focus. Establish what your goals are before getting started. This will help you track your progress, and it will give you something to center your practice around. Keeping a daily commitment and finding what works for you will allow you to master meditation. While there are so many helpful tools available, all you need to get started is yourself, a quiet room, and a goal.
So, get started today!