Meditation is a way to train your mind, similar to how fitness is used to train your body. You have probably heard of meditation but may not know how to begin. There are many different forms of meditation and each of these requires different skills. Meditation can have so many benefits for your overall health and mental wellness. It is absolutely worth giving it a shot. In this article, you will find a guide to different forms of meditation as well as a breakdown of the many benefits you can obtain from the regular practice of meditation.
Meditation for Concentration
When you engage in concentration meditation, you begin by focusing on one single point. You can do this by following your breath or by repeating a calming mantra or word. You can also listen to a repetitive sound. It can be difficult to focus your mind, especially when just starting out with meditation.
With this form of meditation, your goal is to continuously refocus your attention on a chosen object every time you notice your mind wandering. It can be helpful to choose a mediation card to give you inspiration to focus on during your meditation session.
Focus on improving your concentration skills by letting go of random thoughts that enter your mind while meditating. Start small and begin by meditating for a few minutes at a time, and then you can gradually work your way up to longer durations of meditation.
Meditation for Mindfulness
When you meditate for the goal of mindfulness, your goal is to observe any wandering thoughts you have as they drift across your mind. It is important to not get too involved with your thoughts or to judge them, rather, just make yourself aware of each mental thought as it arises.
By engaging in mindfulness meditation, you will be able to see how your feelings and thoughts go through your mind in certain patterns. It is human nature to quickly judge an experience and consider it to be good or bad, but by practicing mindful meditation you can start to develop an inner balance and begin to see things in a less black and white/good or bad way.
When starting out with meditation, you can choose between guided meditation or unguided meditation. Guided meditation is a meditation session led by a teacher, either in person or by video or audio. For a beginner, it can be beneficial to your meditation technique to start with guided meditation. Your meditation guide can walk you through the basic steps of meditation.
Your meditation guide will explain the dynamics of your mind and how your mind will likely respond during the meditation. Your teacher will also explain the meditation techniques you are to use, known as the meditation practice. Your meditation guide may also give you more information about how to take these principles you learn through meditation into your everyday life to improve your mental wellness on a long-term basis. You can perform guided meditation by seeking out a meditation group class, or by using an app or a meditation video you find online.
Silent meditation is also often referred to as unguided meditation. This is a form of meditation that you practice entirely on your own. You can customize your meditation experience, including the location, duration of meditation, and the degree of silence.
When practicing unguided meditation, you generally meditate without using any outside tools. It is optimal to find a quiet place that has minimal interruptions. Depending on how long you plan to meditate, you will also need a
comfortable place to sit, either on the floor or in a chair. You should choose a position that feels comfortable and start by breathing deeply in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth.
Another way to practice meditation is to do so through yoga. There are many yoga meditation classes available that you can attend in person. You can also find meditation yoga videos and audio files online that can guide you through the process.
Yoga meditation involves concepts of both art and science, giving you the opportunity to observe, accept, and understand different levels of yourself. There are many different yoga poses that you can use throughout your meditation session.
One yoga pose that is great for meditation, especially for beginners, is the Quarter Lotus Pose. This pose is a variation on the more challenging Lotus Pose. To get into this pose, you need to place your feet at the opposite calves of your legs (rather than your thighs, which is a more complex pose).
Another great meditation yoga pose is the Burmese Position. To get into the Burmese Position, you must start in a seated pose with your legs straight in front of you. Next, cross your legs with your feet on the floor and your knees open to the side. Focus on relaxing your body and strengthening your spine. Finally, put your hands on your knees with your palms facing down. Hold this position and focus on clearing your mind.
Benefits of Meditation
Many people who begin meditating have set a goal for themselves to become more relaxed. Even if this is not the reason you have decided to begin meditating, it is often an end result. Associated with relaxation, there are many benefits to meditation. These benefits include:
- Lower heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Improvement in blood circulation
- Lessened anxiety
- Lower levels of blood cortisol
- General improvement in happiness and well-being
- Lower stress levels
- Deep relaxation
There are also some positive long-term effects of meditation. These include improvement in brain and immune system function. People who practice meditation long-term often report lower levels of anxiety and stress. Additionally, those who meditate also report an easier time sleeping. A study involving meditation done by the U.S. Marines demonstrated that meditation may improve focus on the field.
According to Buddhist philosophy, the true benefit of meditation is to liberate your mind from attachment to things that your mind cannot control, like external circumstances. Another goal of meditation is to develop a calm mind with a sense of harmony.