We all know someone who practices meditation as part of their daily lives and feels good about it. But there is a lot of conflicting advice out there, and not everything works for everyone. If you are serious about incorporating meditation into your daily practice, you should start with a few different, simple techniques and see what works best for you.
Have a look on the internet, browse through some books, even go to one or two classes. Since we all process information differently, it is best to look at precisely what’s on offer. What would fit into your life, and is the best way of doing things for you? We know it can be confusing, so we have put together a few ideas to help start your journey. Begin by sitting comfortably, relaxing your body and mind and giving one of these techniques a try:
Chant a mantra
Chanting a mantra is an easy way to keep the mind from wondering. Choosing a mantra to chant is down to personal preference. Om and Rama are two well-known mantras you could try. Or you could choose a more modern mantra. If you are lucky enough to know a meditation teacher, they may give you a mantra to use.
Chanting is a good starting point for meditation if you find it hard to focus. Because by repeating the mantra, you are focusing your mind. Many people use a mala bead necklace to count the number of mantras they want to complete.
Focus your attention on the breath
Another easy way to start a meditation practice is by focusing your attention on your breath. Feel your abdomen rising and falling as you breathe. If a thought comes into your head, acknowledge it, then let it go before bringing your focus back to your breath. If you find it difficult to focus on your breathing, try counting. Count every breath up to 10, then begin again.
Once again, this focuses on the breath. There are many different techniques for regulating your breathing. But one of our favorites is the 4,4,4,4 method; this entails sitting quietly and breathing in for the count of four and holding the breath for four. Breathing out for the count of four and holding once again for the count of four. Repeat this pattern a few times to feel balanced and calm.
Alternative nostril breathing is also a type of pranayama; we have a whole blog post on this if you would like to take a look.
Meditation with sound and music
Lastly, we have sound meditation. Like the previous techniques, this one also gives your mind focus. Again, there are many different ways of doing this from listening to Tibetan singing bowls or gongs, through to native American Indians’ flute music. Even simply listening to calming ambient music, but once again, the choice is yours.
A friend of ours started her meditation practice by listening to a slow, calming pop song that held meaning for her. The song lasted a little over four minutes. This gave her enough of a boost to grow her practice and strengthen her technique. She no longer listens to anything and meditates for at least twenty minutes a day.
If you want to start a meditation practice, but don’t know where to start. Give one of these methods a go and see how you get on. Remember, we are all different. So what works for one person may not work for another. If you can, join a class and gather as much information as possible to find the best way forward for you.
For more information, hints and tips why not take a look at our blog. Don’t forget to tag us in any of your meditation photos at @surrender_to_happiness.