Are you interested in starting a meditation practice? Have you found yourself getting frustrated at previous attempts? Don’t think meditation is for you? Keep reading!
What is meditation?
With the earliest documented records of meditation dating back between 3500 – 5000 BCE, meditation is well known for its wide range of benefits.
Simply put, meditation is the use of mental concentration practices often used to achieve a clearer more conscious mind.
The benefits of meditation for beginners
Through focusing our attention on for example, our breath, a mantra or counts, we are able to return ourselves to the present moment and leave less space for the ‘mind chatter’ to take over. Here are 5 key benefits of a regular meditation practice:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased focus and concentration
- Mental clarity
- Better self-connection & understanding
- Improved slee
It’s no wonder more and more people are turning to mediation as a tool for managing stress and anxiety, as well as being recognised by an increasing number of health professionals all over the world as a way to support the many of us living with and / or experiencing mental health.
Have you previously tried meditation but struggled to ‘clear your mind’?
This is one of the biggest myths associated with meditation… taken literally, it’s just simply not possible. Our brains are these incredibly powerful, squishy things that generate 1000s of thoughts throughout the day, and that’s not including what our subconscious gets up to. The aim of meditation isn’t to completely get rid of our thoughts, they will always be there.
Meditation actually allows us to become more aware of our thoughts, in a healthier more controlled way. By allowing them to come and go, we are able to acknowledge thoughts without the need or pressure to take immediate action.
Things you can do to help maintain a meditation practice
Starting a meditation practice does not have to be complicated. We at Yash have come up with a few tips to help you start (or return to) your meditation journey:
Create YOUR space: Take some time to create a space dedicated to you and your practice. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant (although if you have the means and would like that for your space, go big!), but something that will help bring about an extra sense of calm within you.
Add extra cushions and blankets, and light your favourite candle. Our Joy candle is perfect for a little uplifting, or for those after a little more grounding, Noir is the match for you. Or it may even be somewhere that already has a special meaning to you.
Reduce distractions: We know it’s not always possible to completely shut out noise and distractions. You may live on a busy road or maybe you have a full and vibrant household. If so, try putting on some relaxing music or sounds, using that as your point of focus, drowning out as much of the background noise as you can.
NO JUDGEMENT. One of the best things you can do for yourself when starting meditation is just allowing yourself to arrive to the practice as you are. If thoughts pop up, let them, and then allow them to fade away, if you find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time, that’s ok. If there are days where you can only manage a few seconds of meditation… that is ok too. It’s a process. Be patient with yourself and avoid placing expectations on how it should look or feel in the moment.
Explore what works for you. There are so many different practices available out there, some of which you may love and others you may struggle with. Utilising guided meditation for example, can help to relieve some of that pressure you may be (unknowingly) placing on yourself.
A simple meditation practice for beginners (and everyone else!)
Find a comfortable position, ideally seated but if laying down resonates more with you today that’s absolutely fine too (just check in every now and again to make sure you haven’t fallen asleep!).
- Take a nice deep breath in through the nose and exhale out fully through the mouth. Repeat this twice more to help cleanse and reset the breath
- Now, breathe in through the nose for 4….3….2…1
- Exhale through the nose for another 4….3….2….1
- Continue repeating steps 2&3, counting silently to yourself
Feel free to close your eyes to bring an extra sense of turning inwards and connection to yourself.
Congratulations! You’ve just kicked off your meditation practice 😊
Over the next 7 days, repeat the above as soon as you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed for as long as you can.