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Meditation for Beginners

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation is an effective practice to supplement your healthy lifestyle and exercise. It can be used for a wide range of purposes and has many health and lifestyle benefits. Many people around the world begin every day with meditation and here is your chance to find out a little more about this ancient art.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is often described as the transformation of the mind and uses techniques to encourage and develop concentration, emotional positivity, calm and improved clarity in your life. Meditation can teach about mindfulness, self-reflection and other valuable traits including patience, inner peace and improved mental wellbeing. It involves spending time alone and carrying out specific breathing techniques, discussed in more depth below.

Why is it good for me?

The benefits of meditation are plentiful and cover everything from short-term benefits to your nervous system to general meditation. Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response has been researched and studied for many years and has shown that meditation can lead to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, a slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, less stress and more feelings of wellbeing. 

How do I get started?

There are many types of meditation you can try but here is one simple way of getting started, focusing solely on your breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable, quiet place and sit with your back straight.
  2. Place your hands comfortably and naturally in your lap and close your eyes
  3. Breathe deeply and fully, bringing it slowly to a natural breathing rhythm
  4. Focus all your thoughts and energy on your breathing
  5. When thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them but let them pass and focus back on your breathing

There are other types of meditation which involve further elements and different techniques, below is a closer look at a couple of them.

Concentration Meditation

Concentration meditation involves focusing specifically on a single point. This could be focusing on the breath as above, repeating a single mantra, starting at a candle flame or counting beads. Focusing the mind on a single thing can be a challenge and it may take time to build up this type of meditation and in time, your concentration will improve in general.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is another way of describing that first kind of meditation described above. It’s designed to allow wandering thoughts to pass through but not to engage with them or fixate upon them. It helps you to work on the natural human tendency to quickly judge experiences and in time, it helps develop your inner balance and perspective.

Other Meditation Practices

You can focus your meditation on any element of your life or experience. You could use it to prepare yourself for a big event, such as a marathon, by focusing your concentration meditation on this event and there are also a range of moving meditation techniques including Tai Chi and Chi Kung.