How to Meditate

Meditation is a common practice in many different lifestyles, and has both religious and secular benefits. The act of meditating is most commonly associated with Buddhism, but it has roots in other religious traditions as well. It has become an excellent practice for many nonreligious individuals as well, and is most often used to help relax and calm the mind. Many people today complain that there is too much going on in their lives, and it is hard to sort everything out. Meditation is one way that people deal with these issues, and is a source of relaxation for many who are often pressed for time in the day. This guide to meditation will help you understand how to meditate effectively, and what benefits result from good meditation practice in daily life.

Breathing Meditation
Breathing meditation is one of the most commonly practiced forms of meditation, and is one of the easiest to practice for beginners. Begin by finding a comfortable spot to sit. Many people sit on top of a pillow for increased comfort. Sit with your legs crossed, or you may choose to sit in half-lotus position or full-lotus position, with the legs crossed over one another. You may also choose to sit in a chair if that is more comfortable for you. By sitting in a way that is comfortable for you, you will be able to have a more satisfying practice. Next, make sure that your back is straight and your neck is held up. This will help to keep you focused and prevent sluggishness. If you feel that your back begins to bend, be aware of this and correct your posture. Finally, leave your eyes partially open so you do not become sleepy. You are now ready to start breathing meditation. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nose, and focus on your breath. The most important thing in breathing meditation is, as the name implies, the breath. Many people choose to count breaths as “one” (inhalation) and “two” (exhalation). This will help keep you focused and help your mind to relax. If you realize that your mind begins to wander, thinking about other things, bring your attention back to the breath. Continue counting and recognize when your mind wanders. Remain in-touch with the physical act of breathing, and you will realize how often your mind wanders without you meaning for it to. This will open new doors for meditative practice, and will help clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts.

Walking Meditation
Another common meditative practice is that of walking meditation. This is slightly different from breathing meditation, and may be more difficult for beginners. For this reason, consider walking meditation after you have spent some time practicing breathing meditation, and you will benefit more from the practice. Walking meditation focuses on the significance of each movement when walking. You should be aware of the act of walking, of your breath when walking, and of each movement involved in walking. Walking meditation is a great way to keep your mind active and alert. Consider the movements involved in each step, and focus on relaxing your muscles and your mind as you walk. Start by practicing this form of meditation in short segments of time. Ten to twenty minutes is a great starting point for beginners. While walking, notice how your mind wanders and how your focus shifts from one thing to the next. Be aware of every movement in your body, and every thought process involved in creating those movements. Keep your mind focused and relaxed, and you will benefit greatly from this practice. With time, you will be able to stay more focused throughout the day, and enjoy more fully every aspect of your life.

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