There are several physical and psychological benefits that can be derived from meditation, and daily practice can lead to a healthy body and peaceful mind. Often, the biggest barrier to taking up meditation is figuring out how to begin your practice. So let’s take a look at a few tips and techniques for beginners to get started on the path to meditation.
Find Yourself a Comfortable Seat
Sitting cross-legged on a comfortable mat or cushion is a good posture to meditate in. Don’t pick anything too soft or plushy that will deflate too much when you sit on it because this might put you off-balance. Find a seat that is stable yet comfortable. Try any of the several yoga mats in the market or just fold over a silk or cotton bed-sheet multiple times. If sitting cross-legged is a problem, sit on a chair and keep your spine comfortably erect.
Pick Loose-fitting Clothes
Avoid tight-fitting or figure-hugging garments and choose something that allows your body some space. Tight clothes can distract you once you are in a meditative state and might spoil the whole experience. Choose clothing made of organic materials, preferably silk or cotton, and avoid synthetics. Treehugger lists various brands that maintain organic clothing lineups.
Get a Rudraksha
A rudraksha is the seed of the rudraksha tree (Elaeocarpus ganitrus), which are usually beaded into malas or necklaces of 108 beads. For a meditator, rudrakshas are a great support and will help you focus and stay aware. There have been several cases of fraudulent rudrakshas, so be sure to get yours from a reputable source. The Isha Shoppe offers many choices at reasonable prices. When you purchase your mala, check to see that there are no cracks in the beads and that there is a “bindu” – a bead in addition to the 108, which is threaded outside the circle of the necklace.
Now that you’re ready and prepared, let’s take a look at some basic guided meditations that can get you started on the path.
Mindfulness meditation helps create an awareness of one’s present moment and reality. It has been used as part of treatment programs for several psychological issues. There are several mindfulness techniques and the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free, online guided practice for several basic methods.
Isha Kriya is a short meditation that can be learnt online and practiced at home. It doesn’t take more than 12 to 18 minutes, and daily practice can bring peace and health. The meditation is offered in 12 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German and Chinese. Once you get a hang of the instructions, the meditation is quite easy to do by yourself.
To stay on track, make sure to set aside time every day for the practice. Make a commitment to yourself to follow any practice for at least 40 days. This will allow you to settle into the process and reap the benefits of what it has to offer.