The pandemic has been a massive challenge for almost everyone in the world — from coping with mandatory isolation to losing income to being separated from family for long stretches of time. One of the best coping mechanisms that can help restore some balance is meditation. Use this guide for advice on how to get started with meditation and to learn about the incredible health benefits it can bring to your life.
If you’ve never tried meditating in your life, don’t be discouraged: there are helpful tools to get started. One great way to begin is by downloading a meditation app that can offer timers and guided meditations. Many people find it challenging to avoid the mental chatter that happens during meditation, so a guided meditation could help you focus and train your mind to be peaceful.
Create a meditation space…
While it’s possible to meditate from anywhere, it’s beneficial to create a meditation space in a quiet or private area of your home. For seated meditation, it’s wise to use a firm meditation pillow or a bench that allows you to sit with a straight spine. If your knees bother you from sitting cross-legged, you can sit on your shins instead.
Be sure to declutter and clean your home before meditation: having a clean space will help clear and calm your mind. It can be helpful to close the curtains and create a dark space. Burning incense can also help anchor you to the present moment. Try out a few different settings until you find what works best for you. It’s a good idea to meditate in the same space and time of day to help establish a routine.
While there are many types of meditation in the world, mindfulness meditation is a great option for new meditators. The premise is rather simple: focus on the present moment. While it is beneficial to practice mindfulness in traditional seated meditation, you can practice it anywhere, regardless of your activity.
If you’re practicing mindfulness in your daily life, there are a few tricks and activities that will help get you in the habit of being self-aware in the present moment. One activity is called The Name Game. If you’re finding that your thoughts are spiraling and you’re having trouble focusing, look around you and name three things you can hear, two things you can see, and one sensation you feel. This is a grounding activity that can help if you feel anxious or stressed.
Another great activity for soothing racing thoughts is deep breathing. Try a method known as square breathing. First, inhale for four counts, hold your breath at the top of your inhale for four counts, slowly exhale for four counts, and pause at the bottom of your exhale for four counts. Keep breathing in this pattern for four whole rounds and observe the calm that follows.
Meditation has powerful health benefits, especially when paired with a yoga practice. Yoga is often referred to as moving meditation because of the way it requires self-awareness and intentional movement. Along with helping you to feel grounded and focused, yoga can improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and reduce inflammation.
By practicing meditation, you’ll be paving the way for healing of both body and mind. If you’ve never practiced before, start with mindfulness and try it out in various settings. Try focusing on your immediate surroundings and sensations, and practice square breathing to help calm racing thoughts. Create a meditation space in your home for seated meditation and try to pair your practice with yoga to improve wellbeing in both body and mind.
* Guest post submitted by April Meyers of Mind Body Health Solution
* I’ve been meditating daily since 2014 and have had such amazing benefits from it, I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone and I DO. Not everyone listens or takes my advice because they say meditating is hard for “them”. Well, meditating is hard for everyone, that’s why they call it a practice. You don’t just get good at it one day, it’s always a challenge, but that’s where the awareness and benefits from it hide out. Anyway, it’s never too late to start a meditation practice, and there are some great tips here 🙂 …love, Maegan