Much like any sport you play or skill you embark in, meditation requires an immense amount of practice and dedication to perfect. If you’re just starting out, the concept of meditation may seem overwhelming, as it offers a pretty broad spectrum of practices and forms, each coming with its own unique benefits in healing the self.
The reality is, meditation is simpler than you believe. It has been around for over 3000 years and has shared variations across different regions and cultures. Its foundations lie deeply rooted to ancient India, especially in the form of Yoga.
You can read all the tips on how to meditate for beginners, but you can’t just jump right into the process of having your legs crossed, arms stretched out, eyes closed and mouth chanting away. You must first be clear of the “why” - are you doing it to feel more relaxed? Are you trying to tackle stress? Or do you just need some “me” time to reflect and refresh?
Whatever the reason may be, the goal you are working towards is training your mind. Training it to be more self-aware, as well as react to things differently and in a more optimistic way. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “mind over matter”, you should know that this form the crux of meditation.
Before you take up meditation, you must first learn how your mind reacts to things. How self-aware you are about surroundings and whether you get easily distracted. Meditation can help you be in complete control of these aspects and, over time, as you get better at the practice, you will also see a complete change in the way you perceive and react to events and people around you.
It is important to understand that meditation is not a problem-solver. Solutions require actions. Meditation is the complete opposite of that; it's the state of doing nothing and that’s what the advanced and beginners guide to meditation helps people realize and embrace. Holistically, what this practice does teach you however, is how to react to real-life scenarios in a more positive and constructive way. It replaces impulsive decision-making with more thought out, rational actions.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. The only way is the way forward. For beginners, here are a few practical approaches that should help you get going.
Make time for yourself, and stick to it
Commitment - that’s one of the most important tips on how to meditate for beginners. A lot of people complain about not having the time to do anything. That’s their first mistake. The secret is to make our time.
For starters, an easy way out is to pair meditation with a routine habit. Having your first cup of tea of the day, brushing your teeth or sitting up straight after you wake up. Transform these moments of solitude to a 15-minute meditation routine.
Deal with distractions
A misconception about meditation is that it requires a space completely void of disturbances to practice. The truth is, you could mediate anywhere - be it at a busy workplace or a noisy neighbourhood.
Facing these distractions and letting them slowly fade away as you shift focus on yourself and your thoughts is what meditation teaches you. As a beginner, you can choose to pick a quiet spot. As you get better at meditating when you’re not fixated on what to think during meditation, take this up as a challenge; approach what distracts or annoys you most and let it play off as a background to your meditation.
Tackle the zzz
Since meditation is basically the state of doing nothing, your body clock may misinterpret it as a sign to switch off and sleep. You’ll have to train your mind into achieving a state of “relaxed focus”.
While this requires a consistent and timely routine, you can set things in motion by meditating upright rather than while lying down, picking a well ventilated atmosphere and meditating when you are physically refreshed.
As mentioned earlier, every form of meditation is unique and offers its own share of benefits to your lifestyle. So, as a beginner, it’s always good to learn about the various types and pick one that suits your ultimate goal.
1. Spiritual meditation
Spiritual meditation stems from the numerous religious faiths seen across the Eastern parts of the world. The mediation is itself woven into the religious practices and aims to help one form a deeper connection between themselves and the almighty. The practice usually takes place in a quieter environment or during a pilgrimage and, in some cases, makes use of essential oils and herbs.
2. Movement meditation
Colloquially referred to as yoga, movement meditation is something you need to consider if you are in need of light stretches and flexes to ease the body into a sense of comfort.
This is considered as one of the most renowned and highly recommended forms of meditation. Mindfulness teaches you to concentrate on your thoughts. The practice can significantly help boost your self awareness and improve your emotional well-being.
4. Mantra meditation
Another form deeply rooted to Indian culture, mantra meditation involves the repetition of certain words, especially “om”, in place of deep breathing exercises. This form can help one get in tune with their surroundings and is best practiced if silence is uncomfortable.
5. Focused meditation
Looking to improve your focus and alleviate the instances of getting distracted? Try your hand in focused meditation. The practice can help strengthen your grip on your senses, and is typically performed with the use of an external source of sound.
6. Visualization meditation
If you’ve got great imagination, you can use that as a base for visualization meditation. This type of meditation requires one to be fully focused and in a state of calm through bringing up mental images of happy and positive things.
7.Progressive relaxation meditation
A good form of meditation to take up as a beginner, progressive relaxation encourages you to totally tune out of the surrounding and shift full focus on individual parts of your body, thereby doing a sort of “body scan”.
8. Love-kindness meditation
If you have trouble keeping your emotions in check, look up love-kindness meditation. The practice involves strengthening feelings of compassion towards others, by first learning to accept and love oneself.
The most powerful yet equally hard to master, transcendental meditation requires tremendous amounts of self practice and mental strength. As you get better and better at meditation and have found a niche that helps you improve as a person, you should consider taking this up.
So effective is the practice of meditation on daily-living that it has become the subject of deep scientific study. As a beginner, if you need solid evidence as to just how beneficial meditation can prove to be for you, look no further than the 10 points listed below.
1. Reduces stress
Disturbances to your mental state can lead to the increase in production of cortisol - the stress hormone. This has adverse effects on your sleep cycle and mental health. Mindfulness meditation has shown to be able to counter this by helping generate a more focused and controlled mental state.
2. Enhances self-awareness
The crux of meditation is all about enhancing your sense of being. It helps you unlock your true potential by first making you realise your self-worth. It is only when you appreciate yourself can you appreciate the existence of everyone and everything around you.
3. Can potentially tackle Alzheimer's disease
As meditation heavily involves training the mind, studies have showcased how consistent practice of many forms of meditation have resulted in people being adept at neuropsychological tests. Meditation is also practiced at mental health institutions, and has helped those suffering from memory deficits and mental health issues deal with their conditions better.
4. Reduces anxiety
Anxiety is a by-product of stress. Meditation gives your mind a good workout, training it to focus on positive and productive ways of thinking. This ultimately leads to a healthier outlook in life that helps you cope with stressful scenarios in a better way.
5. Improves sleep
When you meditate, you essentially trick your mind into believing that you are in a state of complete relaxation, which triggers the neurons to induce sleep into your body clock. People suffering from insomnia can benefit greatly from mediating in this regard.
6. Can help fight addictions
Dependence on substances is usually a case that arises from intense levels of stress and poor mental health. Triggers that lead to substance abuse can be kept under control through consistent meditation.
7. Improves attention span
Focus or concentration is a mental skill that requires tweaking to improve, and one lesson your brain should learn to improve this aspect is the art of meditation.
8. Boosts emotional health
Self-love and acceptance are key aspects of a better social life. And this is only achieved when your state of mind is healthy and optimistic. Meditating will help keep your mood swings in check, bringing a healthy balance to how you react to any given scenarios.
9. Helps keep blood pressure in check
Meditation has been proven to improve heart health. The light exercises associated with yoga can help relax the nerve signals that deal with blood flow in the body, thus reducing blood pressure.
10. Can improve pain tolerance
The feeling of pain is a perception generated in the brain. In situations of chronic pain, meditation can prove to be a good healer as it trains the pain receptors in the brain to be more tolerant.
If you’re embarking on a meditative journey for the first time and are not comfortable practicing in your personal space, you should consider heading to a retreat resort. One such resort that is completely designed around the concept of improved mental, general wellness and self-healing is Govardhan Eco-Village. The sprawling 140 acre space is bustling with activities that all share the same goal of keeping you relaxed, helping you unwind, and letting you enjoy an excellent meditation experience that unlocks a journey of self-discovery.
The resort also offers scientifically-designed and certified yoga courses & yoga retreats that will serve as great guidance for beginners in meditation. It will address all your queries, right from what's the best time to do meditation to what happens in deep meditation to what to think during meditation. Book a stay at the Govardhan Ecovillage today and experience the uplifting journey of a lifetime.