Do you know why 80% of world class performers do some form of morning meditation? Well there is saying that goes "one who conquers their morning, conquers their day"...
You see mediation is like rebooting your mind, it helps wipe out excess garbage you store in there and allow you to start clean.That's why I have created this 3 part series on Meditation for Beginners.
Part One: Meditation for Beginners: How To Meditate
Part Two: Meditation Techniques for Beginner: Using Sacred Sounds (2-22-16)
Part Three: TBA
In this first part (lesson) I'll cover:
What You Can Expect From Meditation (meditation benefits)
Different Meditations Techniques
How to Prepare Yourself to Meditate
How To Meditate
Meditation for Beginners
Before I tell why you should meditate first I just want to point our human relationship with meditation...
We as humans have been meditating since the beginning of our existence, whether we aware of doing it or not. By that I mean sometimes we get in a meditative state without forcing it. It just naturally happens.
Now some may argue that this is a trance not a meditation. But I feel like they are really one in the same. Both can be achieved by choosing to put ourselves in that state or sometimes we just end up there.
But which ever one you end up in, the feelings are quite similar. Peace. Quite...Stillness.
This peace and stillness allows us to interact more gracefully in this world. Meditation allows us to gain control of our thoughts and emotions rather than be servants to them...
When you practice mediation enough you get to the point where your conscious mind takes a step back and you are able to just sit there and observe. It's quite a humbling and magical experience...
Now the fun thing about your mind and meditation is that every meditation has the potential to be a very different experience.
Sometimes you'll sit down and you instantly go into that space of stillness and bliss. And other times it's kind of like self inflicting torture. As you mind is racing 100 miles per second while you try and catch it...
And other times your mind will race until it finally gives up and you get to feel that moment of peace. Even if its just for that last minute of your meditation. You feel it...Waves of eternal relaxation and renewal...
And that moment of peace is what keeps you coming back to your mediation practice.
But when you are learning different mediations for beginners never start with the goal of stopping your mind chatter. Seriously don't... You'll have a painful and frustrating start if you do.
The best thing to do is use other tools to focus your mind on such as breath or mantras (words that train your mind). Which I am going to teach you in a bit. But first...
For all you lovers of science and properly done studies, below is a short list of all the wonderful benefits of meditation. You can click on any benefits to see the studies that have been done to prove those benefits.
What You Can Expect From Meditation (Meditation benefits)
Not bad huh? Look at all the positive effects you get just from sitting and breathing...
Different Meditations Techniques
Like I mentioned above going into meditation with the goal of shutting up your mind is like that saying "going to a gun fight with a knife" but instead of a knife you have a spoon... 🙁
Instead you approach your meditation with different tools that you can focus on that will in time calm your mind.
These tools are breath work also known as Pranayam in yogic tradition. And mantras (words that train your mind). Some mantras also have other positive benefits besides just training your mind. But I'll discuss that in the part 2 of this mediation for beginners series.
As far as techniques I want to mention here that you might already be meditating and not even know it. For instance...
Prayer is a form of meditation. No matter what your religion is. Sitting/standing there and praying you are concentrating your mind on a single point...
Some prayers are short. Some are practiced for a bit longer. But ask yourself. If you pray) How do you feel after you pray? Usually calm right? (unless you're praying for money 😉
When ever you can just observe without much thoughts this is also a form of meditation. It's called mindfulness meditation. I use to do this before I even knew it had a name..
I owned a Cafe' in my early twenties. I was the head chef. I had a good friend of mine that use to work with me in the kitchen. The kitchen was very tiny...Most days we never spoke...
Yet we moved in perfect sync...He'd cut some vegetables while I tended to the stove. We'd switch back and forth like a dance...We were sharing a perfect zen moment. Unlike most kitchen environment (those who've worked in them know).
All our focus was on the preparing and cooking the food. No other thoughts entered our minds...Both of us were in a deep meditative state. This made for some of my most joyful moments working. Actually it didn't even feel like work..
Since then I constantly practice this form of meditation. While I workout, when I am out walking around etc. The practice of fully observing and being present without judgment...Does wonders for your senses and your awareness.
Next time you eat try this out. With every bit you take be fully aware of the smells of your food. The texture. How it feels on your tongue. Notice every bite, how its changing in your mouth..
I guarantee if you eat this way once in a while, you will discover a whole new world of pleasure in your meals.
Later on I found Thich Nhat Hanh who was one of the major teachers of such practice. Which this practice originated from Zen Buddhism.
Also if you are a dancer or martial artist you might have experienced something similar. Where you get so lost in your movement that it takes over your mind and you feel nothing else. But peace...and refreshed afterwards...
Adding a sitting meditation will only add more potency and benefits to the examples I just mentioned. And it will also set the perfect tone for your day.
How to Prepare to Meditate
Don't worry you don't need to wear all white...What you do need to do is..
Like with anything you want to succeed in, you need to be consistent. So first pick a time that you can consistently block out to meditate daily or at least 3 times a week. Your choice of 10 minutes to an hour.
Make it into a simple ritual. Wash your face with cold water before beginning. Light some incense, palo santo, or use a diffuser with some relaxing lavender oil..
This will help set a mood. And after a few times this will bring about a similarity to your mind to prepare to relax. And now you are ready to begin your meditation. Which I'll explain below...
How To Meditate
So most sites that teach meditations for beginners teach you the absolute basics. So basic that they should really just calling it "breathing". Because there is really not much technique they teach...I'm not going to do that to you..
I want you to start with a breathing technique that you can begin to feel the difference right away. So I am going to teach you a Pranayam (breathing technique) called the Nadi Sohan Pranayam.
This technique comes the lineage of Kundalini Yoga. It's also referred to as Alternate Nostril Breathing.
This breath is a powerful technique that is great when beginning but also great to continue as you advance. (I've been doing it for 12 years)
Your breathing naturally switches from predominantly one nostril to the other every 90 to 120 minutes. In yogic sciences the left nostril is connected to the moon energy, more passive, calming and/or cooling.
While the right nostril is connected to solar energy, more active, alertness, and vigor. Place your hands under your nostril and see which one you are breathing out of right now?
And notice how your energy is. Check through out the day/night and see if you can tell the difference.
side note: One thing I learned studying Traditional Tibetan Medicine is that if you want to fall asleep quickly lay on your right side. This will make your breathing switch to your left nostril which will help calm your mind...
I'll explain shortly how to do it. But first...
Benefits You'll Receive From Alternate Nostril Breathing:
- Balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
- Helps with headaches, migraines, and other stress related symptoms.
- Creates harmony on the emotional, mental and physical level.
- balances the nervous system
How to Do Alternate Nostril Breathing
To begin find a comfortable place to sit either on the floor or on a chair. Just make sure you can keep your back straight and comfortable.
You will first begin inhaling through the left nostril.
1. With your right thumb cover your right nostril.
2. Now take a deep inhale through your left nostril.
3. Hold for 4 seconds.
4. With your right little (pinkie) finger cover your left nostril.
5. Exhale through your right nostril.
Continue for 5 minutes. Then Switch Nostril. For another 5 minutes.
I would add that depending on what you want to achieve in your mediation you can choose which nostril to breath. If you are wanting to just feel balanced then do the meditation above.
If you need more energy you'll inhale from your right nostril for the whole 10 minutes. And if you want to feel more calmness you inhale from your left nostril for the whole 10 minutes.
Hope you enjoyed Part One: Meditation for Beginners: How to Start. As you can see there are huge benefits you can receive from starting a regular meditation practice.
Just 10 minutes a day will set you up with a positive mood for the whole day.
There is a big reason why most successful people meditate. From tv stars -Oprah Winfrey, music stars - Russell Simons, Katey Perry, world class athletes -Lebron James. And lots more.
Come back and check out part two coming out next week. Where I'll teach you how you can incorporate sacred sounds into your meditation.
Oh and leave me a comment below letting me know what you though of this meditation. And how your first session went. If you have any questions let me know too.
Love and Light!