Chanting “Om” to the good life and leaving your worries behind. Sitting lotus pose with your soul mate and remaining in a state of total satisfaction. Achieving enlightenment through the breath, and changing your world just based on your thoughts. Can having an ideal life—one full of wealth, inner peace, happiness and true love—really come down to a daily meditation habit? Try the following tips and see for yourself!
While your short-term and long-term goals are never achieved in the timeframe or accomplished in the way that you think they will be, and while your love life or career often veers off course and into uncharted territories, meditation can make the journey a little less rocky and a whole lot more satisfying.
Is Meditation Really For Me?
These days, the benefits of meditation seem to be everywhere—on Oprah’s homepage, on page five of the daily news, and as part of a cancer patient’s healing process. There are good reasons for this.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to boost brainpower, improve your mood and health and keep you focused and alert. It gives you that “me time” you require and even helps you sleep soundly. Additionally, it allows you to gain an optimistic perspective and reconnect with who you are (instead of whom you think you should be). In short, meditation allows you to live your dreams without getting thrown off by curveballs along the way.
Are you desperate for a vacation?
Meditation is your go-to destination any time you need a mental break. And the best part is, it’s the cheapest one you’ll ever take. It’s free. There’s no charge to go there, and you can stay as long as you’d like!
So, whether your best friend (the self-proclaimed yogi) has bugged you to try meditation for years or you keep getting a nagging feeling that perhaps there’s something bigger you’re meant to experience in your life, a daily dose of meditation is just what you need, and the tips to get you started are all right here. (Hint: It’s not as difficult as you think!)
1. Nailing the Right Yoga Position for You
When you think of meditation, the classic position with legs crossed and palms open and outwards may come to mind, but being comfortable is key to doing meditation correctly. If that pose doesn’t work for you, there are many others to try!
Consider sitting on a cushion with your legs crossed in front of you. Alternatively, sit on cushions while kneeling (or kneel without them), or if you have lower or upper back pain, lie down while meditating. Experiment with various positions and see which one feels most comfortable to you. You can’t focus on your center, go within and experience the mental release meditation offers if you want to scream out in pain!
2. Focus on the Belly Breath
There are two kinds of breath—the shallow breath, and the belly breath. Most stressed-out, frazzled and overwhelmed people breathe in a shallow manner. That is, they don’t breathe from their abdomen; they breathe only when they absolutely have to, and barely enough to notice. If you’ve ever thought, “Wow, I’m so overloaded with work I don’t have time to grab lunch, let alone catch my breath,” then you’re a shallow breather—and whether you recognize it or not, it’s affecting your mental and physical health!
Always start meditation by breathing from your belly (this is also called diaphragmatic breathing). Place your hand on the lower part of your stomach. Observe for a minute as it expands and contracts. Watch your belly move inwards and expand outwards. Feel the sensations of your body and become acquainted with it.
Then, close your eyes and concentrate on inhaling and exhaling through your nose with your back straight and your body as relaxed as possible. There’s nothing to do but breathe, so save your judgments or criticisms for another time. After a few minutes of belly breathing, you’re ready to start your meditation!
3. Your Lunch Hour Meditation
For many, meditation is the perfect way to start the day, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. Think about the time you need a moment of solace and centering the most. Is it at work, during your lunch hour?
One of the reasons that meditation is the perfect “mental workout” is that the equipment you need to do it correctly is all in your mind, so you can take it with you to the workplace! Use your lunch hour to center and focus inwards, whether you do it in your car, a vacant office space, or a nearby park.
Sit with a straight posture, close your eyes, give yourself a couple belly breaths, and there you are—in a peaceful paradise of your own creation (and far away from your critical and demanding boss)!
4. Meditate with Intention
Some people never try meditation for fear of it being boring, repetitive, or dull. However, even if you’re used to high-intensity cardio workouts, this is the best exercise you’ll ever get—but of a different kind.
To reap the benefits that meditation offers, go in with intention and purpose. Ask yourself before taking that first breath: What do I want to accomplish? Do I want to get rid of my anxiety? Do I want to have some peace and quiet? Do I just want to turn off the internal chatter?
Turn off the noise of your day in just three, ten, or twenty minutes (whatever you have to spare) by asking for what you want and you’ll see how powerful your intention can be!
5. Meditation with a Mantra!
Mantra meditation works well for beginners not only because it helps you focus on a positive thought and avoid distraction, but also because it allows you to feel connected with your true self: The part of you that is without your Ego (otherwise known as your inner critic, who loves to point out what you’re not doing perfectly). This leaves you free to just be, reflect, and take a time out!
Sit in a comfortable position and inhale and exhale from your diaphragm deeply. Observe your breath as it flows in and out and after a few moments, incorporate your mantra. A mantra can be any word or short phrase that brings purpose, harmony and self-acceptance to the surface.
The classic mantra is known as “Om,” although you can repeat any word with the inhale and exhale of your breath such as love, peace or joy. You can repeat a phrase such as “I am what I am,” or “As I change my thoughts, I change my world.” Repeat your mantra with every inhale and exhale and you’ll begin to feel connected with the world and increase feelings of pleasure, positivity and inner peace.
You’ll be amazed at how different you’ll feel with daily meditation. With consistent and committed practice, you could very well change your world. It’s all in you, so get comfortable, breathe deep and meditate with intention. It’ll be the best workout you’ve ever had.