• Bren

How To Meditate (Without Getting Bored!)

'Meditation' is not one singular thing. There are many many ways to access meditation. If you've tried it and not liked it, maybe you haven't found the best way for you yet.



Benefits of Meditation

Meditation can help reduce stress (and reduce symptoms of stress-triggered medical conditions), lessen insomnia, improve self-image and reduce negative thoughts, increase self-awareness, lengthen attention span, slow or reverse memory loss, and help manage pain.



 


Here are some different kinds of meditation to try out:


Breath

Observing the breath and shaping the breath are options for your meditation practice.


Many options for shaping the breath as a meditation. I'll suggest here Microcosmic Orbit. As the diagram shows below, one would inhale visualizing the breath travelling up the midline of the back body to the forhead, and then exhale down the midline of the front body.




You could also combine a walking meditation with observation or shaping of the breath. I like to inhale for four steps, retain breath for four steps, and exhale for six or eight steps.



Hand Movement

Many meditation techniques involve movement of the hands.

The hands take up a large area of the 'brain map' of the body - when we move our hands, a lot of our attention is focused there. Hand movement meditations are some of my favourite - I find it significantly easier to focus without distraction when steadily moving my hands.


One good example is the Sat Nam meditation, in which one gently connects the thumb and tip of index finger on each hand, then releases. Then connect the tip of the middle finger with the thumb, and release. Again with the ring finger and the pinky finger, and this pattern continues. Use of the mantra 'Sa Ta Na Ma' (one syllable per finger connection) is helpful. One might also match the movement of each finger connection with the breath, inhaling to connect and exhaling to release.









Pictured below I am demonstrating one technique that starts with hands apart, palms facing each other. Moving the hands with the breath the hands expand to be wider apart. Slowly and steadily the hands move closer together and farther apart with the breath.





Mantra

Mantra meditations involve the repetition of a word or phrase. This might be aloud, whispered, or silent.

Mantra meditations may be done using a mala, counting a bead per mantra, or without.

You can see how counting mantra on a mala is also using hand movement.





Metta

Metta meditation is another favourite of mine. This is intentionally sending love to others and to self. You focus on sending love.

Try mentally repeating this:

'May you be happy may you be healthy may you have everything you need.

May I be happy may I be healthy may I have everything I need.'

There is also a version of this that uses a catchy tune, that I will gladly share with you next time I see you in person.



 

So How Do I Start a Daily Meditation Practice?


Well, the answer is simply to start, my friend.


Know that developing a new habit takes time, and some trial and error. I've given you plenty of ideas to try out, and now you just find what works best for you.


I personally use a variety of the above meditation styles. You don't need to just pick one and do that same thing every day. You can mix it up! Keep it fresh.


You might find that setting an alarm and trying your practice at the same time every day is helpful for developing a habit. You might also tie this habit to an existing one, for example after brushing your teeth, you meditate.


And don't get discouraged. You might lose your momentum and miss a few days or weeks. That's okay. You can get yourself back on track by beginning again.



 

Let me know in the comments what type(s) of meditation you've tried. What works for you?


All the best on your journey towards your inner Self.

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