So you have decided that you want to start a meditation practice. You start looking through apps, blogs and local meditation centers. The choices can be pretty overwhelming almost to the point that it defeats the purpose that you set out for. Meditation is supposed to relax your mind, not overwhelm you. How do you sort through the meditation variations to find the practice that is right for you?
I was where you were not long ago. I wanted to meditate so I started my research. My research started with Youtube. I sat through guided meditations, some good, some not so good. Then I was introduced to mindfulness thanks to my daughter’s 6th grade teacher. I had mixed results with mindfulness. Some sessions were good, some were just downright distracting. Then I found a meditation class and decided to take it to try to give myself some structure. Aha! I might have found something!
On the first day of this meditation class we were given a universal mantra, Baba Nam Kevalam. This is a sanskrit phrase that translates to “Love is all there is”. Now that is a mantra I can get behind. We were told during our meditation to focus on this mantra and it’s meaning. When our minds started to wander we were told to just bring our attention back to the mantra. That seemed to work for me.
I’m telling you about my meditation journey to let you know that it is perfectly normal to try different meditation techniques. It might take you going through several different techniques until you find one that resonates with you. Or you might find the perfect meditation technique for you the first try. You will know when you find the one for you.
Here are just a few basic choices:
Mantra meditation is what I mentioned that I learned from my meditation class. During mantra meditation you focus your mind and thoughts on a mantra and it’s meaning. There are lots of different mantra meditation techniques out there along with lots of mantras. If you are really curious about getting into mantra meditation I recommend finding a meditation class. Some classes will be free like the one I took. Other classes like transcendental meditation will be quite costly.
There is a lot of variety when it comes to mindfulness meditation. If you have a hard time sitting still walking meditation might be good for you. Just walk around focusing on your footsteps, observe the world around you and be one with your thoughts. The main purpose of mindfulness is to watch your thoughts without judgement. During mindfulness meditation you will notice your thoughts and watch them go by like clouds. Don’t hold onto any of them. Just watch them go by one by one.
Have you ever been stressed out or upset by something and someone told you to “just breath”? Well they are asking you to meditate. Breathing meditation is just like it sounds. Taking slow deep breaths and focusing on your breath instead of your thoughts. Breathing allows stress to release from our body and relaxes our minds. If you want to get into more complex breathing meditation you can find classes at your local yoga studios.
When you are just starting out with meditation be gentle with yourself. Meditation really is a practice and something that takes time. Just start slow with 3-5 minutes and work you way up to longer periods of time. Find meditation groups in your area to seek out like-minded individuals who are on their own meditation journeys. You will find the technique that works for you. Just give yourself time and space to make it happen.