Health and Wellness

 

How you want to meditate is up to you!

Note: This is a very basic beginner’s guide to meditation! There are many resources available to find different meditation techniques and tips for more advanced meditation.

Make the Time

1403007_haze_of_serenityChoose a specific time of day (e.g., morning, before bed, etc.) when you can consistently set aside some time each day. Making it a formal practice that is part of your routine will make it easier to progress.

Make sure others in your household know not to disturb you during this particular time so that your concentration does not get broken. Some find that practicing twice a day is a good option for them.

Try starting off with 5-minute sessions; if you feel this is too long or too short, adjust the length of time to one you’re comfortable with. Try not to do too much at first because you’re trying to make this a habit and making the sessions too lengthy from the start can turn you off from continuing.

You can build up the length of your sessions over time, increasing the sessions by several minutes after a self-decided number of days have passed. For example, if you feel you can do 5 minutes of meditation without a problem for 4 days, try doing 7 minutes until you can do that without a problem for 5 days. The schedule and increases are totally up to you.

Find a Location

1387465_the_beauty_of_cherry_blossomsMake sure the place you meditate is quiet, relaxing, and free of distractions.

Turn off as many things that may break your concentration as you can.

While you may not be able to control the sounds from the outdoors, you can control your phone and television.

If you choose to meditate with music on, select something calming and repetitive.

If you choose to meditate outside, select a spot away from busy streets and crowds.

Position Yourself

1138297_skein_of_geeseThere are many different sitting styles you can try, all of which focus on a straight back.

One option: Take a seat on level ground. Place a cushion which won’t compress too much once weight is applied under your buttocks, letting your legs touch the floor.

One by one, starting from the bottom, straighten your back vertebrae by vertebrae, until your back, torso, neck, and head are aligned. Your back should be straight but not to the point where your body tenses up.

Posture is very important during meditation, so make sure you’re mindful of it during your practice and adjust if you notice yourself getting tense.

Relax Your Body

1369207_american_dreamsRelax your arms and your legs. Neither arms nor legs need to be in any particular position, so long as they don’t interfere with your posture.

Starting with either your head or your toes, moving down or up, respectively, take notice of each part of your body. If you find that something is tense, mindfully relax it.

Don’t forget your face! It, too, can tense up and can benefit from mindful relaxation. Relax your jaw, keeping your mouth slightly open.

Feel free to close your eyes or keep them open, whatever you’re most comfortable with. If you choose to close your eyes, do your best not to fall asleep. If you keep them open, try not to focus on anything.

Focus on Your Breath

1153373_blossom_2Breathe. Pay close attention to each inhalation and exhalation and how they move throughout your body without judging it. Focus on the way you breathe and how your body moves with each breath, shutting out any distracting thoughts you have.

Try to stay in the present moment, not concerning yourself about the past or the future during your practice. You will notice your mind wandering. This is very common, especially when you first begin practicing, so don’t get discouraged when it happens.

When you find that your mind is wandering, pay attention to it briefly and then bring your mind back to your breathing.

Pick a Resolution (optional)

1402914_untitledSome people find that picking a resolution at the start of each meditation session helps them stay determined.

If you feel that you could benefit from this, pick a resolution and concentrate on it for several moments.

The resolution is often something you’d like to achieve through meditation, whether it is during this particular session or in general.

Pick a Mantra (optional)

1399750_stairs_to_the_beach_3

Many people find the use of a mantra, or the repetition of a sacred word, to be very helpful alternative to focusing on breathing during their practice. “Om” is an example of a frequently used mantra.

If you would like to use a mantra, select your sacred word and repeat it at a steady rhythm using either your voice or your mind.

Some people find using their breaths as their rhythm to be effective because it provides you with a natural rhythm.

Use Your Imagination

1387804_whale_finWhile continually focusing on your breath, imagine a place, real or imaginary, that relaxes you.

This image is different for every person and you’re in total control of what you’re seeing.

Having this in mind will help stop any other images from intruding on your practice.

Quiet Your Mind

1404828_poppies_in_fieldContinue focusing on one thing at a time, typically your breath. Over time, you may be able to focus on nothing at all, achieving a completely silenced mind.

Quieting your mind is not an easy task and many thoughts will sneak their way in, especially at the beginning, and that’s okay.

Whenever you find a thought that interrupts your focus, look at it impartially for a few moments and let it pass.

Don’t stress about intruding thoughts—the ability to focus is something you’re building up through practice.

 

For further information, please contact:

Health and Wellness Committee
e – healthandwellness@adelphi.edu

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