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How to Meditate – 3 Easy Techniques

How to Meditate - 3 Easy Techniques

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While meditation can sometimes seem like a difficult feat, meditating can be as simple as watching the breath or observing one’s surroundings. Supplement your life with a daily meditation practice by following these helpful guidelines and techniques.

Notice thoughts: do not judge or avoid them

The most important element of meditation is this: simply notice your experience. We all have ideas bubbling in our minds throughout the day, so it’s completely normal for thoughts to come up. Simply observe or “watch” what is happening: become aware of any thoughts, emotions, stimuli, or sensations that come up, and do not judge them as “good” or “bad”. Similarly, do not try to control or avoid thoughts since this will only create inner tension and resistance.

Prepare yourself

Meditate in a comfortable, quiet, and spacious area where you feel safe. Sit on the floor cross-legged with a pillow underneath you to elevate your spine. If you are uncomfortable or have hip or knee pain, sit on a chair with your back straight and your feet on the floor. Set a timer and try to let go of any concerns as you begin your meditation session. Make sure to shut off any devices that may distract you.

Start simple and be consistent

When just beginning your meditation practice, start with shorter sessions—set a timer for five minutes each day and gradually add time when you feel ready. You can meditate for five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes, or however long you like.

Be brief but consistent: you can meditate when you first wake up or before you go to bed, as this will help set a positive tone for the day and will help you experience a relaxing and deep sleep. If you prefer, meditate in the afternoon or during your lunch break to balance yourself in the middle of the day.

Meditation Techniques

Technique 1. Breathing – Lengthening the exhale

As natural as breathing is, it has been used as a powerful tool for thousands of years to calm anxiety and establish mental clarity. One simple breathing technique involves “following” the breath and extending each exhale slightly.

Step-by-step instructions:

*Note: When your exhalation is slightly longer than your inhalation, your vagus nerve (which moves from the neck down through the diaphragm) signals your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved in the body’s activities while comfortable and at rest. Similarly, the vagus nerve cues the brain to turn down the sympathetic nervous system, which functions as a way of stimulating body functions associated with stress and the fight-or-flight response.

Technique 2. Walking meditation

Walking meditation is a way to practice moving without a goal or intention,” says Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. It can be used to become aware of each step that we take, regardless of where we are, and it can be joined with the practice of mindful breathing as we walk through a space with our bodies and minds.

Step-by-step instructions:

*Note: You can practice walking meditation individually or with other people. Tai Chi and Qigong are also types of moving meditation which you may be interested in.

Technique 3. Trataka meditation

In Trataka meditation, one focuses their attention on the flame of a candle or another object of interest. The technique is used to establish concentration and it creates stillness as the mind becomes focused on the flame. The benefits of Trataka meditation range from relaxation, to improved eyesight, to, activation of the third eye (pineal gland), and they can be felt by anyone.

Step-by-step instructions:

Conclusion

Meditating causes us to be less reactive, less automatic in our responses, and more intentional with our actions. There isn’t any specific result you need—you don’t have to be “enlightened” or reach some sort of nirvana—but hopefully you’ll feel more relaxed and grounded afterwards. While some meditation sessions are more successful than others, keep up a regular practice to improve concentration and grow in mental clarity. The purpose of meditation is to improve concentration and to become more comfortable with the present moment.

Written by Nicole Kagan

 



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