What is Meditation?
Meditation is a technique that is used for relaxation and quieting of the mind. Did you know there is more than one type of meditation? In Buddhist tradition, ‘meditation’ is not a single thing, but a broader term that encompasses all different forms of meditation. The term ‘meditation’ can be referring to concentration meditation, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, transcendental meditation, qigong and tai chi.
Benefits of Meditation
For many, the goal of meditation is relaxation, and even if this isn’t your goal, it is often a result. However, meditation has many more benefits than just relaxation. They include: easing stress, a sense of wellbeing, lower blood cortisol levels, less anxiety, slower respiratory rate, less perspiration, lower heart rate, improved blood circulation and lower blood pressure. Buddhist philosophy on the other hand, says that the goal of meditation is to simply be present and to liberate the mind from focusing on things you cannot control. Whatever your reason for learning to meditate, it will ultimately leave you with a sense of inner harmony. So where do you begin?
How to Start Meditating
1. Find somewhere quiet
Meditation is all about the right time and the right place. There is no use in trying to meditate when you have the kids running around, dinner on the boil or work emails pinging on your phone. Try and carve out 10 to 15 minutes each day, preferably in the same place to meditate. Whether this is in the morning or evening, the living room or your bedroom, what is important is that you are comfortable. Oh, and turn off that technology!
Once you have found your perfect space to start meditating, set the mood with the help of aromatherapy. Lighting a candle casts a warm flickering glow which will release an inviting aroma of essential oils into the air. Our Scentered Escape Aromatherapy Candle is blended with Oud, Sandalwood and Frankincense which will help transport you to “me time”.
3. What to wear?
Meditation is all about feeling liberated and calm which can be hard to do if you have jeans digging into your waist or a tie pinching at your neck. Loosen your belts, kick off your shoes, remove your tights… or if you are at home, remove everything?
4. Sit of lie comfortable
Meditation is not a one-size fits all approach. Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting crossed legged on the floor making ‘ohhmmm’ noise. Meditation can be sitting on a pillow, lying on your bed or stretching out on a fluffy carpet even. If you are new to meditation and you’re not sure where to begin, try sitting towards the front of a chair, shoulders relaxed, back straight, chin slightly lowered and your hands resting on your lap.
5. Close your eyes
Closing your eyes will relieve you of distraction. Why not use an eye mask or a restorative eye pillow if you find yourself peeping through your eyelashes too often?
Now you have found the right spot, you’re in the right clothes, you have eliminated all distraction, it is time for the actual ‘meditation bit’. As you sit there (or lay!) focus on your breathing. This does not mean you need to control your breath or force your breathing… simply observe. Listen to the sound of your breath, the rising and falling of your stomach. How does it feel? What does your candle smell like as you inhale? How do your legs, arms, chest, fingertips feel? If you find your mind wandering, simply bring your focus back to your breathing.
7. Start for 2-3 minutes
If it is your first time, try meditating for just 2 to 3 minutes. This is an easier time to manage without getting distracted. If you are feeling confident or get into the swing of it, you can always keep going!
When you meditate for the first time you cannot expect to be instantly enlightened or your mind easily focused. At least for a while you may find your mind wandering, your limbs restless and your focus easily distracted. This is where practice comes in. If you take anything away from learning how to meditate, it is that practice is crucial! As you meditate more and more you will find you are able to go for longer periods of time without being distracted until you can meditate for 30 minutes or more.