Meditation is one of those things that some feel as though it’s almost impossible to achieve or they plain don’t understand how to do it. That is why I am going to help you learn all about meditation and how you can start a meditation practice right now. We call this “How to Meditate 101” because we’re specifically sharing practices for beginners!
Where did meditation originate?
“Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE.” – Wikipedia
This goes to show that meditation has been around for a very long time and has found many different ways to be a daily mindfulness practice for many around the world.
The real question should be ‘Why NOT meditate?’ Seriously, there is all gain and no loss when it comes to meditation; go ask anyone who has a regular practice how meditation has influenced their life. I bet they’ll tell you all the positive ways it’s helped them.
For those who just need that scientific evidence before giving meditation a go, I’ve found the scientific benefits of meditation to help sway you in the direction of giving this meditation thing a try!
Benefits of Meditation
- Reduces Stress.
- Helps control and reduce anxiety.
- Promotes emotional health.
- Enhances self-awareness.
- Lengthens attention span.
- May reduce age-related memory loss.
- Can generate kindness and gratitude where there was little before.
- May help fight addictions.
- Improves sleep.
- Helps control pain.
- Can decrease blood pressure.
- You can meditate anywhere at anytime.
You can get more in detail here for each of these.
And even better than the science is the proven results for emotional benefits of Meditation can include:
- Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.
- Building skills to manage your stress.
- Increasing self-awareness.
- Focusing on the present moment (which is the only time available to us).
- Reducing negative emotions.
- Increasing imagination and creativity.
- Increasing patience and tolerance.
Honestly this list could go on and on. Are you ready to make your own list of benefits yet?
How to Meditate
The cool thing is that when you meditate it can literally be anything that makes you zone out and lose track of time. It really is that simple!
You heard that right, it doesn’t have to be sitting with your legs crossed and eyes closed to be a meditation practice. While that way works beautiful for some, if it doesn’t work for you no worries because you get to meditate how you want that suits you. Why make it harder than it needs to be?!
Different ways to meditate:
- Sitting with legs crossed on the floor (the most common portrayal of what meditation is “supposed” to look like. NEWSFLASH: that’s not the only way).
- Laying down in corpse pose (laying flat on your back with awareness so as not to fall asleep, unless you need a nap then go for it) on the floor or even in your bed.
- Drawing, doodling, painting, or coloring.
- Gardening or a silent walk in nature.
- Guided, listening to music (check out binaural beats), or in silence listening to the world around you then focusing on your breathe.
- Yoga or moving meditation
- Swimming, dancing, moving your body.
- What about different types/styles/techniques: Vipassana, Buddhist, Hindu, Mindfulness, Guided, Unguided, Shamanic Journeying, Mantra, Transcendental Meditation (TM), Chakra, Energy, Kundalini, Sound Bath, Tantra, Pranayama, I AM, Chinese Techniques, Qigong, Christian, Sufi Techniques…
The best part is this list is endless, so experiment because life is too short to over complicate something so wonderful as meditation.
No matter what anyone else says, there isn’t one way to meditate. The main point of meditation is to focus on one thing, usually your breath, (which helps you get out of your “monkey mind” or “ego mind” aka your brain) so you can quiet down all the noise inside your head.
By quieting your mind you begin to create self-awareness that then gives you the seat of being the observer of your thoughts. We are truly not our thoughts yet most of us operate as if our thoughts are our ruler.
The more dedicated you become to a daily meditation practice the more you will begin to notice the benefits within yourself. Cool part is that even just 5 minutes per day will start to boost your mood and help you live a more balanced life. Heck even if you did it a few times a week to start that’s better than nothing right!
As within, so without. You are constantly creating your reality through your thoughts, so the more you can learn to control them and not let them control you the better you will feel and the outside world will give back to you what you are putting out.
Best Meditation Apps of 2019:
I get asked ALL the times if there are meditation apps… I’m so happy you asked! The number one app I would recommend would be Insight Timer which you can download for free here.
This is the BIGGEST meditation app out in the world right now connecting 6.3 million meditators from around the world. It’s a beautiful community to be a part of with teachers from around the globe and support from other meditators just like you. Better yet, it’s only $35 per YEAR to unlock all of the awesome courses and features available in the app.
Even better, you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to and still get thousands of meditations for FREE.
There are others out there such as Calm and Headspace, but they have limited access if you don’t want to pay for their subscriptions. Check them all out and then you make the decision that’s right for you!
List of Best Meditation Apps of 2019:
- Insight Timer (free with optional $35 membership)
- Calm (free 7-day trial, then access to the entire Calm catalog costs $12.99/month, $59.99/year and $299.99 for a lifetime subscription.)
- Headspace (some free options, then monthly subscriptions range from $7.99 to $19.99 USD per month)
- The Mindfulness App (free for 7 days then the Premium Subscription is 1 Month for $9.99 or 12 Months for $59.99)
- Smiling Mind (free- I LOVE this app because it can be used with kiddos!)
I’d love to hear from you if you start a meditation practice and let me know how it works for you in the comment section below!