In several posts we’ve been pointing to the topic of meditation and its benefits.
We girls have been practicing meditation regularly for more than a decade now and we’re absolutely convinced that it makes something good with you:
It changes your mood to the better, it changes you from the inside out, makes you calmer and more open to insights and influences from the inside and from the outside.
Today we want to dive a little deeper into the topic meditation, we will be explaining why we do it, we’ll talk about its benefits and we’re also going to describe a few easy meditation poses, so you can try it out for yourselves.
Some of you might not have done it yet, but we really recommend trying it out as soon as possible.
We guarantee you: you don’t have to be a monk sitting in the Himalayan wilderness and you don’t have to dedicate your whole life to meditation by spending it sitting in the lotus seat with closed eyes.
You don’t even have to believe in anything or any particular god to do it.
You can start at any time, at any point in your life.
You don’t need much time, but the more you spend on it, the faster you will feel results and experience growth.
The benefits of a regular meditation practice:
– calms the mind
– opens the mind
– makes you focus on yourself
– makes you focus more on the important things
– you’re exploring yourself, your feelings, your emotions and your truest, most honest thoughts and feelings
– brightens the mood
– makes you breathe deeply and consciously
– relaxes the body and nervous system
– makes you more conscious of the world you actually live in, it makes you realize stuff
No one can tell you what happens when you get into a really deep state of meditation. You might suddenly see things although your eyes are closed. You might smell or hear things, or even have physical sensations like goosebumps or hot and cold shivers down your spine.
Every time it’s an unique journey and an adventure – it is beautiful.
Sometimes it can be painful, too, as things and feelings might surface that you’ve long forgotten or suppressed. When that happens, it’s the best to let it all out. Sometimes it’s laughter, sometimes it’s pain. Sometimes you cry – from sadness or laughter, or even both at the same time. Sometimes the emotions drag you deep into a pit of frustration and anger. But this is just a part of the process that will make your mind more calm and relaxed in the end.
How to start – the first steps
- Breathe deeply. In and out. Focus all your attention on your breath.
- Start counting up to 6 while you breathe in through your nose, and also count up to 6 with every outgoing breath through your mouth. Take your time. Do that until you get the feeling of ‘losing track’. Your mind is so calm and in the beginning of an alternate state now, that it is hard for you keep telling the numbers.
- Let your breath come and go as it may through your nose, once you’ve lost track of counting.
- Observe your natural breath for a while. Feel how the air touches your nostrils, fills your lungs and your entire body. Feel it exit the body again through your nose slightly warmer in temperature.
- Meditating is not just thinking nothing at all. (If you managed how to do that, please tell us. Oh, and please tell all the zen masters of this world as well! ;) ) Meditation is a way to calm your mind to that level on which it can bring up thoughts from the inside. Most of our daily thoughts aren’t our real, own thougths at all. They’re mostly very ‘surfacy’ thoughts that come through daily routine, worries, opinions of others… Meditation makes you get to know another perspective. The perspective of the infinite universe inside of you that doesn’t even bother about daily stresses, but about the ‘bigger picture’.
- You will soon be able to figure out which thoughts are just remains of your daily life and which ones are actually surfacing from your subconsciousness trying to tell you something. The most unimportant, incoherent things might pop up and first might make no sense at all. But try to notice everything. If strawberries pop up in your head, acknowledge them. They must have come from somewhere. Eventually it all will make sense right after the meditation or even a lot later.
- The key is to not focus on anything particular in the beginning. Let thoughts come and go, watch them pass by as your body relaxes more and more until you’re completely unaware of it, although you have the possibility to end and leave the meditation at any time you want. Don’t be afraid, you can’t get lost, you’re always in control of what you’re doing. You’re body is simply resting while your mind is awake.
- To come out of the meditation just refocus on your breath and get your attention back to your body: feel the ground you’re on, listen to the noises you might hear, and notice the smells in the air. Gently move your toes and fingers, and when you’re ready, slowy open your eyes.
Following are some poses that you can use for your meditation. Always try to keep your back straight in any of these positions, as if a thread is pulling you upward on your head. Keep your sitting bones connected to the ground and try to relax every single muscle in your body: even in your face and jaw. Try not to move at any time, even if something is tickling – this is just your body trying to resist this unaccustomed state of your mind.
There are also a few obstacles on your way to a deep mediatative state. Especially as a beginner you can get distracted easily. With practice, you will be able to meditate just as good even if your surroundings might be a little ‘noisy’.
Here’s a list of what might distract you:
- light – Put off the lights before you start. When it’s dark, a hormone called melatonin is being produced by the pineal gland, a part of the brain, which regulates sleep rythms among other things. It helps you to get your brain into a more meditative state. You can also use a small pillow or scarf to cover your eyes.
- sounds – Try to turn off any media device that could disturb you. Choose a time of the day when you cannot be disturbed. If you want to, you can look up some soothing, calm music playing in the background or look up ‘binaural beats’ online that can really help you with getting into a meditative state
- surroundings – Tell your family that you need a few minutes on your own
- thoughts – The main obstacle might show up in form of your own thoughts and worries. Literally put them aside by imagining to place them on a cloud or making them dissolve in another way. You can even tell them that you will deal with them later as if they were a person.
If your mind starts wandering around, always bring your focus back on your breath. That’s the key trick to a deep meditation. Try not to get upset if you have distracting thoughts. Have them, let them go, concentrate again. Try not to think ‘Shit, I was thinking something completely different now, I totally lost track’. That is way more disturbing than just letting thoughts pass without judging them as they might appear.
- space – Make a space that’s only for your meditation practice. This can be a certain spot in your living room, on the balcony or wherever you like it. Use this spot daily for your meditation. This helps you habituating a routine.
- time – You should have the feeling that you have an unlimited amount of time for your practice, because it’s a real relaxation-killer if you’re under any time pressure. Choose a time of the day when you can be alone.
If you need a quick break when you’re on the go: HERE we posted a very quick and simple breathing meditation a little while ago.
We can give you a more detailed description of breathing techniques in future posts if you’re interested in that topic.
Let us know about your experiences, no matter how long you’ve been practicing or even if you’ve just tried it out for the first time!
We’re looking forward to your comments, and if you have any questions feel free to ask us!