Life is a balancing act, and many times you may feel a bit, well, lopsided. As you juggle daily tasks, a demanding work schedule, a family life, a home—or any combination of the above—remember to find time for yourself and take a break!
Meditation began as a spiritual endeavor centuries ago in India and has made its way, like yoga, to the rest of the world. The benefits of meditation are realized by those who choose to practice it regularly. Common health benefits of meditation include:
- Stress reduction
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased immunity
- Brain development
The art of meditation can bring a calm, steady, open, and ready mind. Some popular meditation skills include the use of mantras (words or phrases that are repeated by the practitioner), mindfulness techniques, and breathing practices.
Simple Tips to Begin Basic Meditation
- Find a comfortable position: Sit tall on a chair or cushion on the floor. Place your hands in your lap or set them gently on your legs. You can close your eyes or leave them open (but try to keep your gaze in one general area).
- Sway: Move your body very gently to the right and left, like a weed swaying in the breeze. When you have released all initial tension, come to rest with your head sitting lightly over your shoulders, and relax your chest, arms, and stomach.
- Breathe: Take a few long breaths. Then, give yourself permission to just sit quietly without a goal. Train yourself, in time, to sit like a statue without movement or reaction to the environment around you.
- Observation of the mind and body: Notice the bodily sensations that you are feeling. Recognize your breath, muscle tension, and thoughts. While observing, it is normal for the mind to wander. When thoughts come, notice them, and then let them go.
It is important to remember that not everyone goes about meditation the same way. As with other practices we do for healthy living, meditation can be refined to meet your changing physical and time demands. You can meditate anywhere and anytime. It can be done for any length of time. Make meditation part of your life by allowing the practice to fit into your lifestyle.