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Meditation

There are many ways to meditate. The important thing is to do as you feel comfortable to do.

In a nutshell, meditation is about bringing your attention to a single point of focus. Bringing yourself to a point of calm.

In it's simplest form; Meditation involves clearing your mind and breathing in a controlled manner.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has many physical and emotional/mental benefits. It can assist with the healing of the mind and the body. When we say healing here; we refer to calming your spirit, your soul, your thoughts, your emotions - all which when in balance can assist with the correct functioning of your body.

Meditation can decrease your blood pressure, it can increase the air flow to your lungs and it can reduce your heart rate. it's also been said that it can help you have a more youthful appearance, but that - in our view, is indicative of your state of mind (as in when you are relaxed and happy you look younger, when you are stressed and sad you look older).

Mediation can also improve your moods, mood swings and memory. It can help lift depression and stress. Can aid insomnia and anxiety.

Types of meditation

Throughout the different religions, two kinds of meditation are noted;

Mindfulness

This type of meditation is sitting or laying comfortably in silence, allowing yourself to focus on a single point or thought. This may be an object, a situation or a thought, but allowing your mind to drift without any concentrated effort.

Conscious / Concentrated

This type of meditation is sitting or laying comfortably in silence, concentrating all of your mind on a single point, thought or object. Minimising all other thoughts and distractions. Being totally focused.

Getting Started

You can be taught the basic steps; but if you do not feel comfortable with visualisation techniques, breathing techniques, mantras, affirmations and vocal exercises if they do not feel right, then do not feel you are not meditating properly.

As you progress with meditation, you may find that you benefit more by adding new techniques to your routine. That is, if you start with the breathing basics initially, you may wish to include mantras, visualisation and vocal affirmations at a later date.

You don't actually need to be sitting or laying down to meditate. You can do it standing up; you can even do it walking. Different religions have different methods, it is important that you find a method which works for you. However, as an initial starting point, we do recommend either sitting or laying down.

Whatever method you use to bring yourself to your own point of balance and calm, you are not meditating incorrectly. There is no set method, there is no correct or incorrect way; however, if you are not feeling balanced and calm after your meditation then it is likely you have not managed to bring yourself to that balancing point.

You don't need to put on music, burn incense or clear a sacred space. You can, if it helps you to relax, but it is NOT essential. Aromatherapy and relaxing music can help and there is more information on this below.

1. Sit comfortably, with your back erect. Or lie on the floor, sofa or bed. Close your eyes and give yourself a few seconds to feel comfortable. Take a few slow, deep breaths. In through your nose and then out through your mouth. You do not need to continue the nose/mouth technique but it can be useful for the first few breaths.

2. Allow your breathing to be natural. Try not to control it, nor force it. Just allow yourself to feel each breath as you breathe it.

3. If you find your mind is wandering, acknowledge the thought then return your conscious mind to your breathing. If you find that your thoughts are taking over, try to bring your awareness back to your body and the breathing. For now, in this moment, this is not about your thoughts, its about YOU, the very essence of who you are.

4. Random thoughts are normal, but this is your time where you are allowing your mind to clear itself, thus many thoughts and memories may arise. All these thoughts in your head, are just your mind settling itself, so allow it.

5. Stop when you feel ready to stop. Try not to give yourself a time limit. You may meditate for 1 minute or 1 hour. Do as you feel is right for you.

Techniques

There are various techniques for assisting in clearing our minds from our daily thoughts and stresses.

Mantras

Mantras are similar to affirmations, they help to keep our minds focused. When we constantly repeat a phrase, we start to feel it within us. (As a real life example, if someone persistently puts you down, you start believing it, Mantras and affirmations work in a similar, but more positive way).

Common mantras, are sounding words such as 'OM', 'Shanti, Shanti, Shanti', 'I am', 'Love', 'Peace' etc. Mantras and affirmations are generally short and easily repeated without having to try to remember the right words. If you choose to use a Mantra, use one which is going to be of the most benefit to YOU. That is, if 'OM' doesn't feel right (as in it may feel a little new-age), then try something like 'Peace Within' or 'All is well'

Affirmations are slightly different, as in you do not need to be meditating whilst stating them.

Visualisation

Visualisation techniques involve, usually, walking your mind through a situation or taking your mind to another place. Just in your thoughts, not physically.

This can be particularly useful if you are having real trouble getting random thoughts out of your head. For some it will be a walk through a meadow, an imaginary flight, revisiting a place you like. But it's much more than that in that you allow your mind to fully sense the colours, the details.

Relaxation Aids

There are many tools and resources available to help with your meditation and relaxation.

Incense/Aromatherapy.

Burning incense or oils during your meditation can help with relaxation. Specific aromas amplify the senses and help to promote qualities within us. Choosing the right aroma may prove to be daunting, it will come down to a combination of personal like and dislike. Oils are much less smoky than incense.

Frankincense is a good all round aroma. Please click here for a list of aromas and their qualities.

CDS

There are many music and audio CDs available to aid with relaxation and meditation. Again; you should pick something with which you feel comfortable with. If what you are listening to is distracting you or not aiding you, don't feel that just because it says 'Meditation' on the front that YOU are doing something wrong. It is a personal journey.



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