Almost every culture practices meditation in some form—as sitting, as prayer, as dance or as self-reflection. As the world gets busier and more hectic, the need for inner peace and quiet becomes even stronger.
Once you begin a meditation practice, you will experience many health benefits for body and mind (see below). And the following meditation dos and don’ts will help you get started on your path.
Benefits of meditation:
A dedicated meditation practice offers many health benefits, including:
- Stress relief
- Peace of mind
- Increased self-awareness
- Improved ability manage one’s emotions, including anger
- Enhanced creativity
- Improved sleep
The following tips will help you get the most out of your meditation practice.
- Set aside a time each day for meditation — the same time, if possible. Establishing a ritual will help keep you motivated.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing.
- While meditating, keep your breathing deep and steady.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Experience each breath as it enters the body and as it leaves the body.
- Try to hold a single thought in your mind. It might be a word like “hope” or someone’s name. Let go of every other thought.
The following guidelines will help you avoid some common stumbling blocks.
- Don’t have too many expectations. It’s a common misperception that meditation means letting your mind go completely blank. Distracting thoughts will likely still present themselves. That’s OK. Acknowledge them, don’t fight them, and they will fade on their own.
- Don’t rush. Take time to understand what your body really wants. Try to feel the flow of energy inside you.
- Don’t use meditation as a quick fix. Many doctors prescribe meditation as an easy way to de-stress, but it’s important to remember that there are no shortcuts.
- Give time to all the feelings and frustrations that are deep inside. Don’t try to force them out of your mind.
The benefits of meditation will be even more profound if you also practice breath work and yoga asanas. The yoga lifestyle, as a combination of all three together, is much more than the sum of its parts. For more information, see Related Tips & How-Tos.