“Meditation is one of the most effective ways to develop a better understanding of yourself. In meditation, you passively observe your thoughts without any struggle to suppress them or force them to vanish. The benefits of this age-old practice are manifold – focussed attention, a calm mind, clarity of feelings and thoughts, relaxation, rejuvenation, better inner strength, and the ability to keep emotions balanced even in stressful situations,” said Dr Deepak Mittal, founder, Divine Soul Yoga.
The expert added that in addition, studies have shown that meditation “can reduce depression and anxiety disorder and improve stress-related conditions like PTSD, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome.”
While the benefits of this practice are numerous, you may often find it difficult and tedious, especially if you’re a beginner. The two primary reasons, according to Dr Mittal are – problems with thoughts and restlessness. But, it is important to know that these problems are faced by “even the most experienced yoga practitioners face”. “A little bit of guidance is what you require to keep up the consistency and make meditation a part of your daily routine,” he said.
Tips to get started with your meditation practice, according to Dr Mittal
Meditation is the subtle art of not doing anything and letting go of every effort to relax in one’s true nature, i.e. peace, joy and love. In today’s life, it is more a necessity than a luxury as it makes you stress-free, calm, healthy, happy and free from pain. So, if you’re aiming to start your meditation practice, here are some valuable tips to help you maintain your consistency and live happily and stress-free.
1. Don’t set any expectations
You must understand that meditation isn’t a quick fix to all your life’s problems. It’ll take effort and time to reap the actual benefits from the practice. Initially, you’ll find it hard to keep out your thoughts and quieten your mind. However, the idea is to stop resisting your thoughts and embrace them as they come. You may notice things occurring around you, different types of sensations in the body, or possibly judging others or yourself. These are natural responses similar to breathing.
When such things happen, notice the thoughts and then take a moment to pause. It’s not required to get your attention back to your breath immediately. Instead, let go of what was distracting you and reopen your attention. Then, slowly bring the attention back to your breath and land again.
2. Find an appropriate time
As a beginner, you might feel that there must be a specific time to meditate to gain its benefits. However, it’s not. The ideal time for meditation is when you can make it work. If you try to meditate at a time that coincides with your responsibilities and schedule, you’ll end up feeling unmotivated and frustrated.
Instead, it’s always a good idea to choose a time that feels the best for you. But, whatever time you choose, try to stick to it and make it a part of your daily routine.
3. Be comfortable
Sitting still for meditation is an issue with most beginners. Since you are not accustomed to sitting still, restlessness can arise, making it hard for you to meditate. You need to be aware of the fact that the body requires time to feel at rest and settle down. Therefore, it is important to continue with your practice, focusing on your breath for the entire time. Also another thing to consider is to maintain a comfortable position at all times to meditate successfully. While you may have seen people meditating in the lotus position, it’s not necessary that you should do the same. It would be best if you got into a position you can hold for long to continue your practice.
4. Keep your practice going
Nothing comes easy in this world. Instead of looking for causes why you cannot keep up with the practice, keep an open mind and explore the difficulties with curiosity. Practising curiosity and acceptance within meditation can help you translate such feelings easily to daily life.
Over time, it will also help you to cultivate awareness during meditation practice.
There is no wrong or right way to meditate. You can be successful in your practice when meditating the way it best works for you. So, without hesitation keep trying various approaches until you find what works for you. As you start noticing greater peace, joy, compassion and love, you’ll know it is working.