Basics of Meditation

Meditation has been gaining prominence in the West, although it has been practiced in many Asian countries for thousands of years.  While traditional meditation has religious overtones, Westerners were able to adapt this practice outside the religious traditions.  Nowadays, meditation can also be done in order to achieve a greater focus, creativity, self-awareness, or a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.

Where to meditate – You can practically practice meditation just about anywhere, but it is best to meditate in the same area in order to build the energy of that particular spot.

How to meditate – There are various forms of meditation depending on your religious practice.  You can also meditate beyond religious uses.  No matter what you choose, the most essential aspect of this practice is the posture.  A good posture ensures a smooth flow of oxygen and energy throughout your body.  Ideally, meditation should make you feel as though you are being lifted by the head, and that the spine is fully extended.  You can accomplish this ideal position by sitting or walking.  Avoid lying down during meditation as it can induce sleep.

How to start meditation – Find a comfortable position in a spot you plan on meditating more often.  You can walk if you are outdoors, but if you are inside your home it is best to sit comfortably, preferably in a cross-legged position if possible.  Then, hold the thumb and forefinger of each hand.  This pose signals the mind that you are now entering meditation, as well as allowing the energy in to body to flow continuously.

Watch your breath – From that position you can choose which meditation technique to practice.  You can try "breath watching" by taking long, slow, and deep breaths all while focusing on expanding the entire rib cage and abdomen.  This increases the flow of oxygen being transported around your body.  This technique eases stress quickly and allows the mind to regain focus.

Speak a mantra – You can also try using mantras in meditation.  This involves a repetition of particular words that have spiritual significance to the practitioner.  The most popular mantra used for meditations is "OM," which in Hinduism is thought to be the basis of all sounds of the universe.  Restarting mantras creates a sense of vibration in the abdomen, cheat, and throat.

Listen to music – Get your mind rid of everyday stresses by listening to peaceful and melodic music.  The soothing sounds and gentle rhythms can be very useful in redirecting the mind.

Focus on an object – The object focus technique involves selecting an item that creates a feeling of peace or beauty for you.  The item may be a lit candle, a flower, a religious illustration, water either in a bowl or on a beach, or just about any object that you think would help you relax.

Visualize – While in a meditative state, you can talk yourself through a vision that would become that sole focus of your mind.  Visualization assists you in seeing where you want to go, and what you want to achieve.  For instance, you can create a vision of health whenever you feel sick, or imagining a picture of peace to achieve relief from stress.