Starting a meditation habit can sound intimidating to someone who has never tried it before, but what if we told you that healing meditation can be a simple, gentle practice that you can do anytime, anywhere? And that you’ll finish your session feeling calmer and happier? And that the feeling will last all day?
Sounds like a win-win to us!
Although meditating may take a bit of practice, it comes with so many benefits that it’s worth trying. Regular meditation reduces anxiety, improves focus, and boosts memory and creativity. But don’t take it from us – listen to what the scientists and researchers are saying!
Here are our top 3 benefits of healing meditation:
It makes you happier and less anxious: A study conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that meditation actually makes positive changes in your neural network. In other words, it rewires your brain to be less anxious and fearful.
It puts you in control of your brain: A study by Yale University found that people who meditate have the ability to reduce mind wandering, a kind of passive, erratic thinking that leads to lower levels of happiness. This ability to control your thoughts prevents you from worrying about the past or the future, and to stay present in the moment.
It makes you physically fitter: Everyone knows that stress or depression for prolonged periods is bad for you, but this study by Translational Psychiatry actually found that depression can severely impact your health. For example, high blood pressure, a weak immune system, poor digestion, frequent headaches, and niggling aches and pains – all these can be traced back to stress. With meditation, you’ll reap the benefits of lowered stress levels and increased serotonin (the happy hormone) levels over time.
Convinced already? Here’s how to start your healing meditation practice:
Meditation is not about a religion, but many people find that it brings spiritual peace. Some people just feel more grounded and focused during the day, and for some, it helps heal and process emotions so that you feel mentally more stable.
Whatever your reasons for beginning meditation, it’s very important that you make time for your health and emotional wellbeing, and a healing meditation practice is a great place to start.
- Set a routine for meditation: It might take some getting used to, but you should have a fixed time for meditation. For most people, the early hours of the morning work best, because that is when your mind is least distracted and tired. It also helps you to start your day with a feeling of focus and purpose. Meditation is as much about disciplining your mind as it is about finding peace, so learning to maintain a routine is a good start.
- Find a quiet spot for yourself. Most of us don’t have a separate room or a home gym in which we can practice meditation, but you can always use a guest bedroom, a living room, a garden, or even the bedroom for your session. If you’re the kind of person to be bothered by clutter, make sure you do a quick clean-up before you start your meditation, or that will be the only thing you think about.
- Find your comfort level: You do not have to sit cross-legged or adopt the lotus pose if this is not comfortable for you. You don’t want to be distracted by cramps in your ankles or legs, so decide on a position that works for you. You can sit in a chair with a comfortable backrest, or sit on the floor and lean against a wall with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Set an achievable goal: Start off with a goal of meditating for 10 or 15 minutes. It might not seem like a lot, but trying to harness your mind takes some effort, and you want to have an achievable goal.
- Go with the flow: You start your healing meditation by focusing on your breathing. This is the easiest way to train your mind to focus on something. Breathe in normally through your nose, imagine fresh air coursing through your nostrils, past your tonsils and the back of your throat, and down into your lungs. Fill your lungs slowly, imagining all that healing oxygen rushing through your body, especially to the parts that ache. Slowly exhale through your mouth.
Every move should be purposeful and paced – don’t rush to breathe out, don’t force yourself to hold your breath, and be gentle when you exhale and inhale.
- Don’t stress about distractions: It is fine to hear (and be distracted by) the honking of vehicles, the sounds of your neighbours waking up, the sounds of your own family. Being present is part of the process. Notice the sounds and acknowledge them, but don’t spend time chasing the thought. For example: If you hear your dog barking outside, acknowledge that you heard the sound, but move on to focus on the next sound. Don’t start reminding yourself that you really need to pick up doggy treats today.
At the end of your session, stretch your spine and limbs, drink some water, and then rise slowly from your position. You’re all set for a great day!
It helps to have a few aids: a yoga mat, a bottle of water close at hand, a cushion or bolster if you plan to sit on the floor. Some people find that it helps to light a candle or play soothing instrumental music. Keep it simple, though. You want to focus on your mind, not on creating the perfect meditation spot.
If you’re not sure about being able to set a routine, why not join a group class. Avaana can help you find experienced practitioners for guided group meditation, yoga-style classes or individual consultations. Take the first step towards your inner peace by booking a session today!