Mindfulness Meditation is a simple practice that brings tremendous benefits to your life – from peace of mind to reduced stress to increased creativity and focus. The more you practice the more the benefits accrue.
Below is a beginners guide to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own. I like to do it early in the morning each day but you can experiment to find the best time for your own practice. It’s simple to learn but difficult to master so give it the time and attention it deserves.
Find a good location in your home or apartment. Somewhere quiet, comfortable and clutter free. You can meditate outside in the park, in a forest or on the beach if you prefer, just long as you’ll be free of distraction.
Before you begin your practice, set your intended duration. One of the most interrupting thoughts meditators experience is, “How long have I been meditating?”. We end up reaching for our phone every minute or two just to check. 5 minutes is a great place to start and with some experience and skill you can meditate for longer. Set your alarm for the right time and set the tone to a light chime that will bring you back without scaring you half to death.
Now, take a good posture that your flexibility will allow and that you will be able to maintain for the full practice time. Sitting on a chair, sitting on a cushion, sitting cross legged in the lotus position or lying on a matt are all great – as long as you can maintain the posture without strain or discomfort.
Bring your attention to your breathing. In through the nose, nice and slowly. Fill the belly then out through the mouth. Some practitioners vary the focus of their breathing, pausing after inhale or emphasizing the outbreath but the most important thing is to tune into your breathing and find a natural rhythm. Feel the sensation of your breath, where does it flow? Notice how it feels in your body.
Let yourself relax and become curious about your body. Notice the sensations of your body. The feeling of the floor or the chair. The touch of your clothes on your skin. Move your attention up your body from the toes, up your legs, to your hips and back. Release any tightness or tension that you feel. Continue to move up through the spine to the neck and shoulders, out the arms and over the head. Let go and settle into a deep place of relaxation.
Your mind will wander, everyone’s does, but don’t judge yourself or get carried away with any particular thought. Just notice what’s in your mind, then let it pass like a cloud drifting through the sky. Let it go and come back to your breathing again.
When the clock chimes, open your eyes and smile.
This is the practice of mindfulness meditation.
IMAGE: MOYAN BRENN