An Introduction to Meditation
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult to find time to relax and clear your mind. However, meditation is a great way to do just that! In this article, we’ll cover the basics of meditation and how you can get started.
Meditation has been practiced for centuries, but it has only recently begun to gain popularity in the western world. As it has become more mainstream, spreading across the globe, it has transformed and modified to fit into different cultures and societies.
We know that beginning a meditation journey can seem like a hugely daunting task. We may feel like we just don’t have the time to spare, or that we’re not doing it correctly. However, as they say there are many ways to swing a cat, and when it comes to meditating, there is many ways to find a practice that can benefit you.
The benefits of meditation are well-documented and well-researched. In this article, we will give you a brief introduction to meditation and some of the different ways you can practice it.
The history of meditation
For centuries, meditation has been used to promote relaxation, mental clarity, and inner peace. Though its origins are unclear, it is believed that meditation began in India over 5,000 years ago as a form of spiritual practice. Spiritual practice rather than religious practice, although some form of meditation does run through all religions, and many people still do practice meditation as part of their religion. Even considering the rosary within Catholicism – reflection and meditation.
The most well-known, and most popular forms of meditation today have been developed by Buddhism. Buddhism focuses on three types of meditation:
- Establishment of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness of Breathing
Most meditation practices that you come across will bring one, if not all, of these types into them.
As stated, the art of practicing meditation has spread worldwide and is increasingly popular in society as a way to reduce stress, improve mental and physical health and to live a more mindful life.
The benefits of practicing meditation
Meditation has been shown to offer a host of benefits for both the mind and body. Studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help to improve focus, concentration, and memory.
In addition, meditation has been shown to boost the immune system and promote overall well-being. Studies have even shown that meditation helps preserve the brain in the ageing process, which is just incredible.
Here at Pause.Penny, each one of us have different ways of meditating, and different reasons for why we had started our journeys. Whether you want to increase your level of focus for your career, reduce your weekly stress, or just begin living a more mindful life, then meditation is for you.
How to start your journey today
Meditation can seem like a huge effort, especially if you have never tried it before. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are two examples of how you can introduce meditation into your daily life.
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie, whichever is preferable. You don’t need to be in lotus position or anything like that – just make sure you’re comfortable and won’t be interrupted.
- Slowly close your eyes and start focusing on your breath. Breathe in slowly and deeply, and then exhale slowly. Try to focus on the sensation of your breath going in and out of your body.
- Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander. It’s normal for your thoughts to drift during meditation. Just gently bring your attention back to your breath whenever you notice that you’ve wandered off.
- Start with a short session. Even just 5 or 10 minutes of meditation can be beneficial. Once you get more comfortable with it, you can start increasing the duration of your sessions.
- Be patient and consistent. Meditation is a practice, so it takes time and effort to see results. Don’t get discouraged if it feels difficult at first – just keep at it and it.
- Pre-plan your route so you don’t get too distracted wondering if you’re lost. A route you’ve taken before and are accustomed to is perfect.
- As you begin your walk, check in with your body. Are your limbs feeling stiff? Are you feeling relaxed? Take that first minute to look inward and understand how you feel physically. Work on your breath – mindful breathing is key when participating in a walking meditation.
- Pay attention to your steps. Notice how your feet touch the ground one after another. Feel the ground you walk on. Focus on the rhythm. If helpful count from 1 to 10 and back again.
- Now expand your awareness to the sounds – what can you hear? Notice them without labelling them, it is just noise. If you get distracted, just take a few seconds to ground yourself again.
- Focus now on your vision. Concentrate on what you can see, avoiding the distractions, and creating a continued awareness.
- Bring yourself back to your feet touching the ground, each step with intention, each step bringing you inward, each step bringing you to a relaxed state.
Both examples are guidelines, not rules. Meditation can look different to everybody, but what’s most important is focusing on breath work and slowing down your thoughts to reach a state of relaxation.
Guided mediation resources
When it comes to learning how to meditate, sometimes it can be helpful to have a little guidance. That’s where our journal section comes in! We’ll be working on all sorts of articles and resources on guided meditation, from beginner tips to more advanced techniques. So, whether you’re just getting started on your meditation journey or you’re looking to take your practice to the next level, be sure to check out our journal section over the coming weeks and months for some great insights and guidance.
For now, please check out the following guided meditation videos for starting your practice.
If you want to find out more, or have any questions for us, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest and sign up to our newsletter below. We’ll be launching our new product on practicing gratitude over the coming months, and we’re so excited to bring this to you all.