How to Do Meditation

how to do meditation and relaxBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

The question of: “How to do meditation,” is timeless. Many students want a magic bullet, so here is one that will not fail. Put on some calming music, only loud enough to smother background noise. Sit on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes, inhale, and relax. Exhale and relax. Continue to do a complete breath for three or four rounds. You have just completed a brief tour of breath awareness meditation. You have the option to do this with your eyes open, no music or for any amount of time you like. In fact, breath awareness meditation is meditation made simple and it is a form of mindfulness meditation. You could just enjoy this method for life or try every style you like.

 

Practicing various methods of meditation can be as confusing as a child walking into a candy store for the first time. There are so many methods, procedures and rules. Rather than go over a specific step-by-step procedure for meditating, let’s look at the mindset and other foundational factors that should come into play, when we make time for meditation. Each lineage of meditation will have its own unique procedure, but most adhere to the following guidelines.

Posture

Posture is the first factor in meditation – even if we decide to meditate while walking. Posture is often neglected by beginners, and those who meditate without an instructor. A competent meditation teacher will never let poor posture slide. Posture keeps the body from experiencing pain, from improper alignment, in addition to preparing the body for a meditative state.

 

Traditional meditation and Yoga postures have been developed over thousands of years, to combine proper breathing with the ideal alignment of the energy paths, within the body. Invest in a good sitting cushion, if sitting erect and straight, puts excess strain on the tailbone. Even the most strict of meditation practitioners may go through many sitting cushions over the course of a lifetime.

How to do Meditation for Patience

A major step toward proper meditation is to understand that meditation requires patience.  It can take years of dedicated daily practice to reach the deeper levels of consciousness. Some individuals claim to have unlocked shortcuts to the deeper states of consciousness, but these claims should be taken with a grain of salt. Even if someone developed a magic pill, that could catapult users into the deepest meditative states, what good would it be? A big part of the meditative path is the journey itself. Meditation takes time and practice.  For some people, it takes longer to clear the mind than others.  Just like Yoga, do not force it – just enjoy your journey.

 

How to do Meditation for Breath

Breathing must be done properly, and a factor that gets in the way for many individuals, is nasal congestion. The average person can go through life with their nasal passages swollen, or blocked, and hardly notice.  However, an individual who practices Yoga, or meditation, should be much more aware of circulation problems in their nasal regions. A great ritual to perform, before meditation, is nasal cleansing.  This can be done, on a daily basis, with a neti pot or sinus rinse bottles. Making sure the nasal passages are clear allows for breathing through the nose.  It should be noted that some nasal conditions may not clear up.  In such a case, breathing through the mouth is the only option, and there is no sense in worrying about it.

Atmosphere

Clearing away all possible distractions, before meditating, is another essential step.  Turn off the phone, eat a small meal beforehand, so you are not merely meditating on what it means to be hungry; and really set the atmosphere for the meditation session.  If you practice meditation after Yoga asana practice, you might have an empty stomach, and your session might follow a rigid schedule.  Never strive for perfection, since all perfection is ultimately an illusion, but do what you can to promote a meditative atmosphere. Your meditation sessions will improve dramatically if you let perfection go. One secret to how to do meditation is to release all of the baggage that ties us down. Sometimes, we put so many unrealistic demands on ourselves that daily life appears to be a massive anxiety storm. Be grateful for releasing baggage and live your life.

 

Tips for Students

If you have never meditated before, it is wise to seek out formal instruction.  If there are no meditation classes in your area, there are many books and videos on the subject. Many Yoga sessions also include meditation as part of the class.  If you want to go deep on this subject, we have a 60-hour online course to become a certified meditation teacher. You don’t have to teach, but you will learn all you need to know to practice and/or teach mindfulness meditation.

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West M (ed). The psychology of meditation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.

Achterberg J. Mind body interventions, meditation. In: Berman B. Alternative medicine, expanding medical horizons. Washington DC: Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institute of Health, 1992.

Fenwick P B, Donaldson S, Gillis L, et al. Metabolic and EEG changes during transcendental meditation: an explanation. Biol Psychol 1977; 5(2):101–118.

Schenider. In search of an optimal behavioural treatment for hypertension: a review and focus on transcendental meditation. In: Johnson E H, ed. Personality, elevated blood pressure and essential hypertension. Washington DC: Hemisphere.

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The various implications arising from the practice of transcendental meditation: an empirical analysis of pathogenic structures as an aid in counselling. Bensheim, Germany: (Institut fur Jugend und Gesellschaft, Ernst-Ludwig-Strasse 45, 6140); The Institute for Youth and Society, 1980.

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4 thoughts on “How to Do Meditation”

  1. Thank you for explaining that each lineage of meditation has its own unique method, and that posture is the first factor in meditation. I felt the simple description of breath awareness gave me enough to work with.

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