Meditation has many benefits such as reducing stress, improving breathing and increasing your mental focus. For the less spiritual amongst us though, meditation sometimes involves too many religious or philosophical references.
Chanting, prayer beads and mantras can be a little much for certain people. Instead, here are some practical tips on how to approach meditation, without any “mumbo jumbo.” You don’t even need to sit cross-legged!
1. Focus on an object
Gaze at a candlelight, calming painting or wind chime. You may alternatively wish to gaze over a natural landscape, such as a particular spot on the horizon or a plant in your garden. Focusing on the intricacies of one object can help your mind become incredibly focused. Sitting comfortably during these observations will also help you achieve a meditative state.
2. Visualise a scene
Picture yourself standing on the beach, or at the top of a mountain. You might even visualise a flowing creek-bed and mentally place yourself in the middle, as your thoughts run past like water. Mentally positioning yourself at the centre of a calming scene can relax your mind, and reduces any feelings of stress. Visualisation is a popular meditative tool.
3. Concentrate on one body part
Find a comfortable seated position, then close your eyes. Slowly choose to concentrate all your energies on one part of the body. You might focus on how your hand feels resting in your lap, or how your shoulders rise and fall with each breathe. Paying particular attention to your body, will help slow your breathe. This will leave you feeling centred and revitalised.
4. Count your breathe
Breathe in deeply, filling up your lungs and lower belly. Now gently exhale, letting all your excess breathe go. Next time breathing in, try to fill your body with even more air. Count how long each inhale and exhale takes. Slowing your breathe can increase circulation, lower blood pressure and also pushes oxygen throughout the body. Proper breathe is essential to good meditation practices.