I started meditating unintentionally around a decade ago, when I started my Yoga journey. Yoga and meditation often go hand in hand but they don’t have to and you can meditate without practicing Yoga alongside. Combining the two IS amazing and a hugely beneficial package for both body and mind. But I’ve chatted about Yoga plenty on this blog so today I want to hone in on meditation.
Just as there’s a lot of misconceptions of Yoga, there’s also a lot of misconceptions about meditation. Any sort of natural and holistic practices come with a ton of skepticism from those who don’t truly understand it. But that’s all it is – a lack of understanding. If you try Yoga and meditation and realize it’s not for you, fine. Just don’t spread misinformation about it.
A really important part of meditation is going in with an open mind and allowing yourself to accept what’s happening and not try and force anything. If you go into meditation with preconceived ideas that it’s going to make you feel like you’re floating or that you’re going to meditate all your worries away, then you’ll be left feeling very disappointed.
That’s not to say weird and wonderful things won’t happen down the line. A friend of mine who’s deeply into meditation gets himself into such deep meditative states that he doesn’t even realize when someone enters the room and speaks to him. These things can happen to you, too. But it’s important to remember that meditation – like Yoga – is a practice and a journey.
There is plenty of science based evidence for the benefits of meditation but you don’t even have to get that deep; for those who are true beginners to the practice, even the surface level benefits are enough to prompt you to give it a go. Such as allowing you to switch off and relax. We all need to do more of that, don’t we?
So if you’re interested in trying meditation but still on the skeptical side, here are a few things to remember as a beginner!
There’s no right or wrong
You don’t need to master meditation. A lot of people are reluctant to try because they’re worried about getting it wrong, about too many thoughts popping up, about not being able to focus. All those things are GOING to happen because we’re all busy and stressed individuals. Meditation is a journey, you learn and grow as you go!
There are different types of meditation to choose from
If one style of meditation doesn’t suit you, there are others to try. You don’t just have to sit there in silence in a lotus position until you feel the benefits. Some styles of meditation that you might want to consider are:
- Moving meditation: This is generally Yoga-based and a type of meditation that I love because you typically get a few really yummy stretches whilst you’re doing it. This Yoga With Adriene practice is a really great one. But really, any movement can be meditation if you let it!
- Guided meditation: If you struggle to switch off your monkey mind, then a guided meditation might be for you. As it says on the tin, the practitioner will guide you through the meditation.
- Mindfulness meditation: This is typically the most common, the one where you observe the thoughts that come and let them go. You don’t judge and this is a great one for learning acceptance.
- Body scan meditation: This is a progressive meditation which has you focusing on and relaxing each muscle in turn, to eventually lead you to a state of relaxation.
- Visualization meditation: This is where you’ll visualize a scene or a setting or even a person. This is also a great one if you want to hone in on your goals and is good for anyone who likes manifestation.
It’s not all about eliminating your thoughts
As I said above, when talking about guided meditation, it’s not about ELIMINATING thoughts. It’s about acknowledging them, accepting them and then letting them go. Over time, with practice, you will find that your ability to focus on your breathing or a visual you have in your mind gets easier and the thoughts that creep up get less.
You can meditate anywhere
Yep, anywhere. On the bus. In the shower. Laying in bed. You don’t need a special place, a special chair or a special setting in order to meditate. I think some people who are reluctant to try it, think they need to always have the perfect setting in order for it to work but actually – you’re more likely to need the tools of meditation in these less-than-perfect situations.
It doesn’t have to be spiritual
Like Yoga, a lot of people are put off by the idea that it’s spiritual or religious. And whilst yes, it is, for some people, it doesn’t have to be for you. It’s a very versatile practice and whilst the origins of meditation might from from religion, the West have adapted it so that people of all walks of life can practice. Westernizing historical and religious practices is a much deeper topic than what we can get into here.
Make it your own
Like I mentioned above, you can meditate anywhere and you can also make the practice your own. Don’t have an hour to sit an meditate? No problem – just carve out 10 minutes. Want to get cozy during your meditation? Grab the pillows, blankets and candles. There are plenty of ways to personalize your meditation to make it suit you!
Meditation has so many wonderful benefits and it doesn’t have to be spiritual or “hippy” if that’s not your thing. Forget everything you’ve been told about meditation and give it a go yourself. Have an open mind and an open heart and see what comes to you.
Do you meditate? What’s your favourite style of meditation? Would you like to try it and have these tips given you a push? Let me know!
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