is another popular meditation technique, which involves creating a peaceful place in your mind and exploring it, until you reach a state of complete calm. The place can be anywhere you like - however, it should not be entirely real, it should be unique and personalized for you.
Do a body scan.
Doing a body scan involves focusing on each individual body part in turn and consciously relaxing it. It is a simple meditation technique which allows you to relax the mind as you relax the body.
- Close your eyes and pick a starting point on your body, usually the toes. Concentrate on whatever sensations you can feel in your toes, and make a conscious effort to relax any contracted muscles and release any tension or tightness. Once the toes are fully relaxed, move on to your feet and repeat the relaxation process.
- Continue along your body, moving upwards from your feet to your calves, knees, thighs, buttocks, hips, abdomen, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, neck, face, ears and top of your head. Take as long as you want.
- Once you have completed the relaxation of each individual body part, focus on your body as a whole and enjoy the sensation of calmness and looseness you have achieved. Focus on your breathing for several minutes before coming out of your meditation practice.
Try heart chakra meditation.
The heart chakra is one of seven chakras
, or energy centers, located within the body. The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest and is associated with love, compassion, peace and acceptance. Heart chakra meditation involves getting in touch with these feelings and sending them out into the world.
- To begin, close your eyes and rub the palms of your hands together to create warmth and energy. Then, place your right hand on the center of your chest, over your heart chakra, and place the left hand on top.
- Take a deep breath and as you exhale, say the word "yum", which is the vibration associated with the heart chakra. As you do this, imagine a glowing green energy radiating from your chest and into your palms.
- This green energy is love, life and whatever other positive emotions you are feeling at that moment. When you are ready, take your hands from your chest and allow the energy to escape from your palms, sending your love to your loved ones and the world.
- Feel your body from the inside. Can you feel the energy field in your body, especially in your arms and legs? If you don't feel it, it's fine. But think: How are we able to move different parts of the body? It's the energy field that flows in our body. Focusing your attention on that energy field will not only help you stay in the present but also will help you connect with your Being and flow of life in you.
Try walking meditation.
Walking meditation is alternate form of meditation which involves observing the movement of the feet and becoming aware of your body's connection to the earth. If you plan on performing long, seated meditation sessions, it is a good idea to break them up up with some walking meditation.
- Choose a quiet location to practice your walking meditation, with as few distractions as possible. The space doesn't need to be very large, but you should be able to walk at least seven paces in a straight line before needing to turn around. Remove your shoes, if possible.
- Holding your head up with your gaze directed straight ahead, and your hands clasped together in front of you. Take a slow, deliberate step with your right foot. Forget about any sensations or feelings in the foot and try to concentrate on the movement itself. After taking the first step, stop for a moment before taking the next. Only one foot should be moving at any given time.
- When you reach the end of your walking path, stop completely, with your feet together. Then, pivot on the right foot and turn around. Continue walking in the opposite direction, using the same slow, deliberate movements as before.
- While practicing walking meditation, try to focus on the movement of the feet and nothing else, in the same way that you focus on the rising and falling of your breath during breathing meditation. Try to clear your mind and become aware of the connection between your foot and the earth below.
Meditating in Everyday Life
Practice mindfulness in your everyday life.
Meditation doesn't have to be limited to strictly defined practice sessions, you can also practice mindfulness throughout your day to day life.
- For example, in moments of stress, try to take a few seconds to focus solely on your breathing and empty your mind of any negative thoughts or emotions.
- You can also practice mindfulness while you eat, becoming aware of the food and of the sensations you experience as you eat.
- No matter what actions you perform in your day to day life, whether it's sitting at a computer or sweeping the floor, try to become more aware of your body's movements and how you feel in the present moment. This is living mindfully.
Follow a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle can contribute to more effective and beneficial meditation, so try to eat healthily, exercise
and get enough sleep
. You should also avoid watching too much television, or drinking or smoking before meditation, as these activities can numb the mind and prevent you from achieving the level of concentration necessary for successful meditation.
Read spiritual books.
Though not for everyone, some people find that reading spiritual books and sacred writings can help them to further understand meditation and inspire them to strive for inner peace and spiritual understanding.
- Some good books to start with include A Profound Mind: Cultivating Wisdom in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama, The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts, A new earth by Eckhart tolle and One-Minute Mindfulness by Donald Altman.
- If you wish, you can pick out any nuggets of wisdom that resonate with you from any spiritual or sacred texts and reflect on them during your next meditation session.
Take a guided meditation class.
If you are unsure about where to begin when it comes to meditating at home, it may be a good idea to take a guided meditation class with an experienced teacher first.
- Meditation classes exist for most types of meditation, but you could also try going on a spiritual retreat where you will get a chance to sample different types of meditation and find out what works best for you.
Try to meditate at the same time every day.
It is important that you make an effort to do your meditation practice at the same time each day. This way, the meditation will quickly become a part of your everyday routine and you will feel its benefits much more profoundly.
- Early in the morning is a good time to meditate, before your mind becomes consumed with the stresses and worries of the day.
- It is not a good idea to meditate directly after eating though, as you may feel uncomfortable and this will interfere with your concentration.
Understand that meditation is a journey.
The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind, achieve inner peace and, eventually, reach a higher spiritual dimension, often referred to simply as being
- However, it is important to realize that it may take years of practice to achieve the level of awareness or higher consciousness experienced by yogis and monks. This does not matter.
- Meditation is a journey, akin to climbing a mountain, where every step along the path of enlightenment brings you closer to the summit.
- When starting off, you shouldn't be too concerned with the quality of the meditation itself. As long as you feel calmer, happier and more at peace at the end of your practice, you will know that your meditation was successful.