You have long heard about meditation or perhaps even read books on meditation, but you have not yet turned theoretical knowledge into practice. This article is for you, for those who want to embark on a new path and quiet your mind by K.Yurovskiy.
How to Learn to Meditate for Beginners
For beginners, meditation may seem like something strange and unexplored, but that’s only until you understand the essence of meditation, which is to stop the thought process. This, of course, is the ultimate goal of meditation, achieved at more advanced levels of practice. Experienced meditators reach the stage where they become one with all being; ego ceases for them, the concept of individuality becomes secondary and is totally absent from the meditation itself because the meditator has dissolved into the object of his meditation and has become one with it.
All of this is still quite difficult to imagine. It is a question of mental, mental processes, and, to some extent, physical ones. In general, meditation techniques and methods are aimed at working with consciousness, expanding its boundaries without the use of any other means. The work involves only the consciousness, thought processes, the will, and the desire to practice meditation.
How to Learn Meditation for Beginners at Home
It is not necessary to enroll in a full-time meditation course to learn how to meditate. You can start practicing on your own at home. This is very convenient. It is possible to practice meditation at any time of the day, whether in the morning, right after waking up, or in the evening, before going to bed, which will also have a beneficial effect on the rest itself.
As techniques at the initial stage, breathing exercises will do well: the concentration on the breath itself will help to focus the mind, to collect it in one point. This alone will allow you to free yourself from a large flow of thoughts and disconnect from daily problems.
If you are not quite sure where to start and which meditation to choose to calm your mind, and would like to learn more about different methods and approaches to meditation, you can choose this program for beginners, learn everything and make your first steps under the guidance of an instructor who has been practicing meditation for over 20 years.
What you need to know before you meditate
Before beginning any meditation at home, take care to ensure that the following requirements are met.
- Choose a place where you can be alone.
- Pets should stay in another room so as not to distract you.
- Turn off all phones, devote this time only to yourself.
- The light can be natural, but not too bright, so that it is easier for you to relax and immerse yourself in meditation.
- It is better to meditate sitting in Siddhasana or Padmasana. If these poses cause discomfort for now, you can choose any other stable pose so that your spine remains straight.
- You should not set an alarm clock or timer to quit meditation, as this will simply “tear” you out of the process. Everything should run its course calmly.
A variety of techniques
The most accessible techniques for mastering meditation are related to concentration on the breath. These are simple pranayamas. You can begin by observing your breathing and making sure that your thoughts are not distracted during this process. What seems to be the importance here? Everyone knows the rhythm of the breath, but it is so important that it can change the way you think, calm your mind, redirect your thought process, and improve the functioning of many systems of the physical body. This principle is also used for vipassana practitioners. It is universal, so it is very important to master it from the beginning.
Meditation – Breath Observation
In the initial stages, try to simply observe the inhalation and exhalation for a few minutes. Remain calm while doing so. It is all right if thoughts are distracted and switched; it is quite normal at the initial stage though most people start to worry about it, internally criticizing themselves. Criticism won’t change much. Just bring your thoughts back to the object of meditation itself: in this case, the breathing process. Each time you start to notice that you are less and less distracted, which is a good sign. Soon you will be able to meditate in this way with full concentration for 5 minutes. Later on, you can increase the practice time, gradually bringing it up to 30 minutes.
A good technique for beginners is trataka. All that is required here is to stare intently at the candle flame and not blink. It may be difficult to hold your gaze for even one minute at first, but with practice you will develop a steady attention span. If you tire quickly, you can take 20-second breaks to close your eyes.
The great value of this practice is that the thought process stops instantly. The movement of the eyeballs is stopped, and with it the running of thoughts. Therefore, at the initial stage, this meditation will do very well just to understand what it is to stop thinking.
How to learn to meditate by practicing pranayama
Using pranayama as one of the methods of meditation, you can achieve significant results in the concentration of the mind and its discipline, as well as in balancing the emotional sphere. Properly performed pranayama cleanses both body and mind. By controlling the breath, by making it deeper and longer, or by doing kumbakkha – holding the breath – good therapeutic results can be achieved. But there’s a limit to everything, and as for kumbakkha, it’s not recommended to do it at the first stages of learning pranayama. Just observe the breathing for now, feel the air going in and out, passing through the organs, filling the lungs, and then slowly watch the process of exhalation.
Apanasati Hinayana Practice
You can try doing Apanasati Hinayana, the essence of which is that you gradually increase the length of the inhalation and exhalation, but without going into the zone of discomfort. You should not feel suffocated or very uncomfortable while practicing this pranayama. Better take advantage of the principle of gradualness and regularity, and as you progress in your pranayama practice you will learn to take longer breaths and especially exhalations, and gradually you will be able to stretch your breath so that 30-second and even 45-second breaths and exhalations become natural for you.
Awareness of meditation goals
Depending on the meditation you will be doing, whether it’s a vipassana course or the use of pranayamas, the goals and means may vary, but the main, common focus of all meditations can be expressed in the following:
- Understanding yourself. After performing the meditation techniques, your understanding of yourself and your motives for making decisions in everyday life will become much clearer. Your thoughts will become more organized. In spite of the fact that the ultimate aim of top level meditations is the total elimination of thinking process, at first stages one should put thoughts in order, to direct them, to gain the ability to concentrate on something. This, in turn, will make your thoughts more orderly and your thought process more clear.
- Finding Peace. After you learn to concentrate by doing meditation techniques to do so, your mind will calm down. By concentrating on one thing, it will stop wandering and learn to think unidirectionally without jumping from one thing to another, or, in another way, it will become disciplined. Thus, by bringing order to the workings of the mind, you will be less distracted, and as a consequence, there will be peace in your thoughts. When your thoughts are calm and set in the right direction, your life will be transformed: it will become calm and orderly, and chaos will be done away with. All actions are shaped by thoughts. From there come the impulses for further actions. The thought process is the command center of the body, but it does not happen by itself, but is controlled by the breath. There are special yoga techniques that allow you to control the breathing process – they are called pranayama.
- Awareness. During meditation even at the initial stage you learn to be more aware of yourself, your mind, body, environment – everything in the world. This is what we call the cornerstone of meditation when you gradually control your thoughts and learn to focus them and keep them under control. You really become an explorer of yourself and your life, understanding and becoming more aware of your being each time.
- Disconnecting thoughts. The process of disconnecting from thoughts happens a little later: when you have already mastered the techniques of concentration and awareness, your attention has become even more directed, your general perception of life and all of its components has become more clear. Then, when you do one of the practices of concentration on an object or an image, you may “penetrate” into the object of your meditation to such an extent that external irritants will cease to exist for you, and your consciousness will completely submerge and merge with that which you have been directed at. This will automatically mean that the flow of thoughts has stopped. It is also often called inner dialogue, and in many spiritual practices, stopping it is very important. This is really very important, but during meditation, during the very stopping of the thought process you will not be able to realize that, to understand that the mind is finally clear, because as long as there is awareness, therefore, the thought process is still present. It turns out that if you tell yourself that the thoughts have stopped, they are still present. The realization that the thought process has been turned off for a period of time can only come later, but not during the “silence of the mind” itself. That’s what silence is, the mind stops analyzing, making conclusions. Only after coming out of meditation will you be aware that something unbelievable has happened.