Meditation is a word that gets bandied about a lot lately. To some people it’s inspiring and crucial. To others a little bit daunting conjuring images of cross-legged monks sitting in motionless silence for hours. But when you consider the synonyms for meditation, it brings the quiet spiritual practice down to earth. Quite simply it’s a deep state of quiet relaxation, reflection and contemplation.
A friend likes to call her meditation CDs “The Medication” because of the near instant benefits she feels after listening to one. And with an array of mediation CDs and apps available it’s easier than ever to induce this blissful state of calm consideration by listening to soft tones, nature sounds or guided meditation tracks.
If you’d like to create a meditation routine, it’s very easily done. First consider the best time for you to slip away for some self-care each day. Then find a quiet, comfortable space where you’re unlikely to be interrupted. Ideally you should try to carve out about an hour, but if that’s unfeasible, five to 30 minutes is a great place to start. The key is to try and be as consistent with the practice as possible to reap maximum benefits, which include calm, clarity and creativity.
If you’re comfortable sitting for long periods cross-legged or kneeling, then positioning yourself on a folded blanket or pillow is great. You can also sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet on the floor or on a footrest. That said, lying on a soft surface or even a bed is a possibility. You do risk dozing off during your practice but if you’re using a time-based meditation program you will usually be roused by a chime or bell when it’s complete. And even if it’s more nap-itation than meditation, you’ll still benefit from a short restful interval.
Apps like Headspace, Insight, Calmness and Stop, Breath & Think offer a selection of talk and sound meditations of varying lengths. Programs like Holosync, set to the sound of rain and chimes, offer progressive levels to heighten your practice. Yoga Nidra also focuses on deep breathing and relaxation techniques and is facilitated by a yoga instructor. And if you’re interested in more in depth talk meditations, Jon Kabot Zinn, a PhD practitioner and expert in has a website where you can get his soothing body scans.
So however you choose to quiet and “lose” your mind for a short time, you’ll be amazed how beneficial it is to finding yourself.