Meditation is as much a psychological exercise as it is physical. You cannot segregate the mind and the body right at the outset. There will come a time when meditation will allow your consciousness to be independent of your physical self. But that is a fairly advanced phase. Beginners must not aspire for such distant goals. The purpose of meditation for beginners is to focus on mindfulness, relief from stress, physical comfort, stronger mental health and relaxation of the body and mind. Bearing that in mind, here are some meditation techniques for beginners.
Attaining the Perfect Posture
The first step must always be to correct your physical posture. For a day or two, observe how you sit, stand, walk, run, sleep and do the regular chores. There are people who bend while doing dishes. Most people slouch when they are sitting and working. Some people walk while leaning forward. Some people run without a perfect alignment of their spine. Observe how you stand, whether you fidget or lean against the wall, if your belly is protruding out or your back has an odd curvature.
Once you know the problems with your posture, you should fix them. The most important part of your body is the spine. It should be absolutely upright. It should not lean forward or bend backward. It must be straight and the head must be in alignment, not tilted backward or sideways nor bent downward or upward. If this posture is not attained, either while sitting or standing, walking or running, none of the meditation techniques for beginners will be of any help.
You would notice that having an improper posture impairs breathing, it is a fidgety or difficult posture to be in and you would not be able to control your core muscles or any major motion while being in that form. When you start correcting your posture, it would seem odd and you will feel uncomfortable initially. Live with it and it will become the new normal, which should have been the normal always.
Pragmatic Meditation Techniques for Beginners
It is very difficult to shut off the entire world, to find that reclusive place where nothing will interfere with your thought and to bask in the silence of solitude. Meditation techniques for beginners cannot be inspired from the idyllic yogic meditative state. It must be more pragmatic given the challenges of the real world.
A few easy meditation techniques are walking meditation, meditation aided by music, exercise coupled with a session of restful therapy or professional aided meditation, which is often further complemented by aromatherapy or other forms of stress relieving treatments.
Walking meditation is of great help for those who need a bit of activity and want to meditate at the same time. Music is always soothing, provided you choose the appropriate kinds of music and not ones that will get you worked up. In that sense, even reading a book can have a meditative effect but you need to follow it up with the actual process of meditation. You can work out and then spend ten minutes meditating in a posture of your choice. You can opt for meditation classes as well.
Breathing & Self Awareness
The two most significant aspects of meditation, also requisites, are breathing and self awareness. Beginners must understand that it is breathing through which we can initiate the process of meditation. Exercise helps us to feel the enhanced blood circulation in the areas that are pumped up. Likewise, breathing will help you to feel your being. Use it to start feeling your various senses. Breathe rhythmically, inhale and exhale slowly without running out of breath and without holding your breath. Then every thirty seconds or so, indulge in a deep breath and hold onto the breath for a while. Let it go and then start breathing normally again.
As you go on with this breathing exercise, start to feel the various parts of your body. Whether you are walking or sitting, you should feel your feet, the legs, your core muscles, hip flexors, your arms, your shoulders, your spine, head and neck, feel all parts of your body as living and thriving elements. Then focus on what you are feeling in your mind or consciousness. This will mostly be an emotion.
It could be mixed emotions as well. From joy to sorrow, pain to stress, respite to pleasure, the emotion can be anything. Be true to your emotion and feel it. There is no right emotion or wrong feeling. It is this awareness that you need to look out for. The realization of this awareness will shut off the outside world and you would be in a meditative state. Do not try to shut out the world and then try to explore your innate self. It doesn’t work that way. Focusing on your consciousness will inevitably shield you from all distractions around you.