Meditation happens when you are able to transcend the mind and connect with your source or what some call spirit or God. To get there requires much discipline because one needs to know how to relax the physical body and calm your mind. Therein lies the rub; it’s not easy and it requires some self-regulation.

People who meditate well often report significant benefits including more peace of mind, less stress, increased awareness, the ability focus easier, as well as an increased ability to concentrate. In addition, your outlook on life naturally becomes more positive because you are attuning to a level of happiness not accessed prior to meditation.

The most important principle for beginning meditators to understand is how to encourage the mind to stop drifting away. For example, when we first sit to meditate, we immediately become aware of how loud the mind actually is. For most of us, it never stops talking and we often notice it most when we are trying to go to sleep at night. So the first thing you need to learn is how to move past that restlessness of the mind.

Keep in mind that learning to meditate requires effort at first. But then it will become easier and an essential part of your well-being that you can’t wait to do every day. The benefits are tremendous and you will know this intimately as your experiences become direct and personal.
A lot of the work that people are currently doing in focusing on being positive will help you greatly in becoming a better meditator. For example, if you have already healed parts of your personality that were damaged or confused from childhood, it will be easier for you to calm the mind.

If you know how to focus on the positive things in your life and can easily release the negative, you will be ahead of the game in learning to meditate. But the main thing is to begin your practice of meditation and do not stop until you succeed.

How will you know when your meditation is successful? Good question.

The answer is when you come out of a session of meditation and you realize that an hour has gone by and it feels like it was only a few minutes. That means you went deep. What a thrill that is.
A few basic rules include: sit in a location where you won’t be disturbed. Maybe your bedroom or just any quiet place where you know you can be alone for awhile. You don’t want to get deep into meditation and be disturbed by a ringing phone or door bell if at all possible. If incense makes you relax, go ahead and burn it. Ideally you want complete silence and as you grow in your ability to meditate, you will learn to adore silence even more.

Sit cross-legged with a straight back and your head resting comfortably on your shoulders. Make sure you are comfortable and that you aren’t experiencing tension anywhere; if possible. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. If you know how to do some yoga postures, this will help alleviate physical stress so you can sit more comfortably for meditation.

One simple technique to meditate is to simply chant the word OM – at first out loud maybe 10 times and then allow the chant to go quieter until you are only chanting it internally. If the mind drifts to anything other than chanting OM, kindly bring it back to the word OM.
Just know that, at first, your mind will want to wander to things such as your day’s activity, or what you need to do next, or that thing that happened at work … but don’t let it! This is the challenge you must win in a kind and gentle manner. Just encourage your mind to come back stay with OM and keep practicing. It will get easier.

If you want to learn more meditation or breathing techniques as well as more about Hatha and Ashtanga yoga postures, go to the Yoga Center of California website.

Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial physiologic effects to the body not to mention all of the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

People have known for thousands of years about the many blessings meditation offers and now even the Western medical community is beginning to wake up to how helpful meditation can even be in the healing process.

But one thing is for sure – anyone who is a long-time meditator will tell you that the benefits far outweigh the effort. So what are you waiting for? Go meditate.

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