Meditation can be a “lifesaver” during COVID-19 and any other stressful times in your life. Meditation is a simple practice that is available to all, can reduce stress, increase calmness, improve clarity and promote happiness. We will examine how to meditate, quickly identify ways to meditate and get you started on a path towards greater acceptance and joy. Take a deep breath and get ready to relax………
As you learn how to meditate, the Breath Meditation is the easiest and most straightforward of the meditation practices and can be done in all settings. Find a quiet and comfortable place to do your mediation practice. When first starting the breath meditation, try practicing these strategies for 5 minutes.
- Sit – You can sit cross legged on a cushion or in a straight-back chair with your feet flat on the ground.
- Posture – Place your hands palms up in a “open hand” position with your eyes open, letting your gaze rest comfortably about six feet in front of you. If this is not comfortable, close your eyes softly and imagine you are looking at something calm and serene.
- Breath – Notice and follow your breath. Pay attention to your inhales and exhales while remaining relaxed in your sitting posture position. With each breath, imagine the air going through your mouth and nose. Your environment will start to dissolve around you as you concentrate on your breathing. Some people like to count as the breath in…one, two, three in…one, two, three out. Try to remember to keep your body relaxed as you focus on your breath.
- Thoughts – Notice thoughts and feelings that arise. When we notice a thought or feeling, we are moving our attention away from the breath and/or meditation. Try to refocus your thoughts on your breath by saying “breath” and counting as you inhale and exhale. It is normal for our minds to wander, especially during the initial stages of our mediation practice. Remember to be kind to yourself, do not judge your ability and refocus on your breath and posture.
- Body Scan – This is an optional meditation step, but several people find the body scan to be helpful. To initiate the body scan, make sure your breath is calm. Once your breath is steady, start by focusing on the top of your head, slowing and deliberately moving down each inch of your body until you reach your feet. Focus on each muscle group, attempting to release any tension in that body part. The body scan will help you relax and assist in being “present” during the meditation.
- Close with Kindness – Once your allotted time for meditation has ended, slowly bring your focus back to the room, open your eyes if you have closed them and notice the calm, peaceful feeling you are experiencing.
As you learn how to meditate, some people struggle with the breath meditation and body scans. For those people a guided meditation can be another great way to begin your meditation practice. Listening to an experienced teacher can help us to remain present, let go of distracting thoughts and be kind to ourselves.
Below are some links for guided meditation from UCLA:
|Breathing Meditation (5 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Breath, Sound, Body Meditation (12 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Complete Meditation Instructions (19 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Meditation for Working with Difficulties (7 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Loving Kindness Meditation (9 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Body and Sound Meditation (3 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Body Scan Meditation (3 mins)||Play||Transcript|
|Body Scan for Sleep (13 mins)||Play||Transcript|