PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Although meditation has been around for a very long time, only recently has it become a part of main- stream media with numerous musicians, actors, professional athletes, Olympians, coaches, and young professionals turning to the practice of meditation.

In fact, science has shown that meditation is one of only three things you can do to improve your will power (the other two being exercise and sleep)!

On top of this meditation will help you manage stress better, have more mental clarity, rejuvenate your spirituality, and help you gain a greater sense of awareness about your body.

WHERE TO START?

Even with all these amazing bene- fits knowing where to start is often confusing so I have created some simple guidelines to help you out.

CHOOSE A RELAXING ENVIRONMENT. Find a nice quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for fifteen minutes or longer. Sit down, relax and rest your hands on your lap. You can sit on the floor cross-legged with support of a meditation cushion, or on a chair with your feet resting on the ground. It is not necessary to force yourself into a lotus position if you’re not used to it. Regardless of how you sit, it is important to maintain a natural curve in your back. That means no slouching.

BREATHE SLOWLY AND DEEPLY. Close your eyes softly. Direct your soft, unfocused gaze downwards. Begin by taking a few slow and deep breaths – inhaling with your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Don’t force your breathing; let it come naturally. The first few intakes of air are likely to be shallow, but as you allow more air to fill your lungs, your breaths will gradually become deeper and fuller. Take as long as you need to breathe slowly and deeply.

BE AWARE. When you are breathing deeply, you will begin to feel calmer and more relaxed. That is a good sign. Now focus your attention on your breathing. Be aware of each breath that you take in through you nose. Be mindful of each breath you exhale with your mouth. Continue focusing on your breaths for as long as you like. If you find your attention swaying from your breaths, just gently bring it back. It may happen many times. Don’t be disheartened. What’s more important is that you realize that you have wandered and bring your attention back to where it should be. As you develop greater focus power, you will find it easier to concentrate.

ENDING THE SESSION. When you are ready to end the session, open your eyes and stand up slowly. Stretch yourself and extend your increased awareness to your activities.

It won’t take long before the benefits of meditation start to show, as for time of day it ranges from person to person (actually there is never a BAD time to do it!) but if you are looking to maximize it’s effects my recommendation would be to include it as your morning ritual within an hour of waking.

Start small. Five minutes a day is all it will take to start but remember that just like exercise, progress is important so look to improve from week to week until you are able to do twenty minutes at a time — seven days a week.

And here’s the thing about meditation: if you are too busy to do it, than it is even more important to get started.

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