Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is a method of training the body. But many meditation techniques exist — so how do you learn how to meditate?

“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U. S. It’s a family of activities, not a single thing, ” University of Wisconsin neuroscience lab director Richard J. Davidson, Ph. D., told The New York Times. And different relaxation practices require different mental skills.

It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind. ” But in general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath – an example of one of the most common approaches to deep breathing: concentration.


monk meditationMindful Meditation

Mindfulness introspection encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the thoughts. The intention is not to get involved with the ideas or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each psychological note as it arises.

Through mindfulness breathing, you can see how your thoughts as well as feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly determine an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, a good inner balance develops.

In some schools associated with meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and also mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness – to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.

Other Meditation Techniques

There are various other meditation techniques. For example , a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the actual cultivation regarding compassion. This involves envisioning negative events along with recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving reflection techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

If relaxation is not the goal of is also the, it is often a result. Since then, studies on the rest response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper leisure

Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation exercise yields long-term benefits, in addition to noting positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. Yet it’s worth repeating that the purpose of meditation is not to achieve benefits. To put it as a great Eastern philosopher may say, the goal of relaxation is no goal. It’s simply to be present.

In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment in order to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or even strong internal emotions. The liberated or perhaps “enlightened” practitioner no longer needlessly follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm brain and sense of inner harmony.

Meditation for Beginners

This deep breathing exercise is an excellent introduction to yoga techniques.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Make no effort to control the particular breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your entire body as you breathe. Observe your own chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breathing without controlling its pace or intensity. If your head wanders, return your focus back to your current breath.
  5. Maintain this introspection practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.