Often we are confronted with the stereotype that meditation is an activity exclusively for yogis and people who want to learn the hidden meanings of the universe. In fact, such practices are invisibly present in our daily lives. After all, we always strive to relax and get rid of burdensome thoughts after work, a workout, or a fun holiday. But to achieve the maximum effect, we need to familiarize ourselves with the technique and take the time to practice it. We spoke with writer, meditation practitioner and author of the course "Freedom Within," Daria Smi, about how to properly relax and release thoughts and why it is useful.
What is meditation? In a deep sense, meditation is a tool of the spiritual teachings of Buddhism that helps you purify the mind and learn to control it. It allows you to achieve an inner state of calm of mind and body with full awareness and mindfulness. There are different meditation practices. Some are aimed at relaxation and the non-judgmental observation of the present moment of being. Others have a specific object in the form of thoughts and feelings and are often combined with visualization. The purpose of such meditations is to control not only consciousness, but also our inner energy.
What are the benefits of meditation?
From a more down-to-earth perspective, for those with active lifestyles, meditation can be a resource for physical and emotional recovery. This comes at the cost of deeply relaxing the muscles and achieving peace of mind and feelings. In addition, meditation can improve mindfulness and focus during training and competition. Which, of course, will have a positive effect on your results. Those who regularly practice meditation significantly expand the consciousness and boundaries of perception of reality. To put it simply, people live their lives more vividly, feel happiness more often, because they can see it in ordinary things. Classes give the opportunity to accept and let go of negative emotions and feelings, remaining in harmony. Such exercises teach mindfulness.
What is the right way to meditate?
The right technique depends on personal preference. Meditate with both eyes open and eyes closed. One may meditate while sitting, standing, lying down, or even while walking. In the classic version of sitting meditation, many people mistakenly believe that the lotus pose is a must and must-have. In fact, it is not comfortable for everyone.
The most important rule is to keep the spine straight, the chest free so that nothing interferes with breathing, and the body as relaxed as possible. Beginners can sit on a chair, lean on the back and close their eyes. And then just breathe, relaxing your muscles one by one and letting your thoughts go. It is necessary to keep the pace of breathing habitual for you: it is not necessary to try to take breaths longer or deeper, if you feel from it discomfort and tension. After all, meditation implies love and a reverent attitude toward oneself and one's body, not violence
The phrase "letting go of thoughts" sounds quite simple, but it is a very complex skill that is acquired with experience. The main thing is to remember that in the first few times various fantasies and memories will constantly come into your head, distracting you from the relaxation process. This is absolutely normal. Just gently switch your attention to breathing each time, don't scold yourself for not being able to focus and don't think you're doing something badly. That's the way it's supposed to be: the brain can't be empty; it's grounded in constant reflection. In time, you will be able to be at peace regardless of the thoughts that come and go.
The practice of meditation: where to begin for a beginner? It is advisable to start with short practices of 3-5 minutes in length. Because at first you may get bored quickly and, as a result, you will start meditating without any particular desire. And then you will stop practicing at all. This is a common mistake that all beginners make. The average session with experienced practitioners may last 10-15 minutes. But, of course, this is not the limit.
It is up to you to choose the best time of day to meditate, according to your personal feelings. Some people prefer to practice in the morning to get a charge of energy and awareness. Some people prefer to practice in the evening, after a day's work, to relax and clear themselves of unnecessary information.