Guide To Meditation

June Farahan

Posted on June 08 2016

Have you always wanted to incorporate meditation into your life and thought you had to take a class to learn how? While it is definitely helpful to take a guidance class at your local yoga studio, attend a meditation-dedicated studio or even sign up for a course on mindfulness or transcendental meditation (TM), you can start your foray into meditation at home.

The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years and has been an active part of many ancient cultures. But today, the words "mindfulness" and "transcendental" have become part of the wellness industry lingo. TM courses have become incredibly popular thanks to a widespread celebrity following. From Oprah to Ellen Degeneres and Jerry Seinfeld and even Howard Stern, the popularity of TM continues to grow rapidly. Their website lists a long list of benefits from happiness, health, increased intelligence and creativity, stress relief, improved relationships and enlightenment.  TM was created by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is taught by a TM instructor. The TM institute is an organization in itself and their technique is to repeat a secret mantra everyday for about twenty minutes. I have not taken the course myself but it does cost over a thousand dollars and local chapter instructors can be found through their website. The practice of mindfulness focuses on just that - becoming aware of your breathing and sensations of your body and your surroundings. Mindfulness can be a philosophy that we live by and a form of dedicated meditation. 

Meditation can truly bring you a sense of peace and enlightenment. And if practiced on a regular basis it really plays a fundamental role in our desires to have a more blissful state of mind. The technique is to focus on achieving a calmness and awareness by quieting your mind in a peaceful environment. So here are the basic steps to meditation:

1. Wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing and place yourself in a peaceful domain. If you meditate first thing in the morning, I suggest doing some stretches first before getting in your seated position. I also love lighting incense and putting some lavender on my wrists and temples too.

2. Sit in lotus or half-lotus position and keep your back upright. Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing upward.

3. Soften your face, loosen your tongue and eyelids. So although your eyes are closed, close them softly with no tension on the eyelids.

4. Breathe. Inhale and exhale with awareness but don't let this be the focus.

5. Empty your mind of everything and focus on one thing; either chanting long OMs, focusing on a visual image like the beach, the forest or wherever is a happy place. Another option is to chant a mantra of your choosing. There are many mantras of vedic origin derived from the Hindu religion, or find a mantra that resonates with you or you can develop a mantra in your language of choice. Some people believe that meditation should be practiced in a environment with no noise whatsoever but I love to play meditation music in the background. So do what works for you and helps you to achieve the most out of your meditation time.

You can put your timer on so that you keep track of your time but if you have the luxury of time, let your mind flow in the meditative state. Namaste!