Meditation for Dummies
Forget about the fact that meditation is karmic and that it’s easier for those who have practiced it in their previous lives. Forget that meditating can help release karmic bonds and will help us achieve moksha.
Let’s trivialise the practice and make it a little less lofty. Lets look at it as a tool to make life easier. Other than the oft-quoted benefits of the practice (reduce stress, worry, lack of focus among others), meditation has physical benefits too. Here just a couple (but very important advantages):
1. You will reduce your need for sleep.
I spoke to a somnologist (sleep doctor) who told me that if we meditate for just 15 minutes each day we reduce our need for sleep by up to two hours.
2. The mind and skin are totally linked.
A research in 2012 proves that meditative practices help calm dermatitis, acne and eczema.
These reasons barely scratch the surface of the myriad rewards that meditation has to offer. But there are many excuses that people make, the commonest being that they can’t stop the thoughts in their mind. Here’s breaking a few myths:
– You don’t need to start meditating the moment you sit to practice. Even advanced students take time before they start really meditating. Start by doing breathing exercises–kalpalabhanti, anulom-vilom and even deep breathing for 5-10 minutes helps. Then start meditating.
– You don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position. You can sit on a chair, a couch, or even on two cushions (that lift the hip above the knees) with a back rest. But use the back rest only when you need it. Never lean on your support.
– You don’t not think of anything. It’s impossible. Let your thoughts truly flow. This means that you don’t stop them from coming in your head but you don’t prevent them from going out either. Don’t hold on to anything.
– You mind can wander. And it will. This is the mind’s job. Just get it back to your point of focus gently, without agitation or judgement.
– Get a guru. To tell you about various kinds of meditation. The simplest and easiest is deep breathing. Following your breath in and out.
– If you want a simple guided meditation, try Yoga Nidra, which you can do lying down in bed. Just light you switch one light after another to put the house to sleep, you calm your nerves by practicing this form of meditation. This is a link to my favourite, although there are many options on YouTube from 15-50 minutes.