Most of us think that meditation is a complicated exercise which requires guidance from experienced yoga and meditation practitioners. What we fail to realize is that meditation is a very simple exercise and can be practiced effectively from the comfort of your home. There is no need to go to expensive retreats and spend load of money in order to do meditation.
Meditation helps us to connect ourselves with the true
nature of what we are; the loving, peaceful and joyful being that we are.
Meditation had its origin in the eastern cultures, but it has now become quite popular in the west as well. More and more people are realizing its benefits and even medical practitioners are advocating it as a side practice along with the conventional medical treatment. There are scientific studies which indicate positive health benefits of meditation on stress related disorders.
Here I give you a step by step guide of how you can start practicing meditation at home. This particular meditation is also known as the Mindfulness Meditation and it is good starting point for beginners.
Step 1: Pick a time and place where no one disturbs you
When you are just starting meditation it’s important to chose
a place inside your house where no one disturbs you. It can be anyplace like
your room, or the living area, and you can also inform other people in your
house to not disturb you for the next 10 to 15 minutes.
Although meditation can be done anytime, I personally find
early morning time to be the best because everybody is fast asleep and so
there’s virtually no disturbance. There is no hard and fast rule, if you prefer
evening time, or afternoon, it’s totally up to you. But the main point is that
you should have your space with no disturbances.
As you are new to this practice, it’s but natural that your
mind will have trouble focusing and will often wander away in thoughts. At
times you will feel that you have just wasted your time. I used to feel like
this when I started. But it’s not wasting your time. You are training your mind
to focus and teaching your body to relax, so be patient.
If there are noises and disturbances around it will be
difficult for you to focus, so chose a time and place where nobody disturbs you
for the next couple of minutes.
I have been practicing meditation for the past 4 years. And
now I have trained myself in such a way that I can meditate standing even in
the middle of a crowed subway station. But in the beginning you should be kind
and gently to mind. Don’t expect it to just learn and behave in a particular
manner in a short period of time.
Step 2: Eliminate all sources of distraction
This is perhaps one of the most important step in starting
meditation. Please ensure that you have no distractions around you while you
are meditating. Turn off your television, smartphones and other devices which
send out periodic notifications.
I generally keep my phone and all electronic devices off and
away from myself. The reason is that while meditating we usually get thoughts
like “Oh that urgent email I was supposed to get from the client”, “I wonder
how many likes did I get on the picture I posted on Instagram yesterday”, and
Now if your phone is nearby, you will be tempted to break
your meditation to check your phone and the whole exercise will be fruitless.
If for some reason you can’t switch off your phone (like if you are setting up
a timer for your meditation), put it on Do Not Disturb mode.
Step 3: Let the nature help you
Open the doors and windows and let the light and fresh air
flow in. Nature is very kind to all of us and provides us with all of the
elements that help nourish our mind and body. Natural light has a very calming
effect on our minds as compared to the artificial light of the room.
Feel the natural sunlight on your body and inhale fresh air
for a couple of minutes before you start your meditation session. In case you
have a house where you don’t get enough light or fresh air, just go out for a
couple of minutes, do a little deep breathing and then come back for
Step 4: Choose a comfortable posture
Posture is very important in meditation. It’s important to
choose a posture which is comfortable and allows you to fully relax during
meditation. Choosing a bad posture will create discomfort in multiple parts of
your body and distract your meditation by bringing your attention to the pain.
If you are new to the practice, you can either sit on the
ground in a cross legged position, or you sit on the chair with back straight.
Most of us see those picture of experts sitting in complicated yoga postures
and we feel that is only way me can make most out of our practice. But that’s
not the truth.
I know of some expert meditators who can sit still on a chair for a couple of hours in a row. In case, you have issues with your knees or back, I have written a complete post on how to meditation with bad knees and back.
Step 5: Bring your awareness to breath
Once you are seated properly, close your eyes and bring your
awareness to the gentle movement of air in and out of your nostrils. Don’t try
to force your breath, just keep the natural rhythm going on. Be aware of any
feelings or thoughts which are generated.
If you find your mind wandering away in the thoughts, bring
back your awareness to your breath gently. Don’t feel bad about the fact that
you got lost in your thoughts. This is bound to happen when you are starting
At times, you will get the feeling that you couldn’t focus
on the breath at all during your entire meditation session. But don’t be hard
on yourself. These things happen during the initial stages. It’s important to
say consistent and practice everyday.
Step 6: Commit to a short period of time
When you are starting out just commit for 10 minutes or so
in a day. You will be tempted to meditate for long hours but I suggest you to
keep you time period short initially. Because at this stage we just trying to
form a routine and a habit. We don’t want to overdo and burn ourselves in the
time to come.
Remember, if you have decided to make meditation a part of
your life, it’s going to be a long journey, and so prepare yourself
10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening is sufficient
to start with. Form a routine first and stick to it for some time and then
gradually increase your session time as you make more progress. If you find 10
minutes long, just do it for 5 minutes.
After the time passes, open you eyes, bring your awareness
back to the world and slowly get up and get on with other work. Don’t immediately
pick up your smartphone or switch on the television. Give it a few minutes
because the body takes some time to adapt to the transition from the inner
world to the outer world, and vice-versa.
What about the diet?
Diet plays a major role and greatly impacts our meditation
session. Make sure that you are empty stomach for the past 2 to 3 hours before
you start meditation. For example, if you had lunch at 1:00 pm then wait for at
least 4:00pm to start your session.
You must understand the fact that when you consume a meal,
all the organs in your body are working digesting that food. This process takes
at least 2 to 3 hours and if during that time you sit for meditation, your
focus will not be that strong. You will feel sleepy and lethargic and most
probably will drift off to sleep (I’ve seen some people even snoring … ;))
So, it’s very clear now that we need to be empty stomach to practice meditation, but we should also not be starving. If you have not had food for hours and body is starving, you will again not be able to concentrate. Except for the morning time when you wake up. At that time, you have undergone a fast of more than 10 hours and at the same time your body is also not starving. That’s why I advocate practicing meditation early morning.
Other types of meditations that you can practice
The meditation technique described above is known as mindfulness
meditation. But there is no hard and fast rule that only this type of
meditation has to do practiced. There are a wide variety of meditation practices
to choose from. A few of them are as follows:
Loving kindness meditation
Also known as the ‘Metta’ meditation allows you to be develop feelings of compassion, love and kindness towards everyone. Even towards those you are unkind to you.
It is especially helpful in cases where are you hurt by troubled relationships and have feelings of anger and resentment towards others.
Body scan meditation
It is sometimes as referred to as progressive relaxation meditation. In this type of meditation, you scan your whole body step by step and identify the areas where the tension is building up and gently allow it to release.
Many a times body scan mediation is practiced by people suffering with chronic pain and it helps them relax their body, reduce the effects of pain and allow for better sleep.
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Also known as TM. Its goal is to allow your mind to reach a state of perfect stillness and restful calm. This allows a person to transcend the current state of being, which in most cases is associated with a restless mind, and hence the name Transcendental Meditation.
Here we do not employ breathing techniques as we did in other meditation practices, but instead chant a mantra over and over again till our mind settles down into a restful state.
Zen Meditation is a part of Buddhist practice and at times is also known as ‘Zazen’. This type of meditation is quite similar to the mindfulness meditation I described above.
It encompasses focusing on your breath and mindfully observing your thoughts and feelings. It requires more discipline and is generally advised to be practiced under the supervision of a teacher.
Kundalini Yoga is again a very specialized from of meditation which requires deep breathing with specific movements and is generally practiced under the supervision of a trained teacher.
The objective is to allow the energy to flow efficiently inside the body and pass through all the chakras and help in their activation.
Many traditions believe that our body is composed of many chakras which are the energy centers associated with specific body parts (although they are not a part of the physical body) and greatly contribute towards one’s spiritual progress.
Why should you meditate?
Meditation can help you to broaden your perspective of life
by clearing your mind of clutter. There was a time when money was all important
for me. I was chasing wealth because I believed that it will bring happiness in
my life. This illusion is so strong that we are not able to see beyond a
We see and hear others and form our own ideas of success and
fame. But is that really what we want? I don’t blame you because it took me a
very long time to find out that everything I need is right here in this very
moment. It took me a time of 20 years to
experience that bliss of the moment.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to take care of yourself
financially and there’s nothing wrong with earning money. After all you need to
sustain yourself and your family. But do realize that fact that the maya (the illusion) or the promise of
happiness that is advocated by the society may not be the one that you want in
Once you are free from the bondages of your thoughts and
emotions, you will clearly see the reality as it is. You are not bothered by what’s
happening outside in the world and also by what’s going inside you. You become a mere witness.
A clear mind helps you make better decisions in life. Meditation helps you to gain that clarity. In addition, there are lots of benefits for the physical body as well. Meditation has been used by people to help with stress and anxiety, depression, chronic pain, diabetes, and host of other ailments.
Meditation is said to be the practice which heightens our
awareness and helps us to align our consciousness with the universal
consciousness. It guides us all the way to that area of perfect stillness where
we experience unlimited joy and infinite creative intelligence.
No matter which type of meditation you practice, the ultimate
goal of all meditation practice is the same; realization of the self. It is
simple practice that can help you enrich your life and fill you with abundant
peace and joy. Like everything in life, it takes time, patience and consistency
to realize the benefits of meditation.