What is Meditation?

Let’s keep it simple…

There are multiple levels of consciousness and a detailed explanation really isn’t necessary right now. You just need to know that:

We have a Normal Mind when we are thinking about family, money, hobbies, food, friends, jobs etc…

We have a Concentrating Mind when we are trying to complete a task for instance but can get distracted.

We have a Meditating Mind where our minds are still, and we can relax.

And finally, we have a Contemplating Mind when we can be totally absorbed in the mediation; maybe following an easily a lead meditation, enjoying the surroundings, smells, and feelings within it.

Meditation can be an effective form of stress reduction and has the potential to improve quality of life and decrease health problems. 

Meditation involves achieving a state of peace without thoughts. Being aware of any excess stress in the mind and releasing that without reducing your awareness of your surrounding and remaining alert if you should need to. We are aiming to focus just on the present moment, letting go of the need to change to the past or worry about the future. It’s what I call, just being in the moment.

When we meditate, we are aiming to raise our energy vibration, because a higher vibration makes us feel better. You may have felt the vibration of a happy person, its much higher than a sad one. A happy vibration makes you want to be with that person. A sad or low vibration will make you want to move away or not contact that person so much. 

Studies on group meditations have been carried out for many years and they all seem to agree, if we can meditate in a group it creates a ripple effect that magnifies the feeling of peace, the feelings of peace and calm are far more powerful when meditating in a group than alone.

The goal of meditation is to focus and understand how to train your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. Meditation is an ancient practice, but we are still discovering all its benefits. Regular meditation can help you to control your emotions, enhance your concentration, decrease stress, and even become more connected to those around you. With practice, you will be able to achieve a sense of tranquillity and peace no matter what is going on around you. There are many ways to meditate, so if one practice does not seem to work for you, consider trying a different type that works better for you before you give up.

Meditation should be practised in a peaceful place. A tranquil and relaxed environment will help you to focus exclusively on the task and avoid external stimuli and distractions. 

Find a place where you will not be interrupted during your meditation—whether it lasts 5 minutes or half an hour. The space does not need to be exceptionally large – even an outdoor space can be used for meditation as long as you have privacy. My favourite place when I started was is in the bath! Where I could be guaranteed a little peace and a locked door. You can find peace under a tree or sitting in your sun lounger or another favourite part of a garden.

For those new to meditation, it is especially important to avoid any external distractions. Turn off TVs, phones, or other noisy appliances, like washing machines.

If you do play music, choose something nice and calm. You can also play quiet nature sounds, like running water or anything similar that is restful.

Your meditation space does not need to be completely silent, so you don’t need earplugs. Outside distractions like a car horn or dog barking can at first prevent effective meditation but being aware of these noises without letting them dominate your thoughts is a very important part of meditation, especially when you become more practised and try longer meditations. We cannot guarantee silence and must learn to acknowledge the sounds around us and let them go. It won’t be easy at first. You are not odd or useless if noises distract you or drive you crazy at first. It’s completely normal and pretty much the same for everyone starting out.

Wear comfortable clothes. Meditation can be difficult if you feel physically uncomfortable due to tight or restrictive clothing. Try to wear loose clothing during your meditation practice and make sure to remove your shoes. I always advise my students to take off their shoes. (There have been odd socks and even holes haha but who cares) I believe it helps you to ground to the earth. It also helps with posture, although once a little more experienced you can meditate in pretty much any position, as long as you’re comfortable.

Decide how long you want to meditate for. Remembering that you are just beginning. The brain is a muscle, so like all exercises you should start gently, and I would suggest 5-minute meditations to start, but if that’s too much start with 1 or 2 minutes, build to 15 minutes, then 30 minutes before jumping headlong into an hour. One of the main reasons people give up is because they buy an hour-long mediation and after a few minutes realise that there I no chance of finishing it.

Once you have decided on a time frame, try to stick to it. Don’t give up because you feel like it isn’t working, or you get distracted or you feel like you can’t do it.

It takes time and practice, like any other interest, to achieve successful meditation. the most important thing is to keep practising.

Find a way to keep track of time, so that you are not distracted.

Set a gentle alarm to alert you when your time is up, you can follow a led mediation which you know is a set time, there are hundreds on the internet, or maybe the music or sounds you are listening to are a set amount of time. Find what suits you.

Do some stretches before you start to prevent stiffness. Drop your shoulders, wiggle your jaw, rotate your neck, and generally loosen your whole body so there is no tension.

I would also recommend taking three deep breathes in, hold, and release. Releasing all the thoughts and tension and becoming relaxed and ready to start.

It’s so important to sit in a comfortable position. Find the best position for you. You absolutely do not need to sit in the locus position (unless you want to 😊). You want to find a posture that allows you to sit with a balanced, tall, and straight posture.

You can sit—and I suggested without crossing your legs, I’ll explain about Chakra alignment and energy flow later in the course.

Once seated I also suggest shoes off especially high heels ladies, and feet flat to the floor.

Don’t feel restricted to sitting if that’s not the most comfortable as I said earlier, I found the bath a great spot. You may want to lie down…do what’s best for you. What to do with your hands? I get asked this one a lot. Please do not fold or cross them.  Maybe rest your hands in your lap or on your knees or leave them hanging down by your side.

Close your eyes, it helps you focus and relax. As a beginner, it is often best to try meditating with closed eyes in order to avoid visual distractions, plus, you don’t feel so silly! 😊Follow your breathing in and out. This is the most ancient and traditional technique, Just breathe normally.  Feel the breath travelling in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Don’t worry if your thoughts start to wander. You are a beginner, and meditation takes practice. Just make try to come back into the meditation and to refocus your mind on your breathing. It’s fine having been distracted to just open your eyes for a second, take the three deep breathes, and continue.

What if I want to cough? Another common question…just do it…trying not to will affect your relaxation and concentration. Just settle back into the meditation as soon as you can.

Experts Agree that one common misconception about meditating is that it is supposed to clear your mind of any thoughts. Meditating is about observing and focusing your thoughts for relaxation and mindfulness. 

We will talk about visualization in mediations in the intermediate and advanced workshops if you wish to continue after this Beginners course. To explain briefly: Visualization involves creating a peaceful place in your mind, experiencing the sights, sounds, and scents around you. 

You can create a special place to return to or next time you practice visualization, or you can create new places, but I will help you with that process in the subsequent workshops.

Try to meditate at the same time every day, I know this isn’t always possible but do try.  Scheduling your meditation practice for the same time each day helps it become part of your everyday routine like cleaning your teeth.  If you meditate daily, you will experience its benefits more quickly and strongly. Early morning is a good time to meditate before your mind has become filled with the stresses and worries of the day. I would not recommend that you meditate directly after food, you will most likely feel uncomfortable and unable to concentrate. If you struggle to fall asleep, however, try meditating right before bed. It will clear your mind and relax you ready for sleep.

Do not expect immediate results.  You cannot expect to turn into an expert overnight. Just the same as any other interest it takes time to achieve results. Do it for yourself. You are not in competition with anyone. It will become a chore if you do and you will give up. Be patient, there’s no rush.

If you have medical problems is always best to talk to your doctor about starting anything new for your mental health and to ensure postures are safe and appropriate for you.

In the following video, I’m going to talk you through three different styles of meditation. Id like you to listen to all three back to back please if you can. They are only short, and this will help you to discover which styles you love or dislike and which feel good to you. It will save you trawling through heaps and heaps on the internet and getting frustrated before you even start.