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Do you like the idea of meditation for your personal health and wellbeing? I can honestly say it has completely changed my life and it can do the same for you. The trick is to make time and create a habit out of it.
I’m going to share an easy to follow plan so that you can start your meditation routine easily today.
Week One: Complete the following each day for the next seven days.
- Sit comfortably, back straight and legs crossed. Or sit on a chair with your feet on the ground if preferred. We will be looking at the different meditation positions and we move through the weeks. For now, however, we just want to begin to get used to sitting in silence. You can use a cushion to sit on for added comfort if you are sat with legs crossed.
Next, take your dominant hand facing the palm up and place your non dominant hand within this. Touch the thumbs together to create a circle or oval. Rest this in the lap with your arms resting in your legs. This is known as the Cosmic Mudra and is used for Zazen meditation. (If this is uncomfortable then simply rest the hands palms facing up on the knees)
- Set a timer for three minutes and play some relaxing music if you desire. I personally like the Insight Timer app as you can pick your own timer sound. Plus the app is free. Although, any timer will work just as well. I would test the sound it makes at the end of the time as you do not want it to make you jump out of your skin after being in a relaxed and meditative state.
- Close your eyes or simply haze them. Again this is personal preference. Personally, I prefer mine closed as it provides less distraction but, try both and see which works best for you. We are all different and what works for me may not work for you.
- Start by taking a long deep breath in through the nose and then slowly breathe out through the mouth. Then let your breath settle into a natural rhythm.
- We now want to simply concentrate on the breath. It may help to think in your minds eye "inhale" as you breathe in and think "exhale" as you breathe out. Say these words in your head as you breathe. This allows you to concentrate much more on your breath and avoid focusing on thoughts that may arise. Do this for a couple of breaths to get used to the flow. Once you have completed this for a few breaths I want you to count your breaths instead. Count "one" on the inhale and "two" on the exhale. Do this until you reach ten. If you suddenly realise that you are concentrating on a thought that has popped up, then don’t worry.
When you realise this just simply take yourself back to your breath and continue to concentrate on that. Do this each and every time this happens, but do not get irritated by it. We simply want to observe the thought and let us pass by bringing our attention back to our counting. After some practice you will find you will be able to get to ten without a thought popping up. Continue this process for the remainder of your meditation time.
- When the music or timer finishes simply take another deep breath in and out before opening your eyes and becoming aware of your surroundings.
Well done! You have completed your first meditation!
Complete the above process, but set your timer to five minutes this time. Again, you will want to practice five minutes of meditation every day for the full seven days of week two.
So far you should have completed a whole 14 days of meditation. That’s an amazing start and we are now going to increase your timing again for week three. This week we will increase it to eight minutes and again we need to practice this new time every day for the next seven days.
Well you have officially completed 21 days which according to research is the amount of time it takes to form a habit. So congratulations you should by now have created a meditation habit if you have followed your practice every day.
This week we are increasing the time again to ten minutes. As usual you should complete ten minutes a day for seven days.
You are now completing ten minutes a day which is a fantastic achievement and will bring you a world of benefits if you are not already experiencing them. However many teachers advise that the ideal time to meditate daily to achieve its full effects is 20 minutes. Therefore over weeks five and six you can choose to increase your practice again.
For this week increase it to 15 minutes.
The final week and the final increase. Increase your timer to 20 minutes and enjoy this wonderful relaxing time to yourself.
I hope you enjoy following this super easy meditation routine.