Deep breathing and meditation are closely related. Meditation is a powerful tool to help you to reduce stress and anxiety. You don’t need to be a Buddhist or to subscribe to some Eastern spiritual tradition in order to practice meditation.
What you need to learn is to live in the moment, training your brain to stop focusing on past traumas or future stresses. The technique is simple, requires only a few minutes each day to concentrate on the breath and observe the sensations that arise in the body.
Where should I meditate?
Wherever you want. Meditation is a mind exercise and can be performed anywhere. Moreover, in ideal situation, your whole life will be a kind of meditation. You can meditate sitting in a chair, on the floor and even laying in bed. However, it’s best to avoid meditating in bed, because you tend to fall asleep. Meditating on the floor with your back straight up is considered to be the most formal and beneficial way to meditate. It will keep you awake while still allowing you to sit for longer periods of time without being irritated.
What should I do with my body?
Let’s start with your feet. A lot of well seasoned meditators will preach about how your feet need to be on top of each other, however, for the majority of beginners, it’s perfectly fine to have them criss-cross on top of each other, like a pretzel. Your arms should be resting on your lap, your hands rest on top of each other and form a cup shape, your thumbs can touch, it’s up to you.
In short, your arms should be relaxed, your back put straight and your head should not be tilted upwards or downwards, just forward.
What to do with your eyes?
Well, you can either close them or keep them open. It’s often said that closed eyes are not good option, since that can lead to falling asleep. On the other hand, meditating with your eyes closed is easier to focus. If you choose to meditate with your eyes open, do not focus on an object in front of you. Instead, look into the distance.
How long should I meditate?
First, set an alarm. Time tends to feel a lot slower when you first start meditating, so setting an alarm helps preventing a constant need to wonder about how much time is left. For first-time meditators, I’d recommend that you start with just 5 minutes on the clock. As you make meditation into a daily practice and get more used to sitting in the meditative position for longer period of time, you can increase the time. Some recommended length of session is between 10 to 20 minutes, but it’s really up to you.
What to do during meditation?
Here’s where it gets tricky. There are many different forms of meditation. For example, focusing on things in your surroundings, or repeating words in your mind. One of the most commonly taught forms of meditation is called mindfulness breathing meditation. It’s easy to learn, it’s powerful and insightful as any other way of meditation. The focus of breathing meditation is, obviously, on your breath. As we always stress on DeepBreathingExercises.com, make sure that you inhale through your nose. Then, all you have to do is focus your attention on the process of your breathing. Pay attention how it feels when air flows through your nostrils. Observe how your breath transitions from inhale to exhale. Observe that little pause between those two actions. Observe as many details about your breathing as you can. Do not judge your breathing, do think about it, simply observe.
What you’ll quickly notice, is that thoughts will start appearing in your mind and will distract you from this simple task. “What should I cook for dinner? Maybe I should order takeout instead? Wait, I’m trying to lose weight, so I shouldn’t! Or, should I?” If notice that your mind has wandered, simply bring the focus back to the breath. This is how you train your “mindfulness muscle”.
For most new meditators, it’s hard to focus on just the breath for even a couple of seconds. You may find yourself lost quite often. This is totally normal, so don’t criticize yourself. If it happens, which probably will, all you have to do is simply bring your attention back to your breathing.
Try to avoid moving. Itches and urges may arise throughout your meditation session. This is normal, this is to be expected. Just redirect your attention back to your breath, and the feeling will go away. If you want, you can focus on that feeling and observe how it changes.
And that’s all there is to it. It’s a very simple exercise but it’s important to invest your time and will in making it a habit. You’ll notice that your ability to focus on your breath, for longer periods of time, increases.
How often should I meditate?
To feel the benefits of meditation, you should meditate on a daily basis. Example of good routine is 10 minutes a day every single day, in the morning. Some people do it twice a day, and real masters of meditation do not even have a distinction between meditation and the ‘ordinary’ state of mind, because meditation became their way of living. For the beginning, as long as you make it into a daily habit, you’re good.
When will I start seeing the benefits?
Even though our civilization is result-oriented, please try to not think about results, and try to enjoy the meditation as is. In separate article, we have already described many benefits of deep breathing. Be persistent, and results will come, eventually. You need to do it on a daily basis. The length of each session also plays a part on how fast you see the benefits but, ultimately, it’s hard to say because it differs from person to person. Some people people are less mindful in general due to the way they were brought up, and it’ll take them a little bit longer to start seeing the benefits. Give it about a month of meditating every single day before you ask for benefits. Gradually, you will find yourself in a better mood, less likely to get consumed by negative emotions. If you continue the practice, you’ll see more and more benefits along the line.