Quick Start Guide For Beginning Meditators

Pick a date to start

The best time to start is now. But with a little planning you can improve your success as you begin your meditation practice. Pick a time within the next three days. The best time to meditate is in the morning as part of your morning routine. Choose a time shortly after you wake up and before eating breakfast.
It is recommended that we meditate twice a day for 30 minutes. You will be more successful if you create a habit and start small. I recommend 10 minutes in the morning and increase it as you feel more comfortable in 5 minute increments.

Get Comfortable

Choose a place in your home that will be great for your meditation. Be sure to pick a spot that is quiet and comfortable. Pay attention to the noise level and even the temperature. Goose bumps and heat can be distracting. Also, make sure you are in comfortable clothes. I am usually in my pajamas.

Clear the space for your meditation

Turn your cell phone on silent or do not disturb. Turn off all other electronics such your computer, television, etc. I started the dishwasher once before a meditation and had to stop and turn it off. The key is I went right back to the meditation and I could focus.

Belly Breath

Practice Belly Breathing or the complete breath. This is deep abdominal breathing that involves filling the lungs completely using the entire respiratory system. Deep belly breathing delivers significantly more oxygen to your bloodstream which is critical to your body’s ability to convert energy for the body to use.
The complete breath is best practiced in a comfortable seated position with an erect spine. Begin by relaxing the abdomen. Place one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. Inhale deeply, allowing the shoulders to relax down the back and the belly to push out against the hand. This is the diaphragm pulling down on the lungs as they fill completely with air. The chest expands passively as the breath fills it. The hand on the chest will rise slightly as the chest expands; however, the shoulders stay put. On the exhale, mindfully contract the belly and slowly empty all the air out from the lungs. Practice this for a few minutes before you meditate and strive to use this technique during your meditation.

Experiences during meditations

Falling asleep. This is a common occurrence. It just means you are tired, and when given the chance your body chooses to catch up on extra rest. If you fall asleep during your practice, continue meditating for the time remaining after you awaken, and rest assured your body is getting exactly what it needs.

Thoughts. Thoughts are the natural expression of a conscious mind. It is important not to have the expectation that simply by witnessing your breath all thoughts, (which include feelings, physical sensations and mental images) will cease. Having a lot of thoughts when you sit down to meditate means that you are releasing a lot of accumulated stress. When you find yourself having thoughts during meditations, just notice them and innocently return to observing your breath, or repeating the so hum mantra.

Slipping into the Gap. You will have the experience and with your mental activity quiet it is the experience of awareness itself. In this type of experience you are aware but you are not aware that you are where you are. You have slipped into the silent gap between your thoughts. Many times, you do not realize you’re in the gap until you have just come out of meditation as if you are waking from a daydream. Of course, the moment you realize I must be in the gap the very thought brings you back to the level of your mind.

The most important aspect of your meditation practice is that you approach it with innocence and without expectations of what is supposed to happen. The gates of our inner awareness open through surrender not through any effort on our part. So just be easy with the practice.

So Hum meditation

Set a timer for the time you wish to meditate. This should be at least 10 minutes.

Sit comfortably and close your eyes

Using the belly breath technique, simply observe the inflow and outflow of your breath for three cycles.

Now take a slow deep breath through your nose while thinking “So”.

Exhale through you nose while thinking the word “Hum”.

Allow your breath to flow easily, silently repeating So Hum with each inflow and out flow of your breath.

Whenever your attention drifts to thoughts in your mind, sounds in your environment, or sensations in your body, gently return to your breath, silently repeating So Hum.

Continue the process with an attitude of effortlessness and simplicity. When time is up, sit with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Before opening your eyes and resuming your daily activity, recite the following intentions. I sometimes repeat these several times. Feel free to add your own.

Joyful, Energetic, Body
Loving, Compassionate Heart
Reactive, Alert Mind
Lightness of Being

After completing the intentions take a long deep breath and gently open your eyes. Now begin your day and be grateful that you will have the best day ever!

Namaste

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