The health and spiritual benefits of meditation have been well documented, with reduced stress levels and a more positive outlook on life being among the key benefits. But for many beginners who are interested in starting meditation at home, the idea of sitting in silence for long periods of time can seem intimidating.
It is important to remember that every expert meditator was once a complete beginner. With a few easy steps, anyone can achieve a practice of meditation at home. If you have a desire to achieve the benefits of meditation, including a calmer mindset and a greater appreciation of the moment, follow the steps outlined below.
Steps to Meditation at Home
Find a Quiet Space
Before beginning your practice of meditation at home, it is important to find a quiet, serene space where you will not be disturbed while you meditate. This can be a spare room, a quiet corner of a bedroom or study, or even a spacious closet or extra bathroom. Any place where you have space to arrange a cushion and enjoy some silence will work for these purposes.
If you have a larger space to work with, consider adding some simple items that you find beautiful. These can include flowers, bamboo, or incense. Decorating your space can help customize your personal meditation corner.
Preparing to Meditate
Once you have found your dedicated space for meditation at home, place a flat cushion or pillow in the place where you will sit during your meditation. Choose comfortable clothing that is not too tight or restrictive for your meditation time.
Before beginning your meditation session, sit on the cushion or pillow with your back as straight as you can comfortably manage. Your legs should be loosely crossed in front of you. If this position is uncomfortable, you may extend your legs with the knees bent slightly. Rest your upturned hands atop your legs. You may wish to gently touch your thumb and middle finger together as you relax in your meditation pose.
Have a timer or cell phone alarm handy before beginning your meditation session. A 15 minute session is an excellent goal to aim for as a beginner, but even 5 or 10 minutes can have a substantial benefit. There are a number of free meditation apps that also offer timers, calming sounds, and spoken guidance.
To begin meditating, gently close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose. Exhale your breath slowly through your mouth, focusing on the sensation of the breath entering and exiting your body. Continue to breathe in this way, slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth. If it is more comfortable for you, you may inhale and exhale through your nose. The most important part is to breathe deeply, filling your lungs until you feel your diaphragm expand. The action of breathing deeply calms the nervous system and causes you to feel more relaxed.
Although at first you will likely be very distracted by thoughts, try to allow the thoughts to come and go without paying much attention to them. Focus as much as possible on the simple act of breathing in and out.
The trick to effective meditation is in allowing your mind to truly relax and let go of its grasp on the many thoughts that come and go. Don’t worry if you find yourself constantly distracted during your first attempts at meditation. Simply focus once more on the breath. When you have finished meditating, gently open your eyes and bring your awareness back to your surroundings. You should feel calm and focused. The benefits of meditation will continue to increase as you practice more.
The health and spiritual benefits of meditation have been consistently shown to be powerful and long-lasting. Meditation at home is a practice that has the power to calm your mind and nervous system. Long-term benefits of meditation include increased alertness, better sleep, and even improvements in memory and learning ability.
Although beginning to meditate may at first seem intimidating, in no time at all you will be enjoying a calmer mind and more relaxed attitude. Follow the steps above, be patient with yourself, and make meditation a part of your daily routine!