An interest in meditation is not limited to martial arts practitioners. Recently I’ve been asked several times about how to start meditating so this section will be dedicated to beginners. Having heard of the benefits of meditation some students are keen to plunge straight into deep water but that may not offer the best results.
If a student starts with difficult exercises, sitting in uncomfortable positions, they may be discouraged and curtail their practice. As meditation is an exercise of the mind, it is best to start with simple techniques and limit the length of the practice.
For a while, it is worth doing exercises every day for just a few minutes, developing patience and discipline and the habit of everyday exercise. Over time, we can extend the period of our practice.
Over the centuries many different types of meditation have evolved in different cultures and on different continents. In all cases practice, rather than theory, is the most important aspect so below you will learn a simple exercise enabling you to begin. Before you meditate contemplate the benefits of meditation you hope to bring into your everyday life.
Regular meditation will:
increase self-control and will power
strengthen the immune system
improve memory and concentration
reduce anxiety and reduces stress
increase empathy and compassion
improve overall well-being
help to overcome addiction
lower blood pressure
slow the aging process
enhance the circulatory system
increase pain tolerance
reduce inflammation in the body
increase energy levels
clarify our perspective on life
improve problem solving
improve intuition and creativity
increase emotional stability.
Such wide-ranging benefits offer something for everyone so let's start with a few tips on how to prepare for the practice.
1. Choose the right time to practise - meditation is a time of relaxation so it is best to start early in the morning when we get up or just before we go to sleep. It is of course possible to meditate during the day, but ideally it should be a time when nobody will disturb and interrupt us.
2. Choose the right place to practise – ideally somewhere quiet so that there is a minimum of disturbance or stimuli from the outside world. If you cannot separate yourself from external sounds, try to suppress them with quiet meditative music.
3. Ventilate the room in which you will be meditating. These are breathing exercises so clean air will help the efficacy of the meditation.
4.Mediatet before eating. After eating the digestive process makes concentration more difficult.
5. Choose a comfortable position for yourself. You may kneel, sit cross legged or sit comfortably in a chair.
EXERCISE 1. CALMING BREATH (restores calmness and balance, brings relaxation and energy).
Take a comfortable position and sit in an upright and relaxed posture. Your eyes should be fully or partially closed. Eyes should be still and relaxed.
Concentrate on the breath.
Regulate the inhalation and exhalation, so that they are of equal duration.
Once the breath has become regular and free, you can extend and deepen it.
Build the duration gently until breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 4 seconds.
To help with measuring the duration you may count 1-2-3-4 in your mind.
Breathe in your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Do not strain your lungs or muscles.
Continue for a few minutes. 2 to 3 minutes in the beginning and then you can gradually extend your meditation as you become more experienced.
When you finish, open your eyes and slowly return to daily activities.
Never get up quickly, stay still for a while and enjoy the sense of wellbeing.