It’s easy to understand why we should learn how to meditate, but it’s not always easy to get started. It’s an intrinsic part of our human nature to have a chattering mind, so learning how to be silent it can be quite the challenge.
For this article we asked one of our professional meditation instructors at Orion Healing Centre for some insights to help us explore meditation for beginners – reasons why we should meditate, what the benefits are, and how to get started. But before we do, let’s consider what meditation is, exactly.
Meditation, is all “about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective.” The goal is to attain an inner state of awareness and intensify personal and spiritual growth. In practice, meditation involves a concentrated focus on something such as a sound, image, or feeling.
Reasons to Meditate
Quaff these words like the pure and honest mantra they’re intended to be, let them swirl around your tongue and teeth, tickle them with doubt if you need to, then swallow: The true source of happiness is inner peace.
We’re drowning ourselves in an ocean of material possessions, situations, and experiences in the hope that they’ll drench us in happiness. It can be our Instagram-able five-star holidays, a shiny new iPhone, that dress you just had to have, or a cinema-sized television in every room. Or it can be the simpler pleasures like a daily dose of coffee or that fresh-butter croissant you just can’t resist.
From the extravagant to the essential, they’re all just dopamine waves that wash over, filling us with momentary feelings of joy before disappearing back into the abyss. Maybe it’s time for you to try one of our unique detox programs, which are amazing for pushing the “restart” button in your body and mind? In all of our programs, meditation is an essential practice we recommend our guests to explore daily. Why?
Because meditation goes way above and beyond anything that these ephemeral pleasures can do for us. Its purpose is to clear and calm the mind and, eventually, bring you an inner peace that can keep you happy even in the most adverse situations.
Its benefits can be felt after just one sitting, but to discover the true benefits, meditation needs to become a regular practice.
Benefits of Meditation
Over the years, myriad scientific studies have been conducted that demonstrate the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of meditation.
Often referred to as the monkey brain, the human mind swings from thought to thought just as monkeys swing from tree branches. Through calming our thoughts and focusing the mind on the present moment, we can improve the fitness of our brains in many ways.
Based on our experience with hundreds of students at Orion Healing Centre, regular meditation will sharpen our focus, boost concentration, enhance problem-solving skills, improve communication, and help us achieve greater overall productivity. When it comes to bodily health, there are a plethora of benefits such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood circulation, boosting immunity, and lowering heart rates.
And finally, there is an enormous number of emotional benefits.
Our minds are often focused on the past or the future but seldom on the present. Meditation allows us the mental space to focus on nothing but the present moment, relieving us of any emotional attachments from the past and worries about the future.
This presence gives us a sharpened awareness of self, helps us see clearly through our clouded thoughts, and gives us greater control over how we react to them. Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and restore emotional balance.
How to Prepare for Meditation
Preparing for meditation is an important part of the practice.
First, get yourself ready. It’s often recommended not to meditate on a full stomach so give it an hour or so after you’ve eaten, or better still, meditate first thing in the morning. Perhaps wake yourself up with a shower first if you think it will help you focus, and wear something loose-fitting and comfortable.
Next, it’s important to create the right environment–you need peaceful surroundings to help you cultivate a peaceful mind. A quiet, comfortable spot with all technological devices out of sight is a good place to start.
Then, set your intentions. Know why you’re meditating in the first place, what you want to get out of it, and how you want to feel.
Maybe you’re looking for a little more peace of mind, maybe you want to improve your mental skills, or maybe you’re hoping to reach a deeper state of consciousness. Whatever your intentions are, making them clear before you practice will help to keep you motivated and give you the determination to turn a hobby into a habit.
Assume the Position
Start by sitting cross-legged, have your back straight so your internal winds can flow, the crown of your head should be reaching upwards towards the sky and your chin should be slightly lowered.
You can rest your hands wherever they are most comfortable, preferably on your knees with palms facing upwards. Your head, neck, and back should be in a straight line, your shoulders should be even, and your hands should be level with each other so that all of your muscles are balanced.
Close your lips, have your teeth slightly apart, and your tongue against the roof of your mouth with the tip against the back of your upper teeth. Once you close your eyes, you are ready to start your meditation practice.
A simple breathing exercise is the perfect introduction to meditation techniques. All you need to do is breathe naturally. There should be no forced deep breaths; just focus your attention on the breath entering and leaving your nostrils.
Notice the movements of your body; feel your stomach, your ribcage, and your chest expanding with every inhalation and deflating with every exhalation.
It’s very natural for your mind to wander and for thoughts to intrude. Don’t punish yourself for losing focus or worry you’ve ruined your practice, just return your focus back to the breath.
It is a good idea to continue this breathing meditation for at least 20 minutes every day and you should notice that, with practice, you will start to find it much easier to still the mind.
If you’re struggling to get started or want to get more out of your meditation, it’s a good idea to take a meditation class or practice yoga, as these two go hand-in-hand. At Orion Healing Centre, we offer a full schedule of both yoga and meditation practices so you can mix and match according to your personal needs. Orion Healing Center is located at one of the most beautiful beaches in SouthEast Asia, the wonderful island of Koh Phangan which is located not far away from Koh Samui, a prime tourist destination in the south of Thailand.
We look forward to meditating with you soon!