January 2020 Special
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You’ve heard meditation is good for you, even lots of research to back this up. It’s recommended to help reduce stress, get better sleep, promotes the release of built up tension, relaxes the mind and body and can bring you to a better sense of connectedness.
These benefits answer the question ‘why should I meditate?’ Here comes the ‘but’- But how do I start? I just cannot seem to meditate when I try? How long is long enough? What should I expect to happen during a meditation?
We are welcoming in a new year along with a new decade, 2020. (May your year be blessed with peace, love & happiness!) If you’ve set any intentions to slow your pace down, at least in your mind, learn to relax and take care of your well-being, then starting a meditation practice may be on your list. We hope so – it really does help bring a sense of balance to your life.
To help answer your questions or address your concerns about guided meditations for beginners, see below or you can always send us questions at email@example.com.
Where to begin?
Set your intention or make a commitment to put aside a short amount of time daily (if possible) to meditate. Using guided meditations to begin really helps with staying present and keeping your intention during the meditation. The guide is there to support your practice and acts like a friend. So, choose a guided meditation with a voice that you want in your ear, one that relaxes and is soothing to your nervous system. A great way to start is to pick a course for meditation specifically for Beginners as it will break the process down in steps. Keep the duration to 10-15 minutes. Relaxing and being still with yourself can be more challenging than you might think so for that reason, don’t go for longer sessions just yet.
How do I get started?
You’ve selected your guided meditation and time to meditate, now what? Find a space that is quiet or relatively quiet, get yourself comfortable by lying down or seated. A straight spine is ideal but staying comfortable is also important as the mind will resist relaxing if you are in pain. Your body temperature will also drop as you meditate, keep that in mind and have a blanket or something warm to wear. Play your meditation (use earphones for a more intimate experience), close your eyes and let the guidance take it from there.
What are the basics I should know?
A guided meditation, generally, starts settling the body and mind by deeper diaphragmatic breaths or belly breaths where you inhale deep and the belly rises, a bit like a balloon. Exhales are deep and slow. This process triggers the central nervous system to switch from the active fight, flight or freeze state to a rest and digest state. Rest & Be’s guided meditations also incorporate body sensing as a way to anchor your mind to the present moment instead of just letting it take off with all the thoughts that come up. The guidance during the meditation will also help keep your focus and presence. The meditation may have a particular theme that will be woven into the guidance.
How long do I have to meditate for?
I would recommend starting with 10 to 15 minutes of a guided meditation. If you struggle to be still or comfortable for this length of time, cut it down to a few minutes and gradually build up to a longer time. On a daily basis 10-20 minutes of meditation suffices. If you have the time and want to meditate longer, great go for it! On the other hand, if you cannot meditate daily, don’t beat yourself up, that’s okay too. Do what you can make the time for but, importantly, don’t make it a chore or another thing on the ‘to do’ list. Come to your practice with the intention of well-being, your well-being.
How will it feel?
It is a myth that during meditation you will attempt to stop all your thoughts. If you come to this practice with that expectation, you will, most likely, be disappointed. Rather, your thoughts will come but the awareness is on letting them go and not grabbing onto them and going for a ride. For example, the thought of the driver who took the parking spot you wanted can lead to all sorts of thoughts and stories about this rude driver and what should be done about them. During meditation the intention is to be aware of the thought, acknowledge it and then let it go. Another one will come, but you can let that one go too. When we get involved in the thinking mind, once we realise it we can let that go and come back to the meditation. The breath, body sensing and guidance is there to anchor us back into the moment.
You will feel the relaxation of the body and as you practice more, the mind begins to slow the pace of the thoughts down. With some consistency of practice, you will feel a stillness or peace during the meditation or soon afterwards. With more awareness of this peace, you will be able to bring it into your day when you are not meditating.
What to expect?
You can expect to be guided to a more relaxed physical, mental and possibly emotional state. You can expect your thoughts or any disturbances to challenge you to stay with the meditation. You can also expect to learn about using your breath and body sensing to calm and relax yourself. You will additionally learn and experience going within and being with yourself. It is in that internal core space where you can experience the peace and stillness that you already possess inside.
Thank you for meditating and reach out to us if you have any further questions!
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With gratitude, Theresa