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Meditation guidelines for beginners

There are many well done scientific studies showing the profound health benefits of meditation particularly in promoting well-being as well as managing  pain, stress, and other forms of physical and mental distress.
You don’t have to be a monk, or have any religious beliefs per say to start meditating.. However you may already have a strong belief/faith which meditation will help deepen. Remember you are learning to “see” with a clear unfettered mind that which “is”  This exercise is for everyone – young or old. So how do you meditate? Here are the steps to follow:

  • Set the time. Set aside enough time in your daily timetable to meditate. Early in the morning is a popular time as your body/mind is still relatively relaxed from a nights sleep) or in the evening when you have finished your days work.  Meditating for 10 minutes every day is a good place to start
  • Preferably find a quiet place – away from distractions. For example in a dedicated place or room, a special place in your garden, or anywhere you can be alone and un-interupted. Remember to turn off your mobile or TV etc.
  • Sit comfortably in a chair with your hands resting relaxed on your lap. It is preferable to keep your back straight with your neck relaxed.
  • You can close your eyes or have them half closed gazing a couple of metres in front of you. Practice breathing in for 5 counts, hold your breath for 5 counts then exhaling for 5 counts and repeating this cycle at least 5 times. After your 5 cycles just return to a normal even slow breath that is comfortable for you.
  • Be aware & mindful. Observe your posture, feel sensations where your body touches the chair or the ground. Feel the weight of your arms and your hands resting on your legs. Acknowledge your senses – what you hear, smell, or taste.
  • Be aware of your body. Feel all sensations from head to toe. Check any discomfort, pain, tension, anything peculiar. However in this meditation practice don’t try to change what you find. Just observe it. Then be aware of parts that are relaxed. You can let your thoughts wander just don’t try to  change them.
  • Focus your attention to your breathing and note the quality of each breath. For example is it deep or shallow? fast or slow? Count your breath. One, as you inhale. Two, as you exhale. When you reach ten, start counting from one. Your thoughts may distract you and that is okay …. When you become aware you are caught up in your thoughts  just go back to breathing.
  • Remember to let your mind to wander. Whatever enters your mind eg positive or negative thoughts is completely fine. As you practise meditation regularly you will notice silent spaces between the thoughts which will increase. Ultimately you can feel wide awake, focussed in the present and very relaxed at the same time.
  • Finally at the end of your meditation time become aware of all the sensations sounds, tastes, smells and touch. Become aware of your body sitting in the chair and while maintaining that inner state you are experiencing slowly, open your eyes and rest in that state for a little while.

Join the Wellness Centre Wollongong’s 3 Week Beginners Meditation Course and join millions of others  in experiencing the profound benefits of mindfulness meditation. More details here