Start your meditation journey today

One thing many who practice meditation will tell you is that it helps improve their sense of resilience, and that they feel more grounded when facing a difficult time, and thus more adept at dealing with the emotions that come with that.

Anybody can start their meditation practice, at any time. There are no special tools or teachings required, only a sense of awareness and an open mind. To begin, engage in a simpler and more accessible form called Body Scan. Body scan is especially great as a way to wind down before sleep, and to focus the mind.

To begin your practice, sit or lie somewhere quiet and comfortable (you shouldn’t have to shift around) and begin by closing your eyes and breathing rhythmically. As you relax your breath will fall into a natural ebb; typically, meditative breathing is slow, rhythmic and can be through mouth or nose depending on what’s comfortable for you.

Eyes open or closed really depends what is comfortable for you- don’t worry, as you relax your body will guide you. You may feel eyes open is too distracting or you might find a single spot to focus your vision on. If closed eyes help you to block out some of the outside distractions, then you can also do so.

Now that you have fixed your gaze or closed your eyes, pay conscious attention to where you are sitting or lying; feel the comfort of the furniture enveloping you, feel the support it provides your body and surrender to this- give in to the physical support the furniture provides and imagine you are weightless. Do this for a little while. Now, you are going to move through your body starting with your feet. Yes, your feet. This is how we begin a Body Scan. A Body Scan is focusing on each body part and observing the sensation that comes with it. Perhaps, you feel tingling, or a slight ache somewhere; observe it, feel it and then release it and move on to the next body part- ankles. As you progress move through each body part and repeat the exercise. Pay conscious attention to each body part.

This is a mindfulness exercise and takes as little as fifteen minutes a day. While engaged in your practice, you’ll find your head filled will millions of thoughts all the time. The trick is not to ignore these thoughts but rather to observe them and then release them. Imagine in your mind is the view finder on a camera; take a snapshot of the thought, look at it then clear the view finder for the next shot and so you go. Neuroscience shows that noticing that your attention is drifting off, and then consciously re-focusing it to where it was before over and over creates new neural pathways in the brain. Another plus for cognitive functioning!

The more you meditate the ‘easier’ it will become and the more benefits you’ll experience. Remember this is a mindfulness exercise, and there are many forms of meditation so explore a little more until you find what suits you.