How To Meditate

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a relaxation practice that sometimes uses visualization or a specific kind of concentration technique to achieve a certain goal. Some people have a really hard time with stress, and so the relaxation that comes with meditation can be helpful when stress is too high. Many studies have shown that stress hormones can cause all sorts of problems in the body. For some it manifests as high blood pressure, insomnia, depleted energy or even ulcers, while in others it may lower the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

For Pregnant Women: 

Stress reducing techniques, such as meditation, can also help when you go into labor. Meditation gets you used to calming the mind and taking deep breaths. When you are calm, pain during labor is reduced and so are the chances of complications due to stress, such as a slowed or stopped labor (failure to progress). This can be a very valuable tool if you plan on laboring without the use of pain medication.

How do I meditate?

There are several different ways of meditating. Many books and websites are dedicated to explaining the different forms of meditation. There are religious and nonreligious ways of meditating. After reviewing a few, you can pick which one you like the best. For simplicity's sake, I will show you 3 ways of meditating that I practice the most.

Breath Awareness

This is one of the easiest ways to meditate. It can be used for as long as you want at any time when relaxation is needed. Start by finding a comfortable place to sit. I don’t suggest lying down, because you may fall asleep (unless this is the desired affect), while sitting up may keep you alert. Stretch your arms above you and then roll your shoulders to ease tension. Close your eyes, sit up straight, and soften your belly.
Try to breathe out of your nose and become aware of how you are breathing. You don’t need to change anything, just focus on how you breathe. Are you anxious and breathing fast? Is one part of your breath shorter than the other? Stay in this state of awareness for a minute or so. When you are fully aware of your breath, you may try to correct it, if need be. If you are breathing fast, try to take a few deep breaths and slow it down to a comfortable speed. If your breath is uneven, you can try counting from 1-4 when you inhale and count from 1-4 when you exhale. If your mind wanders, it’s okay. When you realize you are doing it, you can simply focus on your breath again. If you are in labor, it helps to take long, slow, deep even breaths when you feel a contraction starting. Continue until the contraction is over, and then resume your normal breathing to stay calm and reserve your energy for the next one.

Mantra, Affirmation or Contemplation

A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of spiritual transformation. An affirmation is a declaration that something is true. This kind of meditation can be useful if you would like to use sounds (such as ohm) religious text or positive statements (affirmations). Use the same tools as the breath awareness above, to reach a relaxed state of mind. Then recite your mantra, a scripture, or positive affirmation, over and over until you feel it giving you strength. You can do this at any time for as long as you like with one or many statements.   You can find a list of my favorite Affirmations on the Mantras & Affirmations web page.

Guided Meditation

This kind of meditation is really useful for those that have a hard time focusing and their mind tends to wander. A guided meditation is usually when a script has been written for a specific intent. A speaker recites it to you while you are in a relaxed state to “guide” you through the meditation. You can listen to live speaker, or use a recording. If you do not have access to either, I suggest you read the script aloud and record your voice to listen to later.

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