Practical Guidelines for Meditation by Ben Stanford
When you choose to start practicing meditation it helps immensely to establish a routine. When you are new to the practice develop your goals, great posture and your breathing technique.
Meditation should lead to increased stability and calmness though you should give yourself time to let your practice take root in your daily life. We now live in a society which is fast paced and full of technology, where finding time can become a challenge and finding time for your meditation practice is a way to explore your inner self. By devoting a little time to meditate - even if it is fifteen minutes - at the start of the day before work, it will make a difference to your energy and enable you to handle the demands of your busy schedule.
Many people say that the best times of day to meditate are in the mornings at dawn as the body is more receptive to meditative energy. When you can settle to find time to meditate first thing in the morning, the mind is clear and not filled with the noise and clutter that accumulates at the end of the day. If possible, you should allow for two hours to pass before you meditate, as you are more alert and your body is not focused on digesting the food you have just consumed.
If you have not meditated before, it is best to slowly build up the time you meditate and devote yourself to scheduled time-frames and targets to increase this time as you progress and focus your attention on your practice. You can start my meditating for a minimum of ten minutes in the morning and at night, sit quietly and acknowledge your space, body and mind, integrate this with the rest of your life.
Try creating a calm environment - reserve a special meditation pillow or blanket, put on some relaxed and loose fitting clothing, light a candle, etc.; this can put you in the right frame of mind. Find a space in your home which is comfortable and quiet and make it your own personal space for meditation. You can place flowers, ornaments, pictures or imagery that make it more attuned to your energy. You can even play some uplifting music on mantra chants at a low level hum while you meditate.
When practicing with Meditation Victoria, we learnt that posture is quite important for creating the perfect environment for relaxation and your sitting posture. When sitting for meditation, you can fold your legs (see seated postures below) and place your hands on your knees or thighs (palms down if you wish to ground, palms up if you are open to receiving energy). With some practice, you will be able to sit comfortably for longer periods of time. The body and mind will be still and centered, to create a quiet heart and still mind. Sit up straight and elongate your spine, breathe naturally, try to elevate your hips above your knees (with the use of a meditation cushion or blanket) and keep relaxed with your posture.
This is a well known, more advanced position where each foot is placed on the opposite thigh, which completes a stable base where you can remain still with a straight posture. Your sitting bones are on the ground and the crown of your head points to the ceiling.
This is an easier position to hold, one in which one foot is placed beneath the opposite thigh, if you would like a simpler version which is called the quarter lotus, you can place the top foot over the opposite calf while the other foot remains under the opposite thigh.
This is sometimes referred to as the perfect posture for meditation. In this position the left heel is placed against the perineum and the right against the public bone. While holding this position, keep the toes of your right foot tucked between the thigh of your left leg. If your knees do not reach the ground you can use a meditation pillow and place it on your buttocks to become more elevated.
This is a more comfortable position when you are first starting your mediation practice. Place a cushion beneath you with your leg crossed, with your hands on your knees and sit upright with your head and spine vertical. If you find that being in this cross legged position is uncomfortable, you can kneel on the floor with your bum on your heels. To make this position more comfortable, place a meditation cushion between your feet and under your buttocks.
If you would like you can also sit on a chair, in an upright position with an elongated spine. You can place a cushion at your base or behind your lower back at the curve of the chair to remain comfortable with a vertical posture. Keep both feet planted on the ground. Hands can rest comfortably on your thighs, palms facing up or down.
Guest blogger Ben Stanford loves writing about Meditation practices and guided meditation to heal the body and mind while creating clarity and emotional positivity (Integrated Health Centre).