We offer several meditation courses, but if you want to try out a simple meditation at home, here are some basic guidelines:
- Choose your location
The aim of meditation is to be able to bring the state of mind you cultivate into the business of life, but it is really helpful to start in a place that is quiet and free from clutter.
If you can have a dedicated room in your house that is great, but at the very least use a corner of your room while there is no-one else.
Switch of the TV, and put away all devices. It is easier to settle the mind if you are not confronted with “stuff”. Sit facing a blank wall or with an inspiring picture in front of you
- Find you position
Good position include sitting on a chair, on the floor, or laying down straight on your back. Don’t change position mid session, but please do experiment with different position. If you are on a chair it should be flat with a straight back, not a recliner or a sofa.
Keep your back straight and away from the back of the chair (unless you have back problems) and both your feet on the floor, your knees at right angles and the feet comfortably facing forward.
If you are on the floor, use a firm cushion to sit on, possibly two. The important thing is to sit comfortably in a stable position.
Depending on how flexible you are, you can sit in full lotus (both feet resting on the opposite thighs); half lotus (one foot resting on the opposite thigh); Burmese style (like half lotus, but with both feet on the floor); or simply cross legged. You may need to prop up one or both knees.
If you are not used to sitting on the floor it can take several months for the body to get accustomed to the position but if you can persevere it is a very good position.
If you choose to lay down, lay flat on your back with the arms out to the sides at about a 30 degree angle, palms facing upward. Laying down is good for emphasizing relaxation, but can sometimes make clarity and vividness more challenging.
- Check your posture
The important point in all three positions above is having a back that is straight but relaxed.
Relax your shoulders and let your hands rest where it feels most comfortable, on the knees, thighs, or with one resting on top of the other, right over left with the thumbs touching.
Tuck the chin slightly to make the head balanced on top of the spine.
Keep the mouth closed but not clenched, the tongue gently resting against the back of the teeth at the front of the palette.
Keep your eyes half-open and rest you gaze on the floor about one to two metres in front.
Take your time to get comfortable in this position.
Don’t worry if you need to move around and adjust.
Whilst you are doing all this keep the mind focused on the body and the bodily sensations.
- Allow the body to settle and become still and let your awareness fill the whole body
Allow you awareness to descend into the body, releasing tensions in your face, shoulders, back, and legs.
If you want you can emphasize the outbreaths as a way of releasing, letting go, and relaxing.
Eventually allow you mind to settle on your breath, allowing the breath to breathe itself.
Just watch, you don’t need to change or control anything.
- Allow the mind to focus on the breath
Let the breath become the object of your awareness.
You can focus on the rhythm of the entire breath, you can watch the sensations of the breath at the nostrils, or you can observe the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Decide in advance on how you want to observe the breath and stick to that.
Stay focused like this for a predetermined period of time, like 5 or 10 minutes.
- When you mind wanders
Even though you have decided to gently focus your attention on your breath you will find that distractions will arise.
There will be thoughts remembering the past, reviewing the present and planning for the future.
There will be sounds, emotions, sensations in the body, and all sorts of things arising and pulling your attention away from the breath. This is just what the mind does. Don’t take it too seriously. Just let go of the thoughts, you don’t need to pay attention to them right now.
Gently release them and return your attention to the breath.
- Finish the session by resting quietly before you get up
Let go of the practice.
Allow your senses to expand outward and just sit in stillness before you transition into the rest of your day.
Be happy about having done the practice and if you can, generate strong positive thoughts towards others thinking: May all be happy! May all be free from suffering!
- Quality is more important than quantity so start with short sessions
In the beginning 10 or even 5 minute session can be enough.
If you overstretch you will just get distracted, bored, dull and unfocused.
Start with short sessions and when you feel ready you can sit for longer.
- Incorporate meditation into your life
Finding a regular daily routine for meditation is important.
It is better to do 10 minutes of meditation regularly every day than to try to binge practice on the weekends.
Really try to find a routine that works for you and the people around you and try to stick to it.
You can also incorporate meditation practice into your commute, or find short breaks (30 seconds can make a big difference!) for meditation throughout the day.