What if I’m new to meditation?
Meditation is fairly straightforward and in an online meditation you will be given verbal prompts as to what to do. You will soon pick it up.
What does meditation involve?
This depends on the kind of meditation. All meditations have a beginning and an end sequence, and these can be similar for each meditation.
For the beginning, you make yourself comfortable, and close your eyes. You can then focus on your breathing. Just notice your breathing, and observe it for several breaths. This relaxes you, calms your focus, and reduces mind chatter. You can then become aware of the energy of the meditation, relax, and just observe that.
What happens then depends on the kind of meditation. If it is a meditation held in silence and stillness, you allow yourself to notice the peace and calm. Or if there is an energy flowing while you are being silent and still, you relax, and just notice or feel the energy that is flowing in the meditation.
If the meditation is a guided visualization, you relax, listen and go with the flow of any images, feelings and sensations you might notice. It is like being taken on a journey, where you can relax and enjoy.
Towards the end of a meditation, you once again become aware of your breathing, and stay with that for a few breaths at least. You then become aware of your body, and perhaps notice your fingers and your feet and toes. Then when you are ready, you open your eyes.
What clothes should I wear?
The general idea is that you are comfortable. People will often wear loose clothing. Sometimes people like to wear some clothes that for them means they are going to meditate. It’s rather like having a protocol to follow that tells the mind, “Right, this is a special time, it’s time to step away from distractions, the outside world and busy thoughts and feelings, and meditate.” The clothes set the tone for some people.
How should I sit?
Some people like to sit in a traditional yoga lotus position which goes with Indian based meditation techniques. They would also hold thumb and (say, middle) fingers together to allow the flow of prana through the body. It is worth bearing in mind there are other meditation traditions where this won’t be considered a necessity. Some people like to have their hands, palms up, in their laps.
Some people like to kneel, partly sitting on a cushion, and other people are happy to sit in a chair. I find that sitting in a chair works for me as when the energy comes in during meditation, it accesses various chakras in a way where the lotus position and hand positions aren’t the important factors, whereas just being comfortable and open to the energy are important.
Should I eat or refrain from eating before meditation?
It is personal choice. However, in some kinds of meditation, there can be a lot of energy flowing through, and the body responds by using up resources. Generally it is helpful to make sure blood sugar levels are high enough, and having enough minerals in the diet is also helpful. It is better to feel stable and grounded rather than weak and faint, so a decent diet helps as does food after a meditation if it seems to be necessary. The type of diet depends on what helps your body feel nourished.
How long should I meditate?
As a beginner, 20 minutes or so is a good start for a week or so. Then 40 minutes, then an hour. It depends on the kind of meditation.
Working with energy though, it is possible to notice a start, when the energy starts coming in, a period where the energy of the meditation keeps flowing, and then the energy recedes. In this situation, the amount of time for the meditation then depends on when the energy stops, rather than being a set time.
In everyday life, a maximum of an hour a day is OK, as life is for living and loving and learning, and meditation can be used to support this, rather than be a way of avoiding life (with the caveat that sometimes meditation might be required as an escape and a healing respite for a while).
What benefits are there to meditation?
Once you have a feel of how much meditation to do a day feels right to you, meditation can be beneficial. There has been a fair bit of research done on the beneficial effects of meditation. It has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, and physically to lower blood pressure. People seem to become calmer and more relaxed, and happier. Being more relaxed supports creativity and focus, and so improves effectiveness.
I have found that meditations with a focus on self-esteem improve self-esteem. Also with meditation it is possible to improve body image. People can feel better about themselves with the help of meditation, though this can be achieved in other ways, too, I should say (e.g. doing something you can do well at such as sports, singing, a hobby, learning a new skill, public speaking, finding a job you enjoy, and therapy if required).
As I work with chakras and the aura, I have found that meditations that focus on these help to clean up a person’s energy (so they feel better), and I have found it is possible to improve intuition (we all can do it, just needs a bit of preparation and practice).
Meditation can open up someone to the layers of their spirituality, and there is a lot to explore about spirituality through meditation.
Can children meditate?
Yes, though perhaps for shorter times than for adults.
When is the best time of day to meditate?
Any time that suits you or that you can fit into your life if it isn’t possible to prioritise a time. It helps to do meditation when you are not too tired as you might just fall asleep otherwise. Some people like early morning, some people like to meditate at noon, at lunchtime. It is what suits you and when meditations are available if you are doing them online.
There are meditations and articles about meditation and spirituality available on my blog through this link.