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The 10-step meditation guide for beginners

Here is your beginner's guide to meditation.

Written by Pavitra Sampath |Updated : September 25, 2014 4:31 PM IST

MeditationA number of us wonder about meditation. The thought of sitting silent with your eyes closed and your mind focused on one thought seems to scare many of us. But meditation can be really easy. Here are 10 great tips to get you started on your road to nirvana.

Pick the time

Meditation is a time to relax and the time you pick should be entirely yours. It is important that you choose a time when you will not get disturbed and have the freedom to extend the session if you please. The best part about picking the time is that you are not anxious about the next activity you have to do. This not only allows you to relax it also helps deepen the process of meditation. Practitioners suggest the hours during either sunrise and sunset, while nature transitions between day and night, is ideal for the practice.

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Silence please!

A quiet and calm place is of course the best for meditation. Avoid places where you are likely to be disturbed by your family, house help or dog/cat. A quiet corner is the best to ease you into a trance, making your meditation experience more enjoyable and relaxing.

Take a seat

Your posture makes all the difference. Sit comfortably and in a place that is steady. Your spine should be erect with your shoulders and neck relaxed. Make sure you sit on the floor on a rug or mat and keep your eyes closed throughout meditation process.

Eat light

Meditation is best done before a meal or with a half-full stomach (usually two hours after a meal). Trying to meditate after a heavy meal will only make you sleepy and you will doze off during the process. A light stomach leads to a more agile mind that has enough energy to focus on one thing. Your brain is not diverting all its energies towards digesting food or trying to keep hunger pangs at bay. Also, make sure you do not try to meditate when you are hungry, you will find it extremely difficult to concentrate.

Warm-up first

It is best you do a few warm-up exercises before you get to meditating. This is because warming up the body helps to improve circulation, reduces restlessness and helps the body feel lighter. Try doing some light stretching exercises or sukshma yoga (a short and easy yoga practice that lasts for about seven minutes and is designed to loosen up the body) before you start.

Breathe easy

Before you start, it is best to do some deep breathing. This not only helps oxygenate your body and internal organs, it will also help you ease into the meditative state better. Try doing breathing exercises like anulom vilombefore you start. A few minutes should be good enough to prepare you. (Read: Anulom vilom pranayam beat diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol with this yoga asana)

Smile, it increases your face value

While meditating, make sure you have a gentle smile on your face. It will help you feel happier, more relaxed and peaceful. That gentle smile will help you meditate better. Don't worry about anyone looking at you or judging you, you are meditating for your own well-being.

Get some guidance

During the first few times you meditate it might be difficult to actually focus. The best way is to get some direction by using guided meditation techniques. These are simple audio files that will instruct you as you meditate. Not only does this make the process simpler it is also much more enjoyable.

Be gentle with your eyes

Once you are done with your meditation, don't be in a hurry to get back to your routine. Open your eyes slowly and allow yourself to once again become aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Enjoy your day

Experts say that meditation is like an instant energy booster. It enlivens the mind and body helping you stay charged for the rest of the day. Consider it your mini-vacation.

Finally, according toShri Shri Ravi Shankar 'Meditation happens, you can't do it. You can only create a congenial atmosphere for it to happen.'

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of stress.

With inputs from Art of living, India

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