08 Sep Meditation easy enhancements for success
Struggling with meditation?
Welcome to this essential guide to get you started in a successful meditation practice. You’ll be well on your way with the steps provided, with a sure understanding of why it’s a no brainer to to put aside even the smallest portion of your day for this golden elixir of life practice.
Having a mediation practice has become widely recognised as a massive health benefit for mind and body, overall well being, life longevity and long term peace and happiness.
This is an amazing shift in consciousness and should absolutely be celebrated. A true sign as a collective we are taking more responsibility for our own health and well being.
Mastery of meditation is the uninterrupted flow of single pointed concentration or no thought at all. 100% present moment, no thoughts of past or future, mind, body and soul unified. Existing beyond space and time, there is only the present moment.
Whilst in the beginning this may seem like an impossible task, the practice of meditation is cumulative. Perseverance, regular practice will pay off. Quieten the mind with a single point focus, producing more and more space between our thoughts. Our inner awareness increases whilst we detach from our outer reality.
Further benefits include (but not limited to) reducing stress, anxiety, improve mood, emotional health, sleep patterns. Generates love, kindness, compassion, non judgement. Reduces strain on the heart, blood pressure, illness, disease, and physical pain. When practiced regularly it will improve health and well being in every way imaginable.
There are many reports available of what may seem miraculous health transformations, healing from chronic diseases and complete mind, body and soul shifts, I encourage you to check out further if desired.
Do not be discouraged if you don’t have hours a day to spend in meditation (reality check most of us don’t). Meditation is cumulative, consistency will create benefits to your health, happiness, life longevity and well being.
Enhancements to a successful meditation practice
Breath ‘Our mind controls our body, our breath controls our mind’
By far the most essential part of meditation and very often overlooked, especially when using tools such as guided meditations and music, it’s easy to zone out or fall asleep and not be present in the moment. When we are solely focused on our breath we are completely in the present moment – the first goal of meditation;)
Our breath should be conscious and full, into the belly and exhale fully. To work further with the breath using a ratio guide can be practiced. For instance at equal lengths i.e. the count of 4:4 or 6:6, once practiced and you become more comfortable at slowing down the breath you would begin to extend the exhale ie 4:6 or 6:8. This can feel slightly challenging in the beginning as we are just not used to taking full complete breaths in the way we were designed too. In this instance you would bring the ratio down to whatever feels comfortable to you as it would be counter productive to feel stressed out in any way.
During meditation and throughout our daily schedule for general health purposes we want to consciously activate our rest and digest system. Everything that comes with reducing stress, calming the mind, healing the body and elevating our mind, well being and consciousness.
A deeper understanding why the breath is associated with the autonomic system and the gateway to a blissful state of being, achieving the maximum out of your meditation practice
Our autonomic nervous system is regulated and controlled by our breath. At any given moment in time we are either in our sympathetic nervous system or parasympathetic nervous system. Often better known as fight or flight, and rest and digest. We are supposed to alternate between each ever 1 to 4 hours, however in today’s modern life we often get ‘stuck’ in the sympathetic nervous system due to the stress and hustle and bustle of our modern lives.
Whilst this can be beneficial for very short periods of time – we get things done here! We can get stuck for longer periods time, unable to shift and this is where it becomes detrimental to our health. The signals include releasing a rush of chemicals throughout our body and provide us with superhero powers in moments of need, quite literally enabling us to get away from a deadly situation, fast.
Mostly, it’s not tigers chasing after us, more likely an aggravating email, confrontation with a boss, partner, even from watching tv or other fear based stories/events. Our system is triggered with these chemicals in much the same way as if we really did have a hungry tiger right in front of us.
These chemicals are toxic to our body over time if we are unable to switch back to our parasympathetic nervous system to clear and clean up. They flood our system attacking body of nutrients depleting immune system, create havoc to health whilst making us extremely vulnerable to illness and disease.
The sympathetic nervous system is activated when we are taking short, shallow breaths, our exhales are much shorter than inhales.
We can switch to our parasympathetic system (rest and digest) simply by conscious control, slowing down and lengthening our breath along with further examples below all which activate the relaxation response required for meditation.
Pranayama – To stretch or extend the breath/to stretch or extend life force energy.
Often piggybacked at the end of yoga asana (physical practice) to transcend to meditation faster than just awareness of the breath alone. There are many variations and techniques that are used to clear mental clutter, raise energy, relax and calm, cure insomnia, obtain balance throughout mind and body. Some more advanced than others therefore recommended to be practiced initially with a qualified teacher. The most simple already mentioned above adjusting the ratio of the breath, whilst making sure the exhale is longer than the inhale.
I personally enjoy teaching and practicing Nadi Shodhana. It is great for the morning to get you clear headed and focused for the day. It also re-balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and assists to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, calming down, preparing mind body for sleep and preventing insomnia.
To be seated or Lying down?
Whilst you can experience meditation savasana style (lying down) you are much more likely to fall asleep. Depending on your personal reasons for mediating it may or may not be beneficial for you. Meditation is mostly taught to be seated upright so energy is free to flow up and down the spine. To remain conscious or super conscious whilst tuning into zero point present moment, where time, space no longer exists, tuning into the quantum field where there are no limits to possibility.
All of creation and creativity can only happen in that present moment.
Be the watcher of your thoughts – Let go of outcome
When thoughts pop up, observe them and allow them to move on. This is when we have left the present moment and shifted into the past or future. A prompt to come back to the present moment and the aid to focus on the breath.
Notice sensations throughout the body
Once you are used to observing the breath for a length of time, you can move your attention to the sensations in your body. Begin by focusing on your toes or feet, move through each body part right up to crown of your head, pay as much attention to detail and the sensations associated as possible. Alternatively move straight to your your heart centre in the centre of your chest and focusing here. Feeling it expanding and spinning the more that you focus.
Following on from the step above you may want to visualise light coming out and expanding from the heart centre and, or other areas of the body. There are infinite visualisation techniques you can do and at this point you are increasing your body vibration or frequency whilst activating your pineal gland ‘third eye’. You can begin to work on all areas of your body for healing.
(Note this step is not necessary to have a successful meditation, although can be a useful side effect of longer term practice).
Brainwave entrainment using binaural beats activates your brainwaves and helps you achieve deeper meditative states. I would recommend www.sourcevibrations.com to guarantee the best experience and trustworthy source.
Mantra or Word
Focusing on a mantra or word that you resonate with, can be super helpful to remain in the present moment which also activates the vibration of that word within your body. For instance focusing on or repeating the word ‘Peace’ would elevate the feeling of peace within you. Alternatively Om pronounced AUM, whilst it has many variations of meanings including God or Creator, Preserver, Destroyer, the tone is vibrationally that of the universe.
These are great ways to shift and elevate your mood throughout the day even if only practiced for a few minutes. Get creative with a word, mantra, tone that works for you.
The Relaxation Response
Meditation activates the relaxation response, which is more effective than sleep. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, nullifies certain actions of noradrenaline hormone that increase heart rate and blood pressure. During sleep the body needs 8% less oxygen than when awake, during the relaxation response the body lowers oxygen consumption by 10-17%.
So yes you will benefit from waking up an hour earlier to sit in meditation! Enjoy your practice and reap all its rewards.
Check out my free guide ‘Banish Stress, Anxiety and Fear Based thoughts, whilst manifesting Joy, Happiness and Well-Being in your life’