Good morning! You just woke up and you brush your teeth, clean your tongue with your TUNG Brush and Gel and you put on your shorts and running shoes for a morning jog. Or, perhaps it is after work and you head to the gym for a great workout to relieve the stress of the day. Exercising your body is a great path to a healthy lifestyle, but what about exercising your mind?
I use my mind every day – what’s the point?
Using your mind every day, whether it be for paying bills, working, parenting or even just chatting with a friend, is not the same as exercising it through meditation. One use is active, the other deliberate. One use can be stressful, the other is used to relieve stress. One can be mindless or automatic, the other mindful. One thing is common to every aspect of meditation, breathing. While we all take breathing for granted, after all, it is our means to existence, focusing on a deliberate breathing technique is the first thing you have to do. Then you can move on to explore some of the different types of meditation.
How many types of meditation are there?
There are many different types of meditation, and some actually involve physical control, mindful movement and activity, such as Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong and Walking Meditation. The two basic types of meditation are Concentration Meditation, where you focus on a single point such as a candle flame, listening to a repetitive sound or counting beads. You are concentrating and focusing on a single object and you gradually let go of thoughts that come from your mind wandering off point. Mindfulness Meditation allows you to observe your different thoughts as you sit and breathe quietly. The idea is to let your thoughts come and go, see their patterns and develop inner balance.
So how do I get started?
One thing you might want to do is get either a meditation instructional video or watch some online content. Of course, there are so many different meditation “gurus” out there, while watching videos can definitely help, you may be bewildered as to which to watch. So here are some basics to get you in the “mindset”:
- Sit or lie down comfortably (there are even chairs and cushions made for meditation).
- Close your eyes (you can even put a cool gel mask on your eyes to relax you further).
- Breathe naturally – don’t concentrate on a breath pattern, just
- Now focus on your breathing – notice how your body moves with each breath, but don’t control either body or breath…just experience it.
Try this initial meditation for just two or three minutes to start, then increase the time as it becomes more natural for you. Then, go ahead, and try some of the meditation techniques mentioned above or get/watch a video. Above all – relax and remember that a healthy lifestyle is one that encompasses body AND mind.