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Here are some tips to begin meditating at home

Most of us are aware of the benefits of meditation. Apart from the physiological, psychological and spiritual benefits, meditation helps us to achieve that most-wanted state – peace of mind. When you meditate, you are so much calmer, and much better equipped to face the stress and strain of daily life. Many of us want to meditate but don’t know how to go about it. Here are some simple tips to get you going.

There are many forms of meditation ranging from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation to the Buddhist mindfulness and Zazen, to chanting mantras, meditating on chakras, visualization and following your breath. If you plan to take up meditation, read up on different forms and then select the one you find most appealing. Most novices face two problems in the initial stages – concentration and sitting still for long periods of time (they find it boring!). However, if you want to start meditating at home, here are some suggestions.

  • The best way for one to begin meditation is to start slowly. Don’t force yourself to sit for a long time. You will get frustrated and may give up on the whole process! Decide on a length of time – it could be five to ten minutes to begin with – and stick with it. You could set a timer or alarm to rouse you when your meditation time is over. This way, you will start off in a structured manner, but you won’t be pushing yourself beyond tolerable limits.
  • If you are not following a specific meditation program, you could just follow your breath, chant Om, chant a mantra or a prayer to keep your mind focused. Otherwise, it is easy for the mind to get distracted.
  • Set a specific time to meditate. Before breakfast or before dinner are ideal. Avoid meditating on a full stomach.
  • Seat yourself comfortably in a quiet place away from disturbances. If you can’t sit cross-legged, don’t worry – find a position that is comfortable for you because you have to remain like that for extended periods of time. You don’t need to sit on the floor; you can sit on a mat and if necessary, use a cushion or a pillow as a backrest.  Don’t lie down however – you may fall asleep!
  • Relax – meditation calls you being calm, and free of tension to be able to concentrate. Try to forget about all your worries, work, family or the things you haven’t done. Focus on the task at hand. It is not easy in the initial stages as distractions will pop up in your mind every second, but persevere. If you lose your focus while trying to meditate, don’t get aggravated or upset; just stay calm, and keep refocusing on the task; it becomes easier with practice. If you do fall asleep, don’t berate yourself, it happens to the best of us!
  • When you meditate, it is important that you are comfortable and undisturbed. Try sitting in darkness – either dim the lights or draw the curtains. Closing your eyes in bright light can be distracting. Wear comfortable clothes; clothes that are too tight, warm or cold can distract you.
  • Try to ensure that the room is not too hot or cold, otherwise shivering and sweating can be added distractions. Instruct family members not to disturb you. Turn your mobile on silent mode and switch off the ringer on your landline telephone.
  • Set yourself in the mood for meditation. Create a ritual, something that is meaningful and pleasant to you. You could light incense sticks or scented candles, you could say a little prayer before or after meditating, you may like to meditate in your puja room – it could be anything that suits you and makes you happy, inspiring you to follow the practice daily.

If you are one of those who have not embarked on meditation, do so now. It will enrich your life immeasurably!

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Dogs, books, music…that’s what makes life tick for me. And of course, writing. I’ve been writing for 17 years now and have enjoyed every bit of it. My idea of a great time – blast some music, cuddle my pets and gorge on pizza. Or curl up in a cozy corner with a good book. That’s bliss. And now, I’ve discovered a new bliss – yoga. Maybe, I’ll turn spiritual some day with a halo around my head! On a more serious note, I’m actively involved in animal welfare and saving abandoned dogs. I firmly believe dogs are much better than most human beings. In addition, I champion the cause of making our planet a better place. And do my bit in whatever way I can, and urge everyone to do the same.