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​How to Perfect Your Meditation Practice

is popularly known for its ability to internally heal and strengthen the mind. With time, is known to have multiple healing benefits and can help reduce , stress, , and even high blood pressure. is sometimes utilized as an alternative or supplement to medications used to ease these conditions. For many people, has radically changed their lifestyle and has provided them clarity and focus of the mind.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

Finding a perfect meditative space is one of the most important aspects of practice. Ideally, the space should be free of all distractions and relatively quiet. Harsh lighting, bright wall colors, and noise could detract from an ambient setting. Low level lights, such as shaded lamps, and wall colors such as, soft shades of blue, purple, or yellow, can work to enhance mindfulness. Soft instrumental music or the sounds from small water fountains are the maximum amount artificial noise you should have in the background during .

It is important to choose a space in where you have least emotional connection with, to provide maximum clarity of the mind. Selecting a space outside in nature, such as a space in the woods or forest, or the beach in the early morning or late afternoon, are favorite spots for yogis to connect with nature and find their center.

POSTURE AND BREATHING

Most yogis find that the full lotus and half lotus seated meditation positions provides more comfort than the kneeling position, as it can wear on the knees and legs a little more. It is also acceptable to meditate in shivasana, lying down with your back flat on the ground and your hands and legs extended, but seated meditation positions are more traditionally ideal.

Once you have accepted your location and position, it is important to keep your back straight but not tense throughout meditation. Be sure to remain still. External stillness is thought to project itself into your internal stillness.

Meditation

It commonly believed that your eyes should be completely closed during meditation, but your eyes should neither be closer nor open but somewhere in between, looking downwards. Your mouth should also be in a relaxed state, with your tongue placed behind your upper teeth to prevent dehydration. Many yogis are seen with slight smiles during meditation.

Rest your hands in your lap. Your hands should not be interlaced, but against each other so that your thumbs appear to be over your middle finger. Your thumbs should then close into a straight, not peaked bridge. Shoulders should be aligned with one another and elbows outward.

Breathing during meditation should be done entirely through the nostrils. Bring attention to the movement of your breath to relieve yourself of daily clutter of the mind. A counting method from one to ten is very beneficial to the practice. The thought process should be “I inhale one I exhale one, I inhale two I exhale two” and so on.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES

During your meditation practice, you don’t want to be disturbed by thoughts of discomfort which can occur from being seated to long. This discomfort typically occurs in the lotus position after a period of time. It is important to have a zafu or cushion for your meditative practice. Cotton stuffed zafus, a type of meditation cushion, were created in Japan to extend the life of your meditative posture, so you can stay seated for longer. The shape of the zafu provides extra comfort to the legs, by raising the hips and torso from the ground. Yoga cushions can also work to supplement your comfort. For savasana meditation, it is recommended to have a bolster underneath your upper body to lift your chest up. You can also roll a yoga blanket underneath your head.

Happy Meditating!

Namaste Brianna Bacchus

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