That’s why we have listed for you 5 meditation practices which bring great benefits AND are also the easiest to start with.
If meditation is new to you, or if you just want to review your “basics”, our advice is to try out and experiment with each of these 5 meditation practices a couple of times, so you can then pick the one that suits you best, or that you enjoy the most.
- We will start with “body scan” (from our point of you this is a “must-do” for every beginner),
- then we will introduce you to the famous “mindfulness meditation” (a great practice to stay connected to the present moment),
- followed by “loving kindness” (a very powerful practice known to increase your feelings of love and gratitude).
- We will also explain to you how to practice “mantra meditation” (to reach focus and deep relaxation through word repetition),
- and finally, we will review “visualisation” (a great way to stay motivated and driven towards goals!).
Now, before we start, let us answer a very common question: is it okay to switch and change meditation from time to time?
…Yes! You don’t have to stick to one meditation in particular if you don’t want to or don’t feel like it, feel free to switch based on your needs and mood, as every meditation practice can bring you different benefits…
Just keep in mind that the more you practise one meditation type, the more you will develop your skill and excel at it. So, don’t stop or skip a practice too quickly because you don’t feel the benefits immediately, it does take patience and resilience…like everything in life ;-)
1. Body scan meditation
Body scan is probably one of the easiest meditation to start with.
It involves paying attention to parts of the body & bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from head to feet, or feet to head.
This practice is great for:
- releasing tension you might not even realise you’re experiencing
- stress reduction
- it also helps to focus and connect faster to your meditation.
How to practice body scan meditation?
1. Get comfortable & BreatheGet comfortable, sitting or lying down.
Closing your eyes can help you to focus.
Take a few deep breaths; slow down.
2. Bring awareness to your body
Bring awareness to your body, noticing touch and pressure where it makes contact with the seat or floor.
3. Move your attention
When you’re ready, move your attention to the top of your head, and observe sensations:
- The main aim is to be curious and open, investigating sensations.
- Sensations could include buzzing, tingling, tightness…or nothing at all! You can simply notice that.
4. Gradually move your attention down
Continue the practice to your neck, then slowly pay attention to your shoulders, etc. gradually moving down until you reach your feet.
4 Key points to remember for body scan meditation:
- Allow as much time as you need or want to experience and investigate each area of the body.
- Notice how you feel and where you’re holding your stress.
- Continue breathing to release any tightness or pain you’re feeling. This can help release tension in your body.
- If your attention wanders, simply notice and gently direct your attention back to the body.
2. Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness is about the present moment; contemplating without judgement; being more aware; and living in the moment.
It makes life more enjoyable, vivid and fulfilling.
Mindfulness meditation also helps to see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in patterns. With practice, an inner balance develops.
Try this meditation if:
- you constantly worry about the future,
- you become upset or hurt by past events,
- or you want to live more in the moment!
How to practice mindfulness meditation?
1. Focus on your breath
Start by focusing on your breath, then body sensation (where do you feel tension? or how relaxed do you feel?).
2. Observe your thoughts
When you feel ready, observe your thoughts: simply notice what it is you were thinking about or what was distracting you.
3. Let go
Let go and gently return your awareness to the breath, being present for each inhalation and exhalation.
4. …and repeat!
Repeat the process over and over.
Losing focus and becoming distracted during meditation is inevitable, and perfectly normal...unless you're already at Buddhist level ;-)
So don't get frustrated or give up before you get to experience the benefits of meditation that you are seeking!
It is simply part of the process.
Tips to practise mindfulness in your daily life
You can apply mindfulness to your daily activities & day to day life...instead of functioning in “automatic mode”.
In fact, anything you do is an opportunity to practise mindfulness!
- While eating, note the texture and taste of every bite you take.
- While speaking, pay attention to the words you say.
- When listeningto someone else speak, do so attentively.
- While walking, be aware of your body movement and sounds that happen to be going on around you.
- While taking a shower.
- While doing your makeup.
This is why our Meditation Diary includes a "weekly challenge", to encourage you to be more mindful in your routine...because we too often ignore or take for granted elements of our everyday life which can actually bring lot of satisfaction!
3. Loving kindness meditation (or Metta meditation)
Loving kindness, also called "Metta", aims to cultivate an attitude of unconditional love & kindness toward others and ourselves.
This practice is great for:
- increasing happiness and wellbeing,
- increasing feelings of love and gratitude,
- increasing capacity for connection to others and self-acceptance,
- helping to reduce feelings of anger or resentment.
How to practice loving kindness meditation?
1. Send loving energyWhile breathing deeply, send loving energy toward yourself, or others.
You can think about someone you love to start with, like your mum, your husband etc.
2. Repeat positive phrases
Repeat 3 or 4 positive reassuring phrases like. Let's take your mum as an example:“May she be happy”
“May she be safe”
“May she be healthy and strong”
“May she be peaceful”
Feel free to repeat words and phrases that feel right to you.
3. Bask in feelings of loveNext, bask in feelings of warmth, love and compassion.
Let these feelings envelop you. Feel your gratitude and love. Stay with that feeling.
You may want to repeat the reassuring phrases.
4. Stay or shift your focus
You can choose to either stay with this focus for the duration of your meditation,
begin to shift your focus to other loved ones in your life.
What are the 3 "levels of difficulty” in loving kindness?
There are different “levels” of difficulties:
Direct your loving kindness feelings to someone who you are very close to, someone you love.
It could be your mum, your child, your sister, your best friend…
Then practise directing those feelings to someone you feel neither friendly nor unfriendly toward.
It could be the cashier at the supermarket, a neighbour…
Finally, and this is the hardest part, direct the feelings to someone you have negative feelings for.
Someone who hurt you, someone with who you strongly disagree with...
It will take time of course, but eventually you will begin to be able to open your heart to allow loving kindness in, even in challenging circumstances.
4. Mantra meditation
The Mantra meditation is a great practice that helps you to stay focused during meditation via the repetition of a chosen word (or phrase) that carries deep meaning for you or resonates with you.
Because a mantra is a word, and thoughts are usually perceived as words, it can be easier to keep the focus on a mantra.
It also helps to achieve a deep state of relaxation in an effortless way.
Mantra meditation is ideal for you if:
- You find your mind is always chattering
- You find it hard to focus on your breathing
Mantra meditation is also beneficial for:
- Lowering blood pressure and heart rate,
- Decreasing anxiety and depression,
- Providing greater feelings of relaxation and general wellbeing.
How to practice mantra meditation?
1. Choose a phrase or a single word with deep meaning for yourself
It is important to use a mantra that feels rights for you.
Perhaps one that you feel will help you grow stronger, or that helps you feel calm and enables you to focus on the present etc.
Traditionally, a teacher would give you a mantra for your use only (for instance in Transcendental Meditation) and you would not tell anyone what that word or phrase is.
You can also simply choose a word that resonates with you and comes to you in an effortless manner.
Or it can be word(s) or a syllable with (or without) meaning, so you can enjoy and feel its vibration in your body:
2. Repeat it over and over again
Repeat your chosen mantra either silently or aloud (our preference is the latter!).
3. FocusFocus on the sound or the feeling it evokes.
Relax and bathe yourself in this energy...
It is that simple!
What is "Om" (aum)?
Om is a "mystical syllable"- an old popular Sanskrit mantra. (Sanskrit is an ancient Indo-European language of India).
It is made up of 3 sounds - A, U, and M, where each sound is said to have its own significance and meaning…
Often used in chants or as a meditative mantra, it has a great symbolism and power.
5 fun facts to remember about the "mantra"
- The word comes from Sanskrit (ancient Indo-European language of India).
- It means “tool or instrument of thought”
- It is a syllable or word(s), which can not have any particular meaning
- It is repeated for the purpose of focusing the mind
- It also creates vibrations in the mind, allowing you to enter a deeper state of consciousness.
What is "visualisation" meditation?
By imagining happy, positive experiences, the body responds by releasing chemicals that generate feelings of positivity.
This helps you to accomplish specific goals, in almost any aspect of your life; from personal transformation or deep relaxation to sporting achievements…
There are many benefits to practising visualisation, among them to:
- Strengthen your motivation,
- Program your brain,
- Feel more confident,
- Help with stress.
How to practice “visualisation” meditation?
As you'll see, it is very straightforward!
First, have a specific goal in mind.
Then, simply visualise yourself in your desired situation, seeing the goal as already completed in your mind’s eye!
Next, feel the emotions and happiness it creates for you. Make sure you repeat the process every day for several minutes.
And that's it!
It is actually very much related to the powerful and well-known "law of attraction": create a positive and motivated mindset to attract and manifest your goals.
As Jim Carrey says:
"If you can imagine something you can do it. Nothing happens in reality until it happens in your mind first."
So, what’s the next thing you plan to visualise?