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Strategies for Beginning a Meditation Practice

Greg Gerkens is an experienced school administrator and educator, as well as a mindfulness practitioner. When away from work responsibilities, Greg Gerkens enjoys practicing both yoga and meditation.

Meditation can calm the mind, support better focus, and help the practitioner to gain conscious control over his or her thoughts. It is a simple practice that requires only a quiet and comfortable place to sit, where the practitioner can begin to focus on the breath and clear the mind of extraneous thoughts.

This clearing of the mind can be the hardest part for new practitioners. Not only is it perfectly normal for the mind to wander, but this wandering provides an opportunity for the practitioner to refocus the mind. Experts urge new practitioners to be aware of when the mind wanders and to gently bring attention back to the breath, without judgment or self-blame.

At first, meditating may primarily involve bringing the mind back to the breath, again and again. This is a key element of the practice, as is finding a pose and a place that makes focusing as easy as possible. Most people experience the best results when sitting with a straight back, closed or soft-focused eyes, and a relaxed neck and shoulders.

The place and time of the day are also important, primarily to establish comfort in the practitioner. The ideal time and place encourage relaxation, which facilitates concentration. The same is true for steady, deep breathing and a soft smile on the face, both of which help to keep the practitioner feeling peaceful throughout the session.

 

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