How to Start Meditating

Breath

Don’t try to “calm your mind.” Instead, appreciate the sensations of your breath in the same way that a wine snob tastes a Cabernet. When your mind starts wandering away into thoughts, just recognize that you’re thinking. Then return to appreciating the sensations of your breath.

Emotions

Long-term meditations show increased size in brain regions associated with emotional regulation. “Larger volumes in these regions might account for meditators’ singular abilities and habits to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and engage in mutual behavior,” according to a UCLA study.

Arms/Hands

Relax your shoulders and arms, letting your hands rest on your thighs. Alternatively, place one hand on another in your lap.

Eyes

Decide what you’re going to do with your eyes. If you want the experience to be more body-based, close them. If you want to feel more anchored in the space you’re in, keep them open.

Legs/Feet

If you’re sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. If you’re sitting cross-legged on a cushion, the important thing is to have your knees below your hips. If you need a higher seat, make one.

Time

Meditation isn’t about length; it’s about frequency. In the same way you don’t get strong by lifting one giant weight one time, you should try and sit regularly. Five or ten minutes a day is a great start

 

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