Meditation Practice Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the essential concepts for a beginning meditator?
There is a common myth that meditation is trying to STOP your mind from thinking, which will most likely increase stress instead of reduce stress.
The best practice for a new practitioner is to sit comfortably with a tall spine, if you need support to sit tall, use of a chair, the wall, or a cushion.
Take 5 slow and deep breaths
Increase your breath work practice by 5 breaths per day until you reach 15 minutes.
If you notice your mind is not present, say “thinking” in your mind, become aware you are not present, and then bring your attention back to your breath.
I have been meditating for 35+ years and I wish I would have learned sooner that mediation is not destination focused, it’s best if you seek to be present with what you are experiencing in the moment instead of trying to stop your mind or change your experience.
2. Do you need to sit in a lotus position to meditate?
You do not need to sit in lotus position! HORAY 😉
Your meditation position should be supportive and comfortable. You can sit on the floor, in a chair or a standing position that supports body and breath with a tall spine, the least effort and as comfortable as possible.
Lotus position is a great option for seated meditation, if you can do so comfortably.
3. What are the most common types of meditation?
Meditation Practice Techniques
A. Focus techniques
1. Techniques that focus the mind and cultivate one-pointedness
a. Focusing on the breath at the opening of the nostrils
b. Envisioning a flame in a windless space
c. Envisioning the central energy channel which runs just in front of your spine
d. Practicing mantra
B. Open Techniques – Witness exercises
1. Techniques which cultivate open, spacious, nonjudgemental awareness
a. Watching your thoughts & feeling move through the mind like clouds moving through an open sky
b. Being aware of your awareness
C. Integrated Techniques
1. Techniques which integrate mental focus & open awareness
a. Focus on the spaciousness of the gaps between the breaths
b. Remembering and honoring the Universal within diversity
c. Awareness of individual & universal connection simultaneously
4. Does meditation reduce stress?
Meditation can reduce stress, yet it can also increase stress. I recommend students with high anxiety start with breathwork practices, then progress to mindfulness practice and then on to meditation.
5. Is meditating for less than an hour helpful?
YES any amount of meditation is beneficial! Especially if meditation is a new practice for you, It’s wise to increase your meditation time s-l-o-w-l-y..
Simple start: One Breath Meditation Practice
Take a slow and deep inhale and notice sensations in your body.
Engage a full and complete exhale as you soften your face, shoulders and hands.
Meditation Practice Environment
6. What important elements would you include in your meditation space have in terms of ambiance?
The most important aspect of your meditation practice is your inner environment, therefore the most important aspect of your meditation space is that you can sit up with a tall spine as comfortably as possible. By creating as much physical comfort while minimizing the possibility of falling asleep, you will reduce the “monkey mind” or mental chatter that may result from being uncomfortable.
7. What items do you need in your meditation space?
The ideal mediation space is where ever you are presently. Yes, this is advanced practice to center your mind, body and heart wherever you are, yet it is the goal of meditation. Can you stay centered and relaxed in traffic, with a fussy child, isolated at home, watching the news, anywhere or anytime? Although it’s difficult to stay centered in a “perfect” environment, it is easier than amid chaos.
8. What room temperature do you recommend for meditation spaces? What about humidity levels?
It’s best to set room temperature and humidity as cool as you are comfortable, which will help you stay present yet not become sleepy. Set the humidity based on your location, health conditions, and ideal comfort level.
9. Do you think learning meditation in the time of COVID is a good idea?
You can meditate anywhere and anytime, so it’s not surprising that many new meditators are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn and practice meditation. Meditation is a powerful practice to reduce stress and anxiety, and with the current global crisis, more people are seeking practices to reduce stress at home.
10. Is the focus of meditation to stop my mind?
A: If you notice your mind is wandering, say “thinking” in your mind, guide your awareness back to your body, center your attention on the practice or technique you are working with. This isn’t a problem, it is your meditation practice.
Meditation practice helps calm your inner environment. It’s essential to sit up comfortably with a tall spine to reduce the wild monkey mind.
Click here: Guided Self-Love Meditation