Preliminary Meditation Techniques for Beginners and Advanced Meditators
In this article I’d like to share with you some preliminary techniques that you can use to make your meditation practices more effective. Often times, a lot of emphasis is placed on the meditative technique itself, but it is also important, and sometimes even more important, to know what to do to first help your mind and body settle down, and bring yourself into a state where you will able to focus, relax, and get the most out of whichever meditative practice you have chosen to work with.
Once you have brought yourself into that “meditation-ready” state, you have set yourself up to maximize your meditative benefits and really get the most out of your practice. Doing this will save you a lot of potential struggling in getting the mind to settle down and release its hold on your day to day thought processes.
Feel free to play around with all of the meditation techniques listed below, and pick the one that works best for you. You can then use it whenever you want to get that really good meditation session.
Hint: All of these meditation techniques are also quite useful if you are stressed and need to calm down and relax.
Breathing Into Alpha:
This technique has been shown to be quite effective in slowing your brain’s activity to an alpha wave, thus giving you a natural transition into your meditation:
1. Take a slow, deep breath in through the nose. Imagine the in-breath moving down the front of your body, and collecting in the bottom of your belly. Feel your belly expand as it fills with air.
2. Hold the breath for as long as feels comfortable before exhaling (you do not have to hold it at all if this feels more natural).
3. Exhale slowly out the mouth. As you are exhaling, imagine the breath starting from the base of your spine, and moving up the spine to the top of your head.
4. Once the air has reached the top of your head, imagine the energy escaping out of your third eye (the point on your forehead between your eyebrows) for the remainder of the exhale.
5. Do this for 2-5 minutes, and begin your regular meditation practice.
Basic Yoga Relaxation Techniques:
These basic yogic relaxation techniques will not only relax the body, but also help to bring more pranic flow into your energy system, and focus the mind.
1st YOGA RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
Lie on your back with your arms at your side, hands palm up, and your legs spread approximately shoulder width apart (total relaxation pose). Take a deep breath in while simultaneously tightening all the muscles in the body. Release the exhale quickly out the mouth and release the tension. Repeat three times, tightening the muscles just a little bit more each breath. This execise moves prana throughout the whole body.
2nd YOGA RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
Sweep your eyes from left to right three times. Then sweep them up and down three times. Then move them from the top right to the bottom left, then top left to bottom right three times. Circle them one direction three times, then the other direction three times. Do this whole procedure three times, then rub your palms together vigorously until they are hot, and place them over the eyes, pressing on them gently. This technique clears the mind, relaxes the eyes, and puts your mind in a receptive state to access and release past memories (the eyes are directly linked to your memory).
3rD YOGA RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
Rest on your hands and knees, with your palms and knees shoulder-width apart. Exhale completely, bring your chin to your chest, and arch your back upwards to the ceiling. Hold this pose as long as comfortable before you need to inhale. Then inhale, bringing your head all the way back, and arching your back the opposite direction, bending your elbows slightly. Repeat this several times to loosen the spine and stimulate kundalini energy flow.
4th YOGA RELAXATION TECHNIQUE
Review Your Goals to Increase the Power of Your Intention:
This is probably the most powerful preliminary meditation technique there is. The power of your pure intention is not to be underestimated. It can really make the difference between having an unfocused, disappointing meditation to a crystal clear focused, profound meditative experience. Really, a strong intention is the key ingredient to your meditative practice.
Before you begin your meditation, review in your mind the goals that you have in mind for yourself. It is likely you started practicing meditation for a very inspiring, important reason. Take some time to remember this reason. Imagine what it will be like once you have achieved the goal you have in mind for yourself, or have become the person you are striving to be. Now, remember that this is why you are meditating, and the more effective your meditation is, the faster you will get to where you are heading. Draw upon your willpower, the deepest yearnings of your heart, your desires to be free and enlightened, your highest ideals, and your ability to help make the world a better place. Take this inspiration into your meditation.
Note: It can also be very helpful to read a few pages of a book that may be in alignment with your meditation practice, or watch a video/listen to an audio from a favorite teacher on a subject that inspires you to meditate.
So that’s it for now! Stay tuned, as I will be continuing to post more articles, tips, and helpful information on the topic of meditation over the next several months.