WHAT IS MEDITATION AND WHERE DID IT START?
While it is hard to pinpoint an exact date in which meditation practices started, it has been traced throughout the world by many cultures and civilizations as far back as 5000 BCE. One of the most prominent examples of meditation used in history is with the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Meditation and/or mindfulness became more popular in western civilizations in the 1970s and is still used widely to combat stress and anxiety today.
Meditation is a skill that takes practice with the goal of helping you connect more with your body and become more aware of your thoughts and feelings so that you can help control them when life’s stressors come your way. There are many types of meditation such as: mindfulness, spiritual, visualization, guided or movement just to name a few. Meditation can be as quick as focusing on your breathing for five minutes, or a two-hour guided meditation – there is no right or wrong way to meditate, it’s all about finding the right meditation practice to fit your needs such as a yoga class.
HOW DO YOU BEGIN TO PRACTICE IT?
Getting started with meditation can be difficult for some. We are not used to shutting our mind off, sitting still in silence and focusing on our breathing and only our breathing. The most important thing is redirecting those wandering thoughts when you notice them creeping in and return to focusing on your breath. Learning to meditate and becoming more mindful is a marathon not a sprint, so it is important to remember to give yourself grace when starting your meditation practice. An easy way to practice meditation is with the body scan technique or taking a yoga class. Yoga is a great way for those new to meditation to begin to practice as it incorporates meditation and breathing.