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Mindfulness Meditation

posted on 18th December 2011 by Stefan Chmelik

Mindfulness meditation is a fantastic way to find relaxation and clarity when you are feeling stressed out or having trouble sleeping. It can also be incorporated into your daily routine to enable you to deal better with stressful situations as they arise, improve your mood, and to gain an insight into how your reactions to your environment affect you.

This instruction sheet details a simple set of exercises that can be done first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or whenever you feel is appropriate.

The first exercise can be done on its own at anytime and will take 10 minutes. The full set of three exercises takes 30 minutes, and is best suited to a fairly quiet location where you can have some privacy.

To see the best results from mindfulness meditation, the full 30-minute sequence should be done once every day. By the end of the first week of this daily practice you will be starting to feel the benefits.

 

Meditation Posture

  •  You can meditate sitting upright on a chair, but ideally find a space where you can sit on the floor seated upon a couple of cushions. If you are sitting on a chair, make sure you are sitting upright with a straight back, and are not resting backwards onto the chair. If you are sitting on the floor, cross one leg in front of the other so that the inside foot is touching your opposite thigh and your outside foot touches the opposite shin close to the knee. Your knees should be as close to the floor as possible. See below
  • Now lean forwards and rest your hands on the floor in front of you so that your sitting bone sticks out behind you. Then sit back down and slowly straighten up into an upright seated posture. This will ensure you are sitting with comfort and stability and that you have a straight back.
  • Now slightly tuck in your chin and place your hands in your lap, one on top of the other, with your thumbs lightly touching. Relax your shoulders.

Now you are ready to begin mindfulness meditation.

 

Exercise 1 (10 mins)

Before you begin, set an alarm to go off at the end of 10 minutes. Try to make the alarm as gentle as possible. The vibrate function on a mobile phone set down on the floor next to you works well. This will allow you to focus on the meditation without thinking about timing.

  • Allow your jaw to drop open but keep your mouth closed
  • Breath naturally through your nose
  • Now start to pay attention to the in flow and out flow of your breath
  • When you are ready, you are going to count from 1 to 10. Count each number at the end of each cycle of breath i.e at the end of each outflow.
  • Once you have reached 10, simply start again from 1, and continue for the duration of the exercise.
  • If your mind wanders onto something else, dont worry about it, simply bring your attention back to your breath, and start counting again from 1.

 

Exercise 2 (10 mins)

Following on from exercise 1, reset your alarm for another 10 minutes. Once you become practiced with these techniques you wont need to use the alarm, you can simply move through the sequence of exercises at your own pace, but to begin with it will help you to know when to move from one to the other.

  •  As before, relax your jaw with your mouth closed and breath naturally though your nose.
  • Now you are going to count from 1 to 10 again, but this time you will count at the beginning of each cycle of breath i.e just before you take your in breath.
  • Once you have reached 10, simply start again from 1, and continue for the duration of the exercise
  • If your mind wanders onto something else, dont worry about it, simply bring your attention back to your breath, and start counting again from 1.

 

Exercise 3 (10 mins)

  • Breath naturally through your nose as before
  • For this exercise you are not going to do any counting, you are simply going to pay attention to the space between your nose and your top lip
  • Focus on this area and become aware of the sensation of your breath flowing in and out over it.
  • This sensation is quite subtle so it may take you a little while before you become sensitive to it. If you can’t feel it, or sometimes you can feel it and sometimes you cant, dont worry, simply be patient and continue to focus your awareness on the space between your nose and your top lip.
  • Again, if your mind wanders, dont worry about it, just bring your attention back to the sensation of your breath flowing in and out.

 

Comments

It is really important in meditation to be patient with yourself. If you were starting to learn a musical instrument it would take a fair while until you were able to make it sound how you would like.

It is the same way with the mind. Meditation is a tool that can take you to a place of peace and calm, and eventually bring you into an encounter with yourself on a profound level. But to begin with your mind will often become distracted and you may feel that you are not succeeding in your attempts. When this happens the best advice is to recognise that you have become distracted or frustrated, let it go, and just bring your attention back to the exercise you are trying to do. If you do this with patience and persistence you will find that after a while, you are able to move quite quickly into a calm and focused state of mind, and the benefits of meditation will reveal themselves to you naturally.

 

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