Meditation Exercises and Techniques
The following are a few simple modern meditative practices that you can easily incorporate into your daily schedule. These meditation exercises are appropriate for beginners and are easy enough that you can practice them in almost any environment, whether you are in the comfort of your living room, your office or cubicle at work, or sitting beside a river or fountain or in the pavilion of a beautiful garden.
Many of these exercises can be effective when used as little as ten or fifteen minutes’ reflection per day. As you gain comfort with meditation, try engaging in it for longer, even as long as thirty minutes or an hour or more, when you are able to do so. Choose one or two that you think you might enjoy and give it a try.
How to Practice Positive Affirmations
Meditative Positive Affirmations:
Go to a place where you can feel safe and be uninterrupted from distractions. Engage in a meditative sitting posture and breathe deeply until you feel relaxed, clearing your mind of worries and fears. Think upon one or several positive affirmations about yourself. Here are some examples of positive declarations you can use, or you can choose your own.
The practice of Mantra Meditation
Body Scanning for Relaxation
Although traditional body scanning involves remaining still the entire session, you may also want to experiment with a variation by choosing to gently stretch or massage areas of your body that need to be relieved of tension as you engage in your practice of meditation.
Focus on Visualization and Guided Imagery
Walking and Quiet Time
Slow down the pace of your walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs, arms, and torso. Allow thoughts to pass through your mind without focusing on them, judging them, or holding onto them. Return your focus to the feeling of walking.
Focus Your Energy and Attention
Find a quiet place free of distractions and engage in a meditation sitting position. Breathe deeply, focusing your attention on the sound and feeling of your breath entering and leaving your body. Focus your attention and energy inward, gaining awareness of your feelings of being centered or grounded. The idea of being centered basically means returning your scattered thoughts and attention back to yourself and the space of your body.
If you notice that your strength feels imbalanced or unfocused, try to refocus your attention to the energy at the core of your body. Alternately, you can also concentrate on the practice of different chakras, or areas of energy from Hindu tradition. The seven meditation chakras are a complicated concept, but in short, they are:
The Practice of Movement Meditation
Go to a place where you can be free from distractions and turn off your cell phone. You may choose to do this practice of meditation exercise with relaxing music or in complete silence. Stand tall with your feet firmly planted on the ground, legs shoulder-width apart to form a strong base, and knees slightly bent. Align your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. Lengthen your spine and allow your shoulders to fall back, opening the chest.
Allow your arms to rest at your sides or bend them at the elbows, lightly pressing your palms together. Take several deep breaths, clearing your mind of all thoughts, relaxing and focusing on your breathing. Continue to breathe deeply as you gain a sense of being centered or grounded. When you are ready, move your body slowly.
The Movements of the Wind
There are several ways to engage in the practice of movement meditation. You can simply stretch up to the sky or bend to the ground or allow your body to bend and sway in a snake like fashion or like a tree responding to the movements of the wind. You can start crouched on the floor, imagining that you are a flower blossoming, slowly and gently unfolding each and every petal until you are standing tall in the full light of the sunshine.
You can imagine that you are an animal, moving, stalking, and preening. If you are listening to meditative music, you could pay attention the rhythms and swellings of the music, allowing yourself to dance in free-form as a response to the music. When you move, do not judge your movements, but accept the natural sway and rhythm of your body.
The Practice of Gazing for Meditation
Gazing: Choose an object which has particular meaning to you, whether it is a statue or picture of a deity or saint, an image, an object of nature such as a stone or a flower, or the light from a burning candle. Set the object up in front of you, slightly lower than eye level, in a quiet place free from distractions. Engage in a meditative sitting posture, close your eyes, and breathe deeply and slowly, focusing your mind.
Now, instead of leaving your eyes closed, open your eyes and focus your gaze upon the intended object. Try to keep your eyes open, without blinking for as long as possible. When you can no longer resist the urge to blink, close your eyes and picture the image of the object in your mind. Reflect upon the nature and meaning of the object, or simply allow it to capture your attention as you quiet your mind.
Allow thoughts to flow through your mind without holding onto them or judging them. Return your attention to your object. If your focus wavers or the mental image of your object begins to fade, open your eyes, again, and repeat the practice of gazing for meditation process until you need to blink, again.
A variation of this exercise uses colored candles
Each candle color represents different qualities. Choose one color and focus on the qualities as you watch the candle burn. If you choose to use a candle flame, make sure you are in a place that is free from fans or breezes so that your flame does not extinguish or fluctuate wildly during your meditation.