Learning to meditate – 5 tips for beginners
For many of us, travel plans this year have been postponed to 2021 and our holiday is limited to sitting on the balcony. With summer just around the corner your ability to travel will be subject to certain safety precautions but, even though the current situation has upset many people’s holiday plans, we have some good news for you:
According to a study by Harvard University, relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga have a lasting effect on your sense of wellbeing in the long run – and last even longer than a great holiday!
These researchers tested blood samples and biological processes related to stress, cell health and aging. The result was clear: meditation strengthens cells in the long term and thus improves the body’s entire metabolism.
“Meditation seems to be one of the ways to provide relief for our immune system,” says Rudolph Tanzi, neurologist from Harvard University. “The daily stress that a body has to endure is reduced. This can lead to healthier ageing.”
The advantages of meditation are obvious. Especially during the Coronavirus crisis, when we’re constantly confronted with negative headlines and stress, it can be difficult to get our thoughts and feelings under control. Meditation helps you take a step back and return to the present.
Meditation and mental training promotes self-love and self-care and reduces stress hormones which makes us feel calmer and more relaxed. Nevertheless, for many people, especially newcomers, it doesn’t seem easy to get started. How does meditating work and what do you need to keep in mind? We have the answers.
We’ve put together 5 tips so you can confidently start your journey today and develop a lasting meditation routine.
1. the best time to meditate
Choose a fixed time – for example in the morning before breakfast or in the evening before going to bed – when you consciously give yourself time to meditate. This means no mobile phones and no background noise. Try to make sure you won’t be disturbed by anything or anyone.
2. the right place to meditate
Find a consistent place where you can find peace and relax. To create a pleasant atmosphere, you can light candles or incense sticks, put up a photo or a picture for inspiration, and turn on soft meditation music. For added comfort, purchase a meditation cushion, mat or bench to sit on during meditation.
3. the appropriate posture for meditation
Try to keep a straight posture. An upright back causes your chest to open up, allowing you to breathe freely and thus creating an unhindered flow of energy. Let your arms fall loosely into your lap and put your hands on your knees. Look straight ahead and let the shoulders settle in a relaxed manner.
It’s important to relax your body while maintaining an upright position.
4. the will
Many beginners make the same mistakes in meditation:
- think of nothing else
- sit up
- focus on breathing
If you ask too much of yourself from the beginning, you might feel unnerved after a few days and lose the desire to meditate.
It’s best to start small. Concentrate on your breath, look into a candle or just observe the nature around you. It’s important that you don’t force anything and just focus on your breath and your body.
Your breath should always happen effortlessly, almost by itself. If you notice that your thoughts wander off, just gently bring them back again.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed right at the beginning. Be careful with yourself and, without judging, accept what comes. The longer and more regularly you practice, the easier it will be, so patience is key.
At the beginning, guided meditation can be very helpful. Headspace offers a large collection of meditations, sleep and movement exercises with titles such as “Wethering the storm”. No matter what mood you’re in, the guided meditations will help you find peace and love for yourself and the people around you.
Every Urban Sports Club member can test 3 months of free Headspace Plus. The individual code will be sent to all active members, who subscribe to the newsletter in the coming week.*
Once you’ve found an exercise that you feel comfortable with, stick with it and practice it for a longer amount of time.
If you want to know how a self-test with headspace feels, click here.
Meditation is a very simple thing. The hardest part is starting, so just take 10 minutes out of your day, sit down and try it out for yourself. We hope that our tips will help you get motivated and ready to start your journey!
So, if your planned holiday this year has fallen through, why not regenerate at home in the comfort of your own living room.
Have fun meditating!
*The codes have now expired. Stay tuned! We will have more great offers for you.