Now that you know how to meditate, here’s how to drop deeper into your daily meditation. Everyone finds different ways to do this, but here are two common ways.
1. Counting. For some of us, counting the breath works well, as it keeps our minds on track. Simply count the duration of your inhale in your head as you draw in (e.g. “one… two… three… four…”), then pause at the top for one – two seconds, counting those as well. Then exhale for the same amount that you inhaled, counting that out, too. When you reach the bottom of your exhale, pause again for one – two seconds. We call this “box breathing”, and it can be useful not only to center your focus, but also to calm the nervous system and alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
2. Mantras. Mantra meditation (some people may recognize it as transcendental meditation) is similar to counting, but instead of numbers, we repeat a word or phrase to ourselves as we breathe. It is useful to pick two words that compliment each other, to use on the inhale and the exhale. For example, you can say “in” on the inhale, and “out” on the exhale.
If you want to figure out a word or phrase with deeper meaning, feel free to come up with something more personal. One of my favorites is the Sanskrit mantra of “Soham”, which translates into “I am”. As you inhale, you’ll say “so” and as you exhale “ham”. Play with different variations and find one that works best for you.
Mindful daily meditation can be explored and practiced in many different ways. With the help of the above techniques, you can begin to incorporate small bits of this practice into your daily life.
Start small — maybe five minutes of seated meditation in the morning right when you wake up, and see how that feels. Set a short term goal, and write down how you feel after each try. Even the smallest steps towards mindfulness can cultivate big results.
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