Okay, you've made time in your day to have a sweaty yoga practice: bending, folding, and twisting every way possible before a relaxing 5 minute rest in corpse pose. Rock! Now that your body's had some practice, the mind is primed for meditation. Perfect. You set a timer, sit down and get comfortable, close your eyes and ... now what?
It's said, "there are as many yogas as there are yogis", so there are as many ways to meditate as there are meditators. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the different schools and methods of meditation out there, It's best to start simple.
The simplest (and simultaneously most advanced) form of practice is MINDFULNESS meditation. It starts in the same way as any other meditation: choose a comfortable position and be still in your body. Allow your body and mind to take in all the data from all your senses at the same time - it's like 5 senses merge into one. Notice any urges to fidget or adjust clothing, position, or daydream of the past or future. If your mind strays from sitting still, have a laugh and come back to practice. That's it.
A friend of mine describes mindfulness meditation like this: "You're the crossing guard, the thoughts are different vehicles moving at different speeds. At first, you have to watch the vehicles pass to know what they are, how much space they take up. As you practice more and more, you learn to control the flow of traffic, even stopping it at will."
METTA meditation is all about love. As you sit, you repeat affirmations, almost like enchantments, to send out loving-kindness to the object of your affection. It's not just for swooning teenagers or hippies - METTA is about wishing everyone well, regardless of who they are or what they've done. The words are always up to the practitioner. The ones I typically use are:
May I be happy.
May I be well.
May I be safe.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
Once you feel charged up and safe in these words, your focus can grow to encompass all the people you live with, your neighbors, your whole block, city, or even country. Ultimately, we're practicing to send more loving-kindness around the world for everyone.
Some of my other favorite methods of meditation:
The point of practice and the method for getting there are entirely up to you. Just make sure it works for you, and that you have fun along the way.
What's your favorite way to meditate? Let us know.
Written by Corey Loftus
Founder / Visionary : constantly quotable
Corey is a voiceover artist, yogi, and father to a fur-child named Eddy.
He'll work for almond butter.