Intro guide to meditation

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Woman sitting on a yoga mat and meditating alone in her home.

Quade Evans, Lifestyle writer

When people think about meditation, a mental image is conjured of sages chanting while sitting in uncomfortable positions for hours on end. While this may have been true in the past, that image has fallen out of fashion. In reality, meditation is open to anyone and can actually help with focus, time management and a myriad of other benefits. The question still remains: How do you get into meditation?

Common Misconceptions 

When it comes to meditation, there seem to be a lot of misconceptions going around about what it does and who it’s for. Often people think that it’s a mystical practice that needs a great deal of spiritual aptitude to even attempt, or that it has no real benefits. The truth is that. like almost everything; meditation is a skill you have to learn. Most people are not good at meditation right when they start, but with practice you gradually become better. Meditation is not inherently spiritual either. While there are some forms of meditation that are definitely spiritual, not all meditation is, and you can choose which one you think is best.

Find A Quiet Place

This is usually easier said than done. With noisy roommates and distractions almost everywhere, there’s going to be a distraction. However, you can do things to make your environment better suited for meditation. For example, if you have a roommate, try and communicate with them about when they will be in and out of the room. Next, remove all distractions from your immediate vicinity, as you can imagine, it would be pretty hard to focus if your phone was constantly buzzing in your ear, so make sure that nothing interrupts you.

Meditate In a Comfortable, But Alert Position

If you are uncomfortable while you try to meditate, it will be nearly impossible to try and focus, so make sure the position you are sitting in is comfortable. If it helps, try sitting on a pillow or sitting upright in a chair to make sure you’re comfortable. Most importantly however, is making sure that you are alert. Alertness is key to any helpful meditation setting, regardless you can still lay down in a comfortable position on a yoga mat or in your bed

Make Sure You Can Focus

Undoubtedly the hardest step to master, focusing requires you to pay attention to your body. A common exercise is called “the breathing meditation,” which involves paying attention to the rhythm of your breath. Don’t be fooled, though — there is no one way to meditate and there are many techniques that you can use to help focus. 

If you need help getting in the right headspace, try using relaxing music to help center your mind. Music can help be an aid for you to become more relaxed. Just make sure that you get in a groove where you can focus.

Meditation, when done effectively, can have great effects on the body, such as improved memory, focus and more energy. 

“The practice of Meditation helps with memory and concentration,” said Amanda Rajaran of health services at NIU.