"He who lives in harmony with himself, lives in harmony with the world." -Marcus Aurelius
Whether you're looking to reduce stress or nourish your spirit, find stillness or flow through movement, there's a meditation practice for you. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different forms. It often takes a little trial and error until you find the one that fits, but follow these four easy steps are you are well on your way!
Meditation can help:
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduce anxiety/stress
• Decrease pain
• Ease symptoms of depression
• Improve sleep
• Improve mood
Couldn't we all benefit from meditation this year?
Step One: Prepare Your Mind & Body
Get into a comfortable position and relax. Many people think they need to sit with their legs crossed a certain way, but really, whatever position you feel is comfortable is the position you should try. Some people avoid lying down because they fall asleep if they're tired; you can experiment and decide what's right for you. Once you've found your position, close your eyes, relax your muscles, and breathe from your diaphragm. Let your shoulders, your belly, and the muscles in your face relax. Breathe in deeply through your nose, gently expanding your belly rather than your chest, then exhale through your mouth.
"Meditation means to simply be and honor who you are with all your strength and your weaknesses without the judgments." -Rasoul Sobhani, Yoga Instructor and Expert at Well & Being Spa
Step Two: Choose your Type
- Mantra meditation: This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular "Om." It doesn't matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After speaking the mantra for some time, you will find that you are more alert and in tune with your body and environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness. Some people enjoy mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. This is also a good practice for people who don't like silence and enjoy repetition.
- Music Meditation: This means finding music that you enjoy listening to. Look for music with a slower tempo, and preferably without lyrics, which can be distracting and can engage your conscious mind—the part of your mind that we hope to slow down and dial back. Stay focused on the music. If you find yourself thinking about other things, gently redirect your attention to the present moment, the sound of the music, and the feelings in your body that the music evokes.
- Sound Meditation: While there are various types of sound meditation, one that is becoming more popular is the "sound bath," which uses Tibetan singing bowls, quartz bowls, and bells to guide the listener. This type of practice highlights how the experience of sound manifests not only through hearing but through tactile physical vibrations and frequencies. Many people find it incredibly powerful.
- Guided Meditation or Guided Imagery: This type of practice helps you visualize and visit a special place in your mind. In a comfortable position, you will listen as a "guide" helps you envision a place of peace and tranquility. Many people find the experience incredibly relaxing and calming. There are many excellent resources for those who enjoy guided imagery. And you can choose meditations that are specific for helping you sleep, release grief, ease anxiety, or find compassion. Personally, I love Belleruth Naperstak.
Step Three: Add an essential oil enhancement
Many cultures around the world used aromatic plants to help create the right environment for meditation. Some burned frankincense or copal, others burned sage or cedar. Many people today prefer to use an essential oil diffuser or essential oil burner to avoid smoke in their home. You can choose from frankincense, myrrh, sage, cedar or sandalwood, or look for blends designed to "calm" or "focus."
Step Four: Try an Expert-Led Customized Meditation Session
Interested in nurturing your own journey into meditation? The experts at Well & Being Spa are here to help. Design your own meditation practice with one of our mind and body specialists in a private, semi-private or small group session. Take advantage of our special Customized Meditation offer now! Click here to learn more.
About Dr. Tieraona Low Dog
Well & Being's team of world-class spa and wellness experts are led by Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, whose extensive career in the study of natural medicine, and its role in modern health care, began more than 35 years ago. Dr. Low Dog studied midwifery and massage therapy, as well as herbalism. She served as President of the American Herbalist Guild and ran a teaching clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico before going on to receive her doctorate degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Tieraona opened and ran a successful integrative medical clinic in Albuquerque before joining the faculty of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona where she served as the Director of Fellowship from 2005-2015. Tieraona has recently authored three National Geographic books, Healthy at Home and Life is Your Best Medicine and co-authored the Guide to Medicinal Herbs. She serves on numerous editorial/advisory boards, and has appeared on E!, ABC's 20/20, CNN, and is a frequent guest on the Dr. Oz show and NPR's The People's Pharmacy.