Here at Groove Custom, my aim is to offer meditation techniques that will help in the cultivation and development of mindfulness, presence and conscious awareness. Most of the techniques you’ll find here come from Buddhist philosophies, however, they are non-denominational.
If you’ve ever seen studies that show the massive benefits of meditation, and wondered what kind of meditation techniques are used in those studies, then you’ve come to the right place. Meditation should be simple. It should ease the mind, allowing us the key to slow the over-thinking that so many of us do.
As you go through these meditation techniques, you’ll notice that they are very similar to one another. Well, that’s because they are. When we first start out with meditation, it is quite important to remember that we are, in effect, training the mind. It may sound odd, but meditation is actually a way of training the mind to focus and concentrate. But, just like a professional athlete, it takes time, dedication and practise. You may find that at different times, one meditation technique might suite you better than another.
If meditation is something new to you, please have a look at the meditation for beginners page.
Meditation Technique 1 – Counting The Breath
We’re quite lucky that we breath! Yup, breathing not only helps us stay alive, it gives us the perfect tool to use for meditation.
Counting The Breath offers us a way of gaining a single point of focus, helping us to cultivate mindfulness, focus and concentration. It is a wonderful technique for taming the ever-busy mind.
Method: Seat yourself comfortably, either cross legged or on a chair. Try to keep your posture straight but comfortable. Your hands can either rest gently on your lap, or you can hold your hands in the more traditional Dhyana Mudra. With the eyes closed, we are less likely to become distracted, so I do suggest you close the ol’ peepers, although it is not entirely necessary.
Breathe through your nose, paying attention to your breath, but don’t try control or force your breathing. Just pay attention to it.
Feel the sensations of each breath. Breathing in, notice the cool sensation around your nostrils and at the back of your nose, and feel your lungs expand. Breathing out, pay attention to the warmth of your breath in your nostrils as you breathe out. As you become aware of your breathing, allow your breaths to become deeper. Don’t force deeper breaths, but rather just allow them to become deeper. You will notice that as your breathing becomes deeper, it will also slow down considerably.
Once you are aware of your breathing, you can now start counting. The count goes from 1 to 10, then starts at 1 again. We start the count, at 1, with an in breath. The next out breath we count as 2, then the following in breath is 3, and the out is 4, continuing all the way to 10. We then start from 1 again, with an in breath. The in breaths are odd numbers, while the out breaths are even numbers.
Try count at the end of the breath, for example, as your lungs are filled, then count 1, then once you have completed exhaling, count 2 and so on. By doing that, we keep our attention and focus on the breath, rather than the counting.
Thoughts may come to you. As they do, try not to engage in them. Just let your focus stay with counting your breaths. You might also find that you lose count. Well, you’ll definitely lose count when first starting out. Perhaps you might forget what number you were on, or you might realize that you’ve counted to 12 or 13. When you lose count, don’t try and figure out where you were, just start again from 1. When you try to figure out what number you were on, you are thinking, and our intention is to slow and silence thought. Just smile at yourself in gratitude for realizing that you lost focus, and start again from 1.
As you do this meditation more often, you will be able to remain focused for longer and longer periods. There is no set amount of time for this meditation. Decide how long you would like to meditate for, and stick to it. Some times you might feel that you can’t find your focus, but persevere. You can do it! Remember, we are training the mind to become more focussed and consciously aware. Just like any skill, we need to practice to become better at it.
Meditation Technique 2 – Following The Breath
Following The Breath is much like Counting The Breath, but with one main difference: We no longer count each breath, we just pay attention to each breath. Sounds simple enough, right? As simple as it does sound, keeping your focussed attention on only your breath takes quite a bit of patience, time and practise. When we are counting our breaths, there is still an element of thinking involved. The mind still says, “1, 2, 3, etc..”, giving it something to do. The moment we stop counting though, there is no thinking, only focus and concentration.
Method: Seat yourself how you are most comfortable. Rest your open hands on your lap, or hold them in the Dhyana Mudra. Remember to keep your posture straight, but comfortable.
Breathing through your nose, bring your attention to your breath, without trying to force or control it. Just notice your breathing. Feel the sensation of the air entering your nostrils and filling your lungs, and then notice the sensations as you breath out, emptying your lungs. As you concentrate on your breathing, you may notice that each breath becomes deeper and slower. Remember not to try control your breathing. Just pay attention to it 🙂