How do I begin meditating?

Posted by Aimee Hughes

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Aimee is a yogi and writer who's been practicing yoga daily for nearly two decades. Since a journey to India when she was 20, the practice has been her constant companion. She loves exploring the vast and seemingly endless worlds of yoga. Aimee has also written a book called, "The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex," available on Amazon. Full Bio
Q:

How do I begin meditating?

A:

The starting point in meditation is your physical body. This is because the first thing we must do before going deeper in meditation is to get really, really present. The easiest way to do this is to bring our awareness to our bodily sensations.

This could mean beginning with the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. We often like to start by focusing all of our present moment awareness and attention on our breath because the breath is taking place in the present moment. (Here are 6 Techniques to Staying Present.)

Our thoughts do not teach us present moment awareness because they’re usually clinging to the past or future. The body, however, is our greatest teacher when it comes to presence, and this is why we begin with the body and breath. (Learn about Discovering Yourself Through a Body Scan Meditation.)

In meditation, we work to dissolve the ego. The ego is attached to thoughts, not the physical sensations of the body. Therefore, we begin by focusing on our senses. This helps us get out of the thought patterns happening in our mind and brings us back into our body. Bringing all of our attention to just one of the senses, and then to the next, grounds us in the present moment, which allows us to go deeper in meditation when the time is right. (Why are coconuts symbolic of the ego?)

Think about how much easier it is to get grounded in the present moment when you’re moving your body. You might be dancing or swimming or doing yoga – all these activities bring us into the present moment, where reality lies. Our yoga practice is a type of moving meditation as it allows us to become embodied. We get to synchronize our breath with our bodily movement in order to become rooted in present moment awareness.

So, when beginning a meditation practice, bring your attention to your body or breath, for these are the starting points from which you can delve deeper.

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