Getting Started

So why should we start to meditate? What do we need and where should we practice? These are the practical questions we face at the outset.

Why Should I Meditate?

When exploring the question of why practice meditation in the first place, the many benefits that may be reaped from building a daily meditation practice can now be scientifically shown to extend into areas of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

While meditation is not a panacea for all illsthere is now a significant body of scientific evidence to support the benefits that flow from a regular practice. These benefits include stress management, reducing anxiety and depression, lowering blood pressure, better sleep, improved concentration, feeling happier and more able to deal with life’s challenges.

What Equipment Do I Need to Practice?

A frequently asked question is ‘what equipment do I need to practice?’ The answer is nothing special, simply your body and breath. For comfort, you may wish you want to use a high-backed chair or a cushion on the floor. If you want to lie down, choose somewhere comfortable, again where you won’t be disturbed. If you decide to meditate on your bed, simply be aware of the temptation to drift off to sleep. This is a common experience and may simply reveal that you need more sleep.

Where and When Should I practice?

Having established the benefits of a regular practice, one of the initial practical difficulties often faced by those starting to meditate is finding a place to practice where you won’t be disturbed, even if it’s just for a few minutes. This can be difficult given the demands of both the home and the workplace.

When deciding where to meditate, it is often helpful to use the same space each time and this may be the bedroom, the office, the garden shed, or even the car at the start or end of a journey. If you are able to practice in the same place at the same time every day, this will help to support the building of your new routine. However, if this is not possible, try to see when you can find just a few moments for yourself to be still and quiet. Less more often brings the benefits. However, finding this time on a daily basis can be one of the hardest challenges.

Eric Harrison, author of “Teach Yourself to Meditate” explains that “we can meditate in any posture. We can meditate sitting in a chair or on the floor. Or walking, fast or slow. Or lying down on our side or on our back. Or standing. Or in any posture in between.” There is no best way to meditate. It is important however that your “posture should be comfortable (but not too comfortable), balanced and open (so that you can breathe easily) and alert…The most important general rule is don’t slump.”

Gill Higgins