Many people have doubts, questions, and negative voices in their heads when they first embark on a meditation journey:

“My mind keeps wandering off to a more charming situation/fantasy, like the food I am going to have for dinner or my next vacation.”

It is the usual tendency of the mind to wander. It thinks about a past event and regrets it, glorifies it, gets nostalgic, gets sad or angry about it, or the mind goes on a trip to the future and becomes hopeful, anxious, or uncertain about it.

You can learn tools to bring the wandering mind to the present moment. Focusing on the breath, a mantra, or even body sensations are all ways to bring the wandering mind back to the meditation.

“Meditation is not meant for me.”

Listen, if you can breathe, you can meditate. One of the most widely revered spiritual masters of our time, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Meditation is the subtle art of doing nothing.” When learned through the right means and technique, meditation can happen for anyone. The trick is to not try too hard.

Learn from the Masters

When you want to learn a sport or a foreign language, you seek guidance, supervision—a coach or instructor to help you walk through doubts and nuances and make sure you’re heading in the right direction. When you are seeking to understand the workings of the mind, exploring infinity, it is even more important to have someone there to guide you through the journey, otherwise, you could become quite lost, confused, and even fearful. This is why we believe it is important to learn meditation from an expert teacher or institution where instructors have many years of experience practicing and exploring the art of meditation. (Also, watch to see if they smile a lot from their hearts—that reflects their years of Sadhna or spiritual practice.)

For beginners who struggle with questions, or for people who want inner peace ‘quickly’ like the famous Kung Fu Panda, a good starting point can be to simply sit back and listen to authentic guided meditations that are easy to follow, yet calming and relaxing. There are as many guided meditations as there are different purposes for them to serve. Some help you process difficult emotions, others can provide you a solid and rejuvenating alternative to the afternoon nap, and others may increase your present moment awareness and bring your attention back to the most important thing in the room—your own mind.

In a guided meditation, the listener is taken through a series of instructions which are rendered subtly and softly, so as not to jar your nervous system. Meditations guided in such a manner become easy to follow, no effort is needed to learn the technique. These meditations are perfect for beginners who find it difficult to control the monkey mind and have never experienced the stillness of meditation before.

5 Guided Meditation Practices

YOGA NIDRA

This powerful, energizing technique provides deep relaxation and can be as restorative as sleep. Some yoga exponents also call it the psychic sleep. Yoga nidra takes the body to a state between wakefulness and sleep while the mind stays awake. It can be practiced after lunch or at night; it is ideal to practice after yogasanas.

Benefits of yoga nidra include

  • Relaxing the body
  • Energizing the nervous system
  • Improving memory
  • Releasing physical and mental stress
  • Alleviating insomnia

There are different variations of yoga nidra available online—we’ve included one of our most popular here. Many listeners have had extraordinary healing experiences. Before you begin, 

  1. Lie down in corpse pose or shavasana.
  2. Be sure the body is relaxed, hands are by your sides (a few inches away from your body)  palms facing up.
  3. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  4. Then, simply listen to the instructions in the video.

TRANSFORMING EMOTIONS MEDITATION

Emotions add color to life and are an inevitable part of the human experience. But when they are not in our control, they can damage our mental and physical health. The good news is that through meditation, negative emotions can be transformed into positive ones. Spiritually speaking, enlightened masters have always believed that at our very core, we are made of everything that is positive and good in the universe—we are made up of love.

According to yogic scriptures, there are several energy centers or chakras in the body, with seven of them being the more important ones in managing the emotions we go through. Located along the spine, besides being responsible for proper functioning of the body, they balance the body and emotions.

It is believed that there are positive and negative emotions associated with each chakra. If your prana, or life force. is high, then the positive emotions around these chakras are believed to be active. When the prana is low and the energy is flowing downwards, negative emotions take over. 

The Transforming Emotions guided meditation focuses on balancing emotions around the solar plexus, or Manipur Chakra. Solar plexus is an important energy center located at a point slightly above the navel. What makes it an important chakra is the large network of key nerves located here. Emotions associated with this are greed, jealousy, or generosity. Focusing on this region through meditation releases these negative emotions, relaxes the mind, and heals the abdominal area.

Some experts also believe that this is the place of the digestive fire in the body. Meditating on the solar plexus balances the fire element which is responsible for many functions including digestion and metabolism in the body. A balanced Manipur Chakra keeps you positive, drives lethargy and laziness away, and builds self-esteem and confidence.

BODY SCAN MEDITATION

Because we wear many hats and tend to focus on goal setting and achieving, we often fail to pay enough attention to our bodies which may be housing increased pain, restlessness, tiredness, fatigue, and a host of other stress symptoms. The Body Scan is an easy and quick way to relax. A healthy body is enthusiastic,  efficient,  and able to handle multiple tasks easily and effectively.

Regular practice of the Body Scan can 

  • Keep the body rejuvenated
  • Manage pain and discomfort
  • Detoxify the body with the help of the breath
  • Relax and de-stress the body and mind
  • Remove inflammation
  • Relieve symptoms of insomnia and depression.

The Body Scan focuses on reducing the stress and tension by taking your awareness through all the parts of the body. It can be practiced while lying down, or seated—and can take as little or as long as you have to devote to it. Here, we lead you through a seated body scan meditation.

  1. Sit in a relaxed position on a chair, sofa, the floor—wherever you are comfortable.
  2. Bring your attention to your breath. Take a few deep breaths in and out; observe the movement of the abdomen while breathing. 
  3. Gently become aware of your feet. Notice if there is any sensation or pain in your feet. Breathe into these sensations as you observe them.
  4. Similarly, take the awareness through the entire body starting with the feet and moving up through the body to the ankles, lower legs, knees, thighs, genitals, buttocks, abdomen, stomach, lower back, middle back, upper back, chest, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, lower arms, wrists, hands, neck, face, top of the head.
  5. Do not focus too much on any sensations of pain or discomfort. Just becoming aware of them, acknowledge them. Breathing it out will help. Believe that the pain is leaving the body.

PANCHAKOSHA/FIVE SHEATH MEDITATION

Ancient Indian scriptures talk about five sheaths of existence that make a human form. In Sanskrit, pancha means five and kosha means sheath. These five sheaths are:

Annamaya Kosha. The outermost sheath is the environment. All the pleasant things around us are considered as food for the senses.  

Pranmaya Kosha. The second sheath is the life-force energy. The sheath is associated with the breath. Breath sustains the body. At this level, the focus is on the body.

Manomaya Kosha. The third is the mind sheath. It consists of the mind, thoughts, and emotions.

Vijnanmaya Kosha. It is the field of intuitive abilities. This is a subtle ability which can be experienced when the mind is calm.

Anandmaya Kosha. This blissful state is experienced when we are happy and that happiness is not dependent on any external reasons that are liable to change.

During the Panchkosha Meditation attention is taken on all the sheaths peeling away layer after layer. It can be practiced by anyone with ease; it is one of the most recommended meditations for beginners.

Practicing the Panchakosha meditation 

  • Calms the mind
  • Rejuvenates the body
  • Increases intuition and clarity
  • Boosts creativity
  • Makes the mind more aware
  • Releases negative emotions
  • Helps one experience the state of bliss and happiness.

SMILING MEDITATION

Research indicates that smiling can change your brain chemistry. It brings joy and happiness. It relieves stress and elevates the mood.

But our daily hustle and bustle sometimes keeps the precious smile from our face. The small act of smiling can do wonders for our physiopsychology. It lowers the blood pressure and increases immunity. Very importantly, it makes one look younger. Other benefits include

  • Relaxed mind and light body
  • Decreased tension
  • Relaxed facial muscles
  • Improved immunity
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Boosted mood
  • Re-energized body and mind
  • Decreased anger and frustration
  • Clearer thinking and higher productivity
  • More creativity.

In moments of anxiety or at the end of a long tiring day, this meditation can help shed all the stress and put the smile back on your face.SMIL

The meditation “Blossom in your smile” is a beautiful combination of smile and meditation. With all the wonderful effects of meditation known to us, the magic of smiling wholeheartedly helps release the stress we hold in our facial muscles. The relaxation travels from the face all the way to our internal organs and through the entire body. 

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