I found an old article, “How to Meditate,” that I wrote for a women’s health club I was teaching at in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This was in the 1990s!
I am still meditating daily in 2019 and can’t express enough the power and peace as well as inner transformation daily meditation can bring. Words will not express it exactly, so you must try it and experience the benefits for yourself.
I have my father to thank, who would tell me to “meditate, meditate, meditate” when I was in high school. I waited a few years later to start (as a freshman in college), because as teens we don’t always listen to our parents. Once I started, I see why he had such simple yet powerful advice.
My daily practiced deepened during a month living at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Canada, during my first yoga teacher training in 1995. The Sivananda ashrams worldwide have 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. 30-minute meditations every day.
I can offer the same directions now, in 2019, as I wrote in the 1996 article, “How to Meditate.” Some simple steps for meditation are below.
There are many ways to meditate. This is just one. Try it! After two to three weeks of daily practice, even just five to ten minutes a day, reflect on how this has changed your life, or perhaps just your ability to manage stress and feel more peace.
Here are some basic steps to meditation:
- (Adding in for 2019) Turn off all cell phones and technology.
- Find a quiet and comfortable place (you can practice this on a bench outside, too).
- Sit tall but comfortable, either cross-legged or in a chair. If you are sitting cross-legged, you may want to sit on a pillow to help the back and legs. If it is early morning or cold, you may want a shawl or blanket around you.
- Relax the body but remain alert.
- Slow the breath down.
- Regulate the breath. After a few minutes you don’t have to slow the breath down, but can just observe it. You can make the breath in sync with a mantra, internal word, or sound.
- If you are adding a mantra or optional internal sound, choose a word or sound that is peaceful or uplifting. Aum (“OM”) is a universal mantra without one set meaning but contains all of the sounds and is a relaxing mantra to use. The world “shalom,” or peace, is also an option. Mantras can carry a vibration from all the yogis who chanted and used it throughout the ages, so a mantra may relax and help the mind focus inward even quicker and more powerfully.
- When the mind drifts, bring it back to the breath.
- Set a timer so you don’t worry about the time and so that you don’t get up and stop when your mind wants to.
- Commit to sit for the time you chose. Start with 5 minutes a day and build up to 30 or 6o minutes a day.
Meditation brings inner peace, mental calm, clarity, and even creativity. A daily routine to meditate is best, but any amount will help.
Om shanti. Om peace.