Creating Meditation Habit: Tips from Masters

The advice and suggested body positions in this article are gleaned from some of the top meditation teachers and are simple enough for anyone who wants to develop the habit of meditating.

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Meditation is the first step in all spiritual work. Meditation enables you to become more aware of your inner feelings, thoughts, and intuition. If life becomes too hectic or when intense emotions like anger, fear, grief, or anxiety are making us unstable or impairing our judgment, meditation offers that much-needed pause. Meditation is done on purpose. I recall this person in Shark Tank pitching a five-minute meditation app – which I find to be a mockery of meditation!  Anyway, back to normal programming…

Meditation allows us to “reset” ourselves and experience the bliss of “nothingness.” Meditation, like a computer in reboot mode, assists us in repairing “programme” errors, which can cause a variety of ailments ranging from spiritual, emotional, and mental to physical.

I must admit that although I meditate every day, I don’t have a set schedule for it. Sometimes I incorporate it into my morning QiGong or do it for a few minutes throughout the day. How do you meditate? I’d like to give you a few suggestions in this article on how to give your meditation practice more purpose. These suggestions are beneficial, especially if you need a boost of Universal energy.

Be in a comfortable and quiet environment. If you are meditating indoors, clear your workspace. For many of us, finding a completely quiet place is simply not possible, especially if you share a home with others, live close to busy streets, or reside in a densely populated area. A little noise is fine by me. Recognize the noise as a part of your surroundings and learn to ignore it.

Warm up by doing a few rounds of stretching exercises. If your physical condition prevents you from bending your body or knees, do not do so. Simply walk, swing your arms and legs; kick your legs or lift your arms alternately; wave your hands as high as you can, and so on. The purpose of the warm-up is to increase blood flow to the muscles and create energy balance. This also helps to loosen the spine as a tight spine will prevent energy from flowing freely to the rest of your body.

Get in a comfortable position. Although sitting in full lotus, semi lotus, or freestyle lotus is popular, it may be difficult for some people who have aching joints or other muscular conditions. Other positions include the Seiza Position (Japanese sitting style), which entails sitting or kneeling with the legs folded under the thighs and the buttocks resting on the heels with the ankles turned outward; or on a pillow or low bench called zafu.  It is also sufficient to sit on a regular chair. However, one must sit upright and closer to the front edge of the chair, ensuring that the spine is not leaning against the chair back.

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Full Lotus, Semi Lotus, Freestyle Lotus sitting style – what’s the difference?

Lotus sitting meditation

Full Lotus is sitting with legs crossed, each foot resting on top of the opposite leg, soles facing up.

Semi Lotus is sitting with one foot on top of the opposite leg, sole up, and the other foot tucked under the opposite knee.

Freestyle Lotus is sitting with legs crossed  and feet tucked under the knees.

Focus on breathing.  The usual recommendation is to pay attention to your breathing, particularly when you breathe through your nose or on how your stomach or chest rise and fall.  However, I find that concentrating on your skin as you breathe is the best breathing focus. Instead of the nose or lungs, think of the skin as the breathing organ. Interesting right? Now, try it. How does that feel?

Relax your hands. Hand positions (also known as Mudras in Buddhism) vary. For Buddhist meditators, there are two commonly used mudras. The first is the resting the mind mudra, in which the hands, palms down, are placed on the knees or thighs, with the upper arms relaxed and parallel to the torso.

The Cosmic Mudra is the other mudra I use and prefer. Your right hand is facing up, and your left hand is on top (also facing up). The tips of the thumbs are gently touching, forming a circle about an inch and a half below the navel – the sacral chakra, which is thought to be the spiritual and energetic centre of the body.

Another common hand position is to place the hands on the lap, palms up or down, or lightly clasped together with the right palm over the left palm and the right thumb and forefinger encircling the base of the left thumb.

OPEN HANDS position

Open palm hand position meditation

Maintaining open hands with fingers spread out allows energy to flow and help rid the body of blockages.

Mew, which means, the tip of your tongue should lightly rest on the roof of your mouth or the upper palate to improve energy flow. I read that the tongue must touch the softest part of the roof, which is located a little further back in the mouth, implying that the tongue must be rolled up a little. To be honest, I find it difficult to keep my tongue in that position for the duration of my meditation. Following meditation, my tongue rests above the back of my upper teeth.

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Whether you follow these or not, I believe meditation is a very personal endeavor. Do whatever feels comfortable and relaxing enough not to distract you from creating intentions; only by doing so will you be able to reap the full benefits of meditation.



Chunyi LIn– Spring Forest Qigong for Healing

Dr Paul Lam/Nancy Kaye – TaiChi for Beginners

Ines Freedman, Dharma teacher at Insight Meditation Center

Suzanne B Friedman, L.AC, DMQ – Healing with QiGong

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