In western culture the value of meditation is too often dismissed as a foolish spiritual pursuit and a waste of time, despite the fact that countless scientific studies have proven otherwise. These studies continue to show that the benefits of meditation transcend simply achieving spiritual clarity, but they also include "stronger immune system, enhanced attention, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease, less anxiety and depression, increased feelings of compassion and empathy, fewer binge eating episodes, lower blood sugar, improved sleep, and better pain management," just to name a few.
Here are six tips from Diksha McCord on how to begin a meditation practice.
- Create a dedicated space. A small room or closet is ideal, but if this is not possible, create a quiet area in your home and return there each time you practice.
- Set a consistent time. Choose a regular time - such as dawn, noon or dusk - and try to practice daily.
- Ensure quiet. To sharpen your mental focus, wear headphones or earplugs if sounds are distracting.
- Sit with good posture. Sit upright, with spine erect and body relaxed, and place your hands, palms up, on the thighs at the junction of the thighs and abdomen.
- Be comfortable. Use pillows and cushions as necessary. Sit in a chair if it's more comfortable. Place a pillow across your thighs as needed as a place to rest your hands. Experiment with different positions (including different hand positions) to find what works for you.
- Start gradually. Start with as little as 5 minutes and increase your sitting time in increments of 5 minutes. Work up to 30 minutes, twice daily, if possible. Let enjoyment be your guide.