What Is Guided Meditation:
Meditation can be very beneficial. Some swear that using meditation helps them start their day with spirits high, and with heightened levels of positivity. Meditation can take on many different forms and be highly individualized. Whether you practice mindfulness meditation, transcendental, body-scan or even mantra-based meditation, the practice itself has the potential to offer physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits to its practitioners. Guided meditation is another very popular chosen form of mediation. However, what is guided meditation?
Studies regarding meditation in general, seem to be more prevalent then ever before. Once just anecdotal evidence, is now being supported, via said studies. An article posted on Forbes, highlights that even fMRI’s and EEG’s, have illustrating some neurological benefits. Specifically, helping with bouts of anxiety, depression, attention span and even concentration
So, What is Guided Meditation?
In this post, we’ll discuss the specifics of guided meditation, which can be incorporated in the beforementioned meditation styles, if you will. Oftentimes, when beginning a meditation journey, participating in a guided session is helpful.
Guided meditation is simply the process where one or more members reflect with the guidance of a teacher. This can be in-person or via audio or video, according to Headspace.com.
Here is a great example of “A Guided Loving-Kindness Practice” with audio from Mindful.org!
Guided meditation can consist of a simple video, (like YouTube), audio, written-text, a sound-record, even audiovisual media. For example, music, verbal instruction, or a blend of the two. When you start a meditation practice, one of the things to think about is what you’re looking to gain.
Within the practice of meditation, you are essentially looking to retrain the mind, refocus your energy, and become more mindful of the present or the “now”, around you. Oftentimes, different exercises can be done to help with this retraining. In the beginning, it may seem easier said then done. Using your time to focus and truly reflect in this manner, can be a learned skill.
Furthermore, having a trainer or someone you can trust, lead you through your first few sessions, is immeasurable. Within the sessions, trainers can help explain the dynamics of the mind, and roadblocks or issues the mind may run into within your sessions, and what to do when those issues arise.
Truly, guided meditation can illicit many potential benefits.
How Beneficial Is Guided Meditation?
Many people are now seeing the benefits of meditating. It has grown to be a great tool for stress management. Improving your physical well-being, mental and spiritual health is attainable. With proper daily meditation, one may also achieve better quality sleep. For example, those whom suffer from bouts of insomnia, according to the Sleep Foundation.
With even just a few moments of dealing with stress, anxiety or frustration, one can restore their calm and inner piece with meditation practices, according to the MayoClinic.
Furthermore, being in a healthy mental place, gives you this positive energy which you are able to connect and share with those around you. It can also impact our relationships positively as well.
Arguable the biggest benefit in the beginning, is that with guided mediation you don’t need any experience. With apps like Headspace and Calm, it’s easier then every to enjoy a session and learn at the same-time.
Other Notable Benefits of Guided Meditation:
- It helps to grasp the fundamentals of mediation.
- It’s easy to do, requiring little effort and other thought processes when guided though a session.
- Helps you to connect with yourself (body-mind connection)
- Guided meditations can offer a large variety of practices and/or techniques.
- As a novice, it can help explore the above mentioned types of meditation practices, and choose a routine that works best for you!
If you’re completely unsure of where to begin, have no fear! Google “local meditation groups”. Become part of a community that helps one another.
I. Guided Meditation: The Basics
a. Truly, You’ll Need to Find the Perfect Time & Place that Works for You!
It’s important to practice in a quiet environment, with little to no distractions. Whether that be at home or at work, this is an important part of meditation. Guided meditation, although calming, takes concentration and focus to truly get the most benefit from it.
NIH, explains that one of the 4 most important aspects to meditation sessions is, in fact, “a quiet environment, with few distractions”.
b. Make Meditation A Daily Routine
Effective meditation needs to become a habit. You need time to adapt consistency, practice and focus that allows an individual to gain the full advantages of a guided meditation process.
Even the practice of staying present for a short amount of time, daily, can have benefits on your wellbeing.
Furthermore, we emphasis quality. Specifically, it’s not always the length of sessions, but the productivity within each session! QUALITY over longevity.
c. Get Rid of All Thoughts
This is partially what the “guide” can do for you. It can be hard for some to rid the mind of certain thoughts. A guide or “voice” can help you stay on track. Thus, helping you with the present moment. Furthermore, helping you to understand the mind, and how to persevere through a session, even when “wandering of the mind”, occurs.
A trainer can help with the process of getting rid of negative energy that can or may have happened in “real life” situations.
d. Guided Meditation Needs Good Posture
Maintain good balance. This will help ensure that your body is in a comfortable and erect position for the process. Focus on keeping your back straight. Thus, allowing you to more easily expand your lungs for deeper breathes, as wel as, more effective and efficient breaths.
If seated, there are several positions you could take. Take a look at this article at Yoga Journal, they offer great advice when it comes to “Seven-Point Meditation Posture“. This article will give you the in’s and out’s of seated meditation postures.
Don’t limit yourself. If a seated position on your mat, yoga blanket, chair or even a sofa, doesn’t interest you, try something different. There are even options of lying down, standing, or practicing walking mediation.
II. Simple Directions: Guided Meditation
a. Know your Aims
When you are at a point where guided mediation has become a daily routine, be clear with your own expectations. With exercise routine(s), it’s important to have these clear aims and expectations. Thus, helping oneself navigate a smoother process. Furthermore, where you want your sessions to go from here!
b. Understand Your Emotions
What we’ve discussed thus far.
- a quiet environment
- having clear goals,
Now, it’s time to focus on understanding yourself and your emotions.
Your mind needs to be focused. Additionally, attempt to limit negative chaotic thoughts. For example, ones that make you sad, worried, hurt or just effect you in a negative way!
Focus on not just limiting negative thoughts, but try and cut ties with past or future thoughts in general, as well. Thus, focusing on what’s happening around you at “this given moment”.
c. Pay Attention To Your Senses
One of the benefits and expectations of your trainer is to help you compress the environment around you. Thus, helping one focus on their own senses. Helping you achieve a “proper” state of mind, to carry out guided meditation to it’s fullest potential.
d. Deep Relaxation
Another wonderful component of having a “guide” during meditation is that they help set the tone for the session. Areas of great individual tension, usually include your jaw, eyes, belly, neck and your forehead. Your “guide” may focus on ways to relax or relieve tension in these areas, specifically. However, it is not limited to these few.
Use your Body as a Comeback
During meditation, your mind may wander off to random thoughts. However, you can use your body’s feelings; breathing, mantra’s, mala beads or other objects, to regain your focus. This actually helps in strengthening your concentration skills, helping focus on your goals of each session.
III. What You Need To Do During A Guided Meditation Session
a. Keep your Eyes Closed
It’s best to start your session with your eyes closed. In most cases this helps to remain focused and reduce the chances of being distracted. It also helps to set the mood for the session quicker, allowing your subconscious mind to be quite receptive to positivity.
It is possible to mediate with your eyes open. This can take tremendous concentration and is often not the easiest method as a beginner. You need to be able to master the ability to relax, and concentrate. Furthermore, being effective at blocking, outside noise. Practice makes you better, even with mediation.
Remember, you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not focused on “quality” of each session.
If you are using an audio meditation guide, it’s recommended for you to use headphones. Generally, allowing you to block the outside environmental noise(s). At this point, you’ll want to do all you can to find yourself at peace, and to focus on your current meditation session.
Build yourself up to a time that works for you. Furthermore, a frequency that fits into your daily routine. With time, you’ll likely find it easier concentrating on each session. So, you’ll likely need less time per day to get in your “zone”.
Some people meditate before preparing for bed. Others prefer to mediate in the morning. Likewise, some practice daily, while others mediate in times of necessity. Duration and consistency totally depends on you. Follow a schedule that makes you comfortable and happy.
Within any form of meditation, you need to be fully focused on the discipline. Know what you are trying to accomplish. It’s recommended that you have a daily meditation session. This can consists of just a few minutes a day (5-minute morning meditation). Eventually, you will get the feel for what works for you, and it will become part of your daily routine.
Best of luck! As always, leave some comments on how meditation may have benefited your life and resources for guided meditation sessions, that you’ve found helpful!
Hope you will join us again soon!