What Is Guide Meditation?
Meditation can be very beneficial for anyone who wants to 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.
Even Forbes has acknowledged some for the more powerful studies coming in about meditation in general. Much more anecdotal evidence is being proved with studies including fMRI's and EEG's, illustrating neurological benefits, specifically helping with bouts of anxiety, depression, attention span and even concentration.
In this post, we'll discuss the specifics of guided meditation, which can be incorporated into any one of the above meditation practices. Oftentimes when someone begins there meditation journey, they make an initial decision on whether they want there practice to be guided or unguided.
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!
Your guided meditation could be a video (example: YouTube), audio, written-text, a sound-record, audiovisual media which can consist of just music, or verbal instruction, as well as 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're 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 of the mind. It's sometimes easier said then done (at-first), it's an art to truly be able to reflect in this manner.
We always recommend if you're just starting your meditation practice to have a trainer or someone you can trust, lead you through your first few sessions. 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.
In exploring a guided meditation routine, you will find it has many potential benefits.
How Beneficial Is Guided Meditation?
people are now seeing the benefits of meditating, as it has also grown to be a
great tool for stress management and improving one’s overall physical well-being, mental and spiritual health. With proper
daily meditation, you can also benefit from better quality sleep, included people who suffer from bouts of insomnia, according to the Sleep Foundation.
With even a few minutes of dealing with stress, anxiety or frustration, one can restore their calm and inner piece with meditation practices, according to the MayoClinic. 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.
Probably the biggest benefit as a novice meditator, is that with guided mediation you don't need any experience in the practice. With apps like Headspace.com and Calm.com, it's easier then every to enjoy a session and learn at the same-time, what the practice is about!
Other Notable Benefits of Guided Meditation:
a. It helps to grasp the fundamentals of mediation.
b. It's easy to do, requiring little effort and other thought processes when guided though a session.
c. Helps you to connect with yourself (body-mind connection)
d. Guided meditations can offer a large variety of practices and/or techniques.
e. As a novice, it can help you 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". It can help if you become part of a community that helps one another.
I. Things To Note About Guided Meditation: The Basics
a. You Truly Need to Find the Perfect Time and Place that Works for You!
With guided meditation, you need to do it in a really quiet environment with little to no distractions. Thus, finding a very quiet and comfortable place; be it at home or your work space where you will not be distracted is very important. Guided meditation, although calming, takes concentration and focus to truly get the most benefit from it.
Even NIH, goes has far to state that one of the 4 most important aspects to meditation sessions is, in fact, "a quiet environment, with few distractions".
b. Make Meditation your Daily Routine
Efficient guided 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 many benefits on your wellbeing.
It's not necessarily the length of sessions, but the productivity within each session! QUALITY over longevity.
c. Get Rid of All Thoughts
The trained guide will help you in the process of getting rid of all thoughts during the guided meditation process, in order to clear your mind and help you focus on just the moment.
They can help you 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.
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d. Guided Meditation Needs Good Posture
With guided meditation, you should maintain good balance which will help ensure that your body is in a comfortable and erect position for the process. Focus on keeping your back straight, which allows you to more easily expand your lungs for deeper breathes and more efficient and effective breaths.
However, there are several different positions when discussing meditation. If seated, there are several positions you could take. Take a look at this article over at Yoga Journal, where 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 yoga mat, a yoga blanket, a chair or even a sofa, doesn't interest you, try something different. There are even options of lying down, standing, or walking mediation positions.
II. Simple Directions: Guided Meditation
a. Know your Aims
When you are at a point where guided mediation has become a daily routine, you have to be clear with your expectations. Like with any other practice, exercise routine (etc.), it's important to have clear aims and expectations that helps set you up for a smoother process as well as where you want your sessions to go from here!
b. Understand Your Emotions
Now that you have concurred many of the steps involved in guided meditation, like proper posturing, a quiet environment and clear goals, it's time to truly start to understand yourself and your emotions.
Your mind needs to be focused, and you must have at least attempted to have gotten rid of negative chaotic thoughts that make you sad, worried, hurt or just effect you in a negative way!
Essentially, you'll want to not just get rid of negative thoughts, but you want to stop thinking about the past or future in general (in most cases) and focus on what's happening around you at "this given moment".
c. Pay Attention Your Senses
One of the benefits and expectations of your trainer is to help you compress the environment around you and focus on your own senses. This will get you to the proper state of mind, to carry out guided meditation(s) to there fullest.
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, so your "guide" may focus on ways to relax or relieve tension in these areas specifically. However, it is not limited to these...
Use your Body as a Comeback
During meditation, your mind may wander off to random thoughts, but the good thing is that 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 and helps you to 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 as it helps you to remain focused and reduce the chances of being distracted. It also helps to set the mood for the session quicker, and allows 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 your best bet when just beginning the practice of meditation. You need to be able to master the
ability to relax, concentrate, to block out all the outside noise, and like with most things in life, you get better with time.
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 your headphones because it more easily allows you to block the outside environmental noise(s). Though
this is not mandatory, at this point you'll want to do all you can to find yourself at peace, and to focus on your current meditation routine.
Build yourself up to a time that works for you and that you can fit into your daily routine, everyone may be different. You may find as you become better at keeping those distraction at bay and concentrating on the current sessions, that you need less time per day to get in your "zone", but this may take time.
Some people meditate before preparing for bed, others every morning, some once a week is suffice. Duration and consistency totally depends on you, so 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 be 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, and 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!