Meditation is linked to many benefits, including reduced anxiety, a foundation for future problem solving, and preservation of relationships. It’s no surprise that so many people are tempted to try it. Maintaining a mindful connection with your breath and the present moment takes patience and commitment, but it’s worth it. You don’t need much to meditate, but you should have a couple of things, such as:
A Place to Sit
You can sit on a legless floor chair or a cushion. If you’re new to meditation, it’s recommended to use a chair for the first time. Au contraire, if you’ve been doing it for years, it’s best to get a meditation cushion. It supports the body in a comfortable seated position while meditating. Meditation cushions fall into two categories:
- Zafu pillows. The curved edges allow your legs to drop off at the hip joints. When you sit with your hips higher than your knees, it’s easier for the spine to maintain its natural curve.
- Zabuton cushions. The rectangular mats give the knees a comfortable place to rest while you meditate. The Zabuton cushion can be used together with a Zaisu, which has a back similar to a normal chair, but no legs.
Meditating can become uncomfortable as you sit for long periods of time. Use a meditation cushion to avoid back, hip, and knee discomfort.
Incense (And Candles)
Many agree that incense is the ideal companion for meditation. It helps calm the mind, not to mention that it creates the perfect atmosphere for relaxation. Incense is made out of a mixture of oils and spices. Common scents include ylang-ylang, lavender, rose, and chamomile. To burn incense, you have to ignite it slowly. It takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes for an incense stick to burn. Using scented candles is also acceptable. Choose the color carefully as certain colors have symbolic meanings. The most relaxing colors to use are blue, green, pink, white, violet, and yellow. To get the most out of your candles, aim to light them for more than one hour.
You can use your phone, but turn off the radio first. It’s a distraction and doesn’t happen in the long run. It’s not a good idea to buy an actual physical timer. What’s the point? You can download an app on your phone that does the exact same thing. Use the timer to set the duration of your meditation sessions. It’ll release a sound to indicate the beginning and end of each session. The only purpose of the timer is to eliminate the possibility you’re going to lose track of time. You can set daily reminders and check out your mindfulness statistics.
Start learning a simple technique and practice it every day. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, and just 10 minutes of meditation a day are enough to take advantage of the benefits. The New York Times, for instance, offers some neat suggestions.