5 Ways to Meditate

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It is a common misconception that meditation entails sitting down on a bare floor or a special meditation pillow for hours. Actually, there are many different ways to meditate, from a 5-minute time out in your office chair to a weekend-long silent retreat. Anybody who has an interest in meditating can find a style to suit her needs, time and budget.

Grounding

No matter what style of mediation you choose, grounding is a part of it, but you can also do grounding in isolation. Remove your shoes and socks. Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position that allows the length of your feet to be in contact with the floor. Place your hands in your lap. Close your eyes and visualize the base of your spine extending down–like tree roots–to the center of the earth. Inhale and stretch the base of your spine downward. Do this while feeling the crown of your head stretching upward. Exhale and relax your muscles, letting negative energy flow out of your spine and through the tree roots. You can do this exercise for a few minutes at a time or as long as you wish.

Sitting Meditation

The most popular mediation technique remains sitting meditation. Within this practice, there are variations. Some people sit in lotus position, while others sit on a meditation pillow or small stool to keep their legs from cramping. Some practitioners close their eyes. Others avoid doing so because it can induce sleep, and meditation calls for an awake mind. Inhale and exhale, using a grounding technique to focus the mind. Rather than resist outside thoughts and worries from entering your consciousness, welcome them. Allow them to exit quickly. If long sessions of sitting meditation are uncomfortable, try interspersing them with two-minute breaks of standing.

Recliner Chair Meditation

For those who find traditional sitting meditation uncomfortable, this method is an acceptable alternative. Put the chair in a medium reclined setting. Take off your shoes and socks. Press the soles of your feet against one another. Place your hands in your lap or against your chest. Relax, breathe and appreciate the present moment. Allow thoughts to pass through your mind, but do not engage them with internal chatter.

Mantra Meditation

Chanting mantras is a classic meditation technique. It can be as simple yet powerful as intoning "om" or "shanti," or you may have a self-actualizing or centering phrase that you wish to use. You can say mantras aloud, silently or as a hum. As you cycle through your mantra, pay attention to your flow of energy and your breath. You can use chanting mantras with any form of sitting or standing meditation.

Cathartic Dancing Meditation

One of the more creative and energizing meditation techniques is cathartic dancing meditation, a style often seen in Sufi whirling or shamanic rituals. You begin by standing in bare feet, breathing and grounding yourself. This is an excellent opportunity to set a purpose for your ritual or to internally pose any questions for which you seek answers. Transitioning to the second stage of manic dancing is typically done with instrumental music. It may be accompanied by shouting, singing or emotional expressions. This segment may last 20 minutes or as long as an hour, with phases of slower dancing interspersed. The mediation closes with a ten-minute period of lying down on the floor.

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