How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation · Parkinson's Resource Organization

How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Category: Newsworthy Notes

Learning mindfulness meditation is straightforward enough to practice on your own, but a teacher or program can also help you get started, particularly if you’re practicing meditation for specific health reasons. Here are some simple steps to help you get started on your own.

Remember, meditation is a practice, so it’s never perfect. You are ready to begin now just as you are!

Get Comfortable – Find a quiet and comfortable place. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck, and back straight but not stiff. It’s also helpful to wear comfortable, loose clothing so you’re not distracted.

But being that this practice can be done anywhere for any amount of time, a dress code is not required.

Consider a Timer – While it’s not necessary, a timer (preferably with a soft, gentle alarm) can help you focus on meditation and forget about time—and eliminate any excuses you have for stopping and doing something else.

Since many people lose track of time while meditating, it can also ensure you’re not meditating for too long. Be sure to also allow yourself time after meditation to become aware of where you are and get up gradually.

While some people meditate for longer sessions, even a few minutes every day can make a difference. Begin with a short, 5-minute meditation session and increase your sessions by 10 or 15 minutes until you are comfortable meditating for 30 minutes at a time.

Focus on Breathing – Become aware of your breath, attuning to the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall as the air enters your nostrils and leaves your nostrils. Pay attention to the temperature change when the breath is inhaled versus when it’s exhaled.

Notice Your Thoughts – The goal is not to stop your thoughts but to get more comfortable becoming the “witness” to the thoughts. When thoughts come up in your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them. Simply note them, remain calm, and use your breathing as an anchor. Imagine your thoughts as clouds passing by; watch them float by as they shift and change. Repeat this as often as you need to while you are meditating.

Give Yourself a Break – If you find yourself getting carried away in your thoughts—whether with worry, fear, anxiety, or hope—observe where your mind went, without judgment, and just return to your breathing. Don’t be hard on yourself if this happens; the practice of returning to your breath and refocusing on the present is the practice of mindfulness.

Download an App – If you’re having trouble practicing mindfulness meditation on your own, consider downloading an app (like Calm, Headspace or Orange Blossom) that provides free meditations and teaches you a variety of tools to help you get centered throughout your day.

Getting started with a mindfulness meditation practice can sometimes seem intimidating, but it’s important to remember that even a few minutes each day can be beneficial. Just a few minutes of being present can reap significant benefits. Even if you don’t do it every day, it’s a practice you can keep coming back to when you need it.

Our Wellness Villager, Roger Moore, holds PRO’s monthly Mindfulness Focused Group meetings. Click here for his free Orange Blossom Hypnosis MP3 download and check our calendar for more information. 

 

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Updated: August 16, 2017