For some people, meditating is as natural as brushing their teeth, while others tend to be skeptical of meditating and question its effect. But regular meditation has been proven to have a positive effect on the body and mind and thus brings many benefits in everyday life. We explain how beginners meditate while getting started and answer common questions.
Regular meditation has a lasting positive effect on the mind and the brain structure, since meditation specifically trained a calm and attentive mind. The aim is to counteract everyday life in a more relaxed, relaxed and focused way. So there is a confrontation with oneself, so that in the course of time you are more "resting within yourself".
What happens when meditating in the brain?
In scientific studies of the effect of meditation on the brain, the question is no longer whether meditation has an effect, but what and how big it is.
It is certain that only after months of regular meditation permanent and visible effects in the brain are observed. It has also been proven that regular meditation increases awareness and the ability to cope with stress measurably. This is also recognizable in brain scans based on an altered brain structure.
Even what happens in the brain during meditation can be shown by brain scans: activities in the area of the amygdala region, also known as the almond kernel complex, are visibly reduced. This area is responsible for emotions and memories, especially for feelings like anger or fear.
The right breathing as the core of meditation
The most important thing in meditation is the right breathing. Concentrated, even and deep breathing leads to inner peace and relaxation. While meditating, it's important to stay away from your thoughts, emotions, and perceptions. For when one comes to rest mentally, on the one hand the inner world becomes clearer and on the other hand one becomes receptive to the inner world of others.
Just as there are many meditation forms, so there are also different breathing techniques. A variant is, for example, the counting of breaths. This method aims for a steady and constant breathing. Another example is abdominal breathing, which deliberately inhales and exhales deep into the abdomen.
How do I start meditating?
Basically everyone can learn to meditate. At the beginning, thoughts can often wander and many do not feel a changed mood immediately after the first attempt.
But here too, as with many things: practice makes perfect. Over time, thoughts focus more and more on meditation. Some help with music or a mantra.
6-step guide for beginners
How to meditate exactly, show different instructions. Here is a short tutorial that explains how to get started in spiritual practice in just a few steps:
- Find a place where you will be undisturbed for the next few minutes.
- Sit upright with your back straight on a stool or with a cross-legged or lotus position on the floor, a pillow or the rug. Put your hands on your knees or in your lap.
- Close your eyes halfway, lower your eyes slightly and without fixing anything in the area. Alternatively, you can close the eyes completely.
- Concentrate on your breath now. Feel how they breathe in and out and gradually calm your breathing rhythm. Instead of thinking, try to breathe quite consciously and replace your thoughts with the breathing sound. Anchor your attention at this point. Let your thoughts wander, gently guide them back to your breathing rhythm.
- Now, when you feel that your breath is calm and even and your thoughts are also resting, you are in meditation. Realize how inner relaxation comes.
- When you are ready, stop the meditation by slowly opening your eyes, stretching, and then slowly returning to your daily routine.
Since there are many different forms of meditation, the execution can look very different. For example, the finger position can vary. Whether the eyes are open, half-open or closed depends on the type of meditation - and, of course, personal preferences. In addition, you do not necessarily meditate while sitting. The relaxation practice is also possible lying, standing or running.
Meditate alone or in a group?
For beginners, the visit of a meditation course can pay off very much, as you get a detailed guide and can exchange with others. But even people who have been meditating for a long time often appreciate the group experience.
Because it creates a special atmosphere when several people together sink into meditation. In addition, meditating in the group can help to get into the contemplative state of consciousness.
But even meditating alone is often practiced. The advantage is that you can integrate your meditation time individually into everyday life and you are not distracted by, for example, the breathing of others.
You can get support through an exercise plan. Such plans are offered in numerous forms and variants, for example, as a CD, as an app or as a book.
4 common questions
- Where should I meditate? The spatial environment is of great importance for meditating. Especially as a beginner you should make sure to look for a quiet and undisturbed place where you feel comfortable. In addition, you can darken the room a bit.
- When should I meditate? It is advisable to meditate always in the same place and at the same time in order to produce a certain everyday routine and self-evident. Most people practice their meditation in the morning after getting up, others prefer to do it in the evening.
- How long and how often should I meditate? There is no universal recommendation as to how long and how often one should meditate - everyone can decide for themselves and according to their time available. However, beginners should try to integrate the meditation firmly into their daily lives and ideally meditate for 10 to 30 minutes daily. Basically, longer periods of meditation are better than short and regular exercise causes more than sporadic Hau-Jerk actions.
- How long does it take for me to meditate? Even if one already has a loosened feeling after the first meditation, it requires regular exercise until the everyday feeling changes significantly and permanently. Some report first changes after only a few weeks, others take years. Of course, this also depends on the personality of the practitioner.
5 obstacles in meditation
In daily life, as well as during meditation, one is confronted with states of mind that in Buddhism are called "the five obstacles." These are certainly familiar to everyone and sooner or later all meditators will come in contact with them during the exercises. They distract you from the actual meditation and can even prevent it.
The five obstacles are expressed as follows:
- Doubts show through thoughts like "I do not know if I'm doing this right", "I'm not sure if that's really what I'm looking for" or "How can that help me with my problems?"
- Restlessness here means that thoughts do not calm down and you constantly have to think of something or someone else, for example "I must not forget to go shopping later". It can also mean that it is difficult to sit still.
- Laziness means being too tired or bored while meditating.
- Disgust or rejection is shown by thoughts like "This is just total nonsense, what I'm doing here" or "The teacher has an annoying voice".
- Desire here means distracting oneself from wishes, such as "I would like a coffee now" or "I would rather be on vacation now".
Common mistakes while meditating
Patience should be self-meditative while meditating, and not desperate or disappointed unless something happens right after the first sessions or the hoped-for "immediate enlightenment" fails to materialize. In addition, you should not put pressure on, but allow time for meditation. Then the effect comes sometime by itself.
Another mistake in meditating is to struggle with the thoughts and to psychoanalyze them. Through meditation, one safely encounters many thoughts and emotions and the first instinct is to fight and oppress them. But that does not make you free from thoughts. Instead, one achieves relaxation when one simply lets ones thoughts be and quietly watches them come and go. As a result, they gradually become less, until silence comes.
Fall asleep while meditating
It is not a "mistake" to fall asleep while meditating. The meditative state can have a very relaxing effect, so that the threshold for light sleep can quickly be exceeded, especially for beginners. This is not bad.
As you continue to practice, you gradually become better at holding your attention and focusing on breathing and the here and now.
Back pain while meditating
Some beginners get back pain by sitting while meditating, because they are too tense. To counter this, a meditation cushion or stool can help, of course, to take a position supporting the spine. Alternatively, for example, you can do some yoga exercises that you can do while sitting.
If these measures do not help, it is also possible to try another form of meditation. These can be, for example, active techniques or dream trips. Here you can change your position as you like.
However, if the pain does not disappear, it is always advisable to see a doctor.
What do I need to meditate? These and other questions are answered in our introductory article on the spiritual practice of meditation.