1) Remember to Breathe
Breath in meditation is also referred to as Pranayama, meaning to extend or draw out the life force, which is the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises.
Meditation expert Lodro Rinzler tells us, “Meditating on the breath is one of the simplest contemplative techniques and it’s also one of the most profound. Because the breath is always with us, it serves as an anchor into the present moment, which we can tap into at any given time.”
Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the blood stream, organs, and brain. Breath calms the central nervous system, bringing us into a state of relaxation and calm.
2) Relax and Release
The term “holding space” refers to the ability to sit with ourselves or with another, with no judgment, expectation, or attachment for the moment or outcome. Holding space is acting as a gentle witness while giving unconditional support – in a sense, it’s providing stillness.
Allowing a teacher to guide you through a meditation is the same as holding space for you. They offer you the space to feel safe and supported, which in turn allows you to give yourself space to surrender into your meditation.
Within this space, self-transformation can occur. We feel comfortable and able to open up to ourselves. Clarity and epiphanies rise. Thoughts and emotions surface for release, creating greater space within us for the new and positive. Layers of pain, frustration, heartache, insecurities, and fears begin to wash away.
3) Listen to Your Body
Scan the body and pay attention to the sensations occurring, coming and going. Our minds and bodies are connected, and often our bodies will “translate” what is going on in the mind with physical sensations.
The more aware we become of our entire body physically, mentally, and emotionally, the deeper and more transformative our meditations will become. Breathe deeply. Go back to scanning your body for sensations – is a recurring pain activated when a particular recurring thought enters your mind?
4) Listen to Your Emotions
According to Dr. Richard Miller, “Research on emotional resiliency shows that in order to successfully navigate life, you need to be able to both name the emotion you’re experiencing and describe the feelings that make up your experience. This is where meditation can help, by teaching us to observe, identify, and respond instead of just react. For instance, anger can arrive to help you recognize an expectation you’re holding that’s no longer viable. When correctly understood, this information helps you respond to your circumstances in ways that keep you in harmony with yourself and the world around you.
“Emotions are messengers, here to deliver information about empowering actions you need to take in your life and relationships. Just as it takes time to strengthen muscles, it also takes time to strengthen your ability to welcome and respond to your emotions, rather than avoid them. Lean on them to find creative solutions and successfully navigate life.”
5) Transmute Negative Thoughts
Meditation teaches us how to maintain calm composure in the face of negativity. Our points of pain are also our sources of healing – negative thoughts are directing us as to where we need to show ourselves love and shift into positivity. Return to your breath – negative or intense thoughts may have caused you to breathe more rapidly or shallowly.
Respond to the negative thoughts with the opposite. If you hear, “I am unlovable,” you can pause and now say to yourself, “Actually, I am loved.” You’ll feel the immediate positive shift within yourself to these words, and remember to repeat positive affirmations when the negativity arises. Over time they will fade away, leaving you with a positive space to grow within, and increased happiness and calm.