Six simple ways to start meditating by yourself
1 FOLLOW THE BREATH: start to become aware of your breath – don’t try to control it in any way, just notice the inhale, the exhale, and the pause between the two. Every time your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath.
2 USE A MANTRA: pick a sound or phrase that appeals to you. “Om” is the classic (tone it slowly with three sounds – AH-OH-MMM). Or use a vowel sound – such as “aaah” or “oooh”. Or pick a word or phrase you like, such as “Peace”. Sit calmly and slowly repeat your chosen mantra over and over.
3 COUNT TO TEN: count very slowly from one to ten in your head, keeping your attention on each number. If you feel your attention wandering (and undoubtedly it will, often before you reach three!), simply go back to one and start again.
4 GAZE ON A CANDLE: focus your eyes on the flame and watch it. Notice the way it moves, the colours within it. When your attention wavers or your mind starts jumping, gently bring it back to the flame.
5 WALK: walk very slowly, paying attention to every part of every step. Say “lifting” as you lift up your foot; “moving” as your foot moves through the air; “placing” as you place your foot down on the ground; “shifting” as you shift your weight onto that foot.
6 BODY SCAN: scan slowly through your body, paying attention to where you are holding tension. Don’t judge or try to let go – just be aware. Move gently from top to bottom, paying attention to any changing sensations.
For more on meditation turn to page 75 of September's The Simple Things.