A couple meditating together

Meditation is one of the most natural and profoundly rewarding of all human activities.

It connects you with your own inner powers of vitality, clarity, and love.

First Step: Relax

One of the best ways to relax the body is to tense it first. Then, with relaxation, you will find tensions being released that you didn’t even know existed. Begin your meditation experience by practicing the following two relaxation techniques. The first exercise relaxes your body, and the second calms your mind.

  1. Inhale, tense the whole body, then throw the breath out and relax. Do this exercise three times to help rid your body of unconscious tensions.The breath reflects one’s mental state. As the breath becomes calmer, so does the mind, and vice versa. Relax your mind before meditation, by doing this simple breathing exercise:
  1. Inhale slowly counting one to eight, hold your breath for the same number of counts, then exhale for the same count. This is one round of   “even count breathing.”You may either lengthen or shorten the number of counts according to what is comfortable, but keep the inhalation, retention, and exhalation equal. Practice “even count breathing” six times.

Second Step: Watch the Breath

As the breath becomes calmer and more refined during meditation, there is a joyous feeling of peace and exaltation. Practice the following meditation technique to help calm your breath, your mind, and your whole being.

Inhale deeply, and then slowly exhale. Wait for the breath to come in of its own accord, and watch its flow. As the breath flows out naturally, again observe the movement.  Don’t inhale and exhale deliberately. Simply watch the breath. Don’t watch your body breathing. Observe the breath itself.

Be particularly aware of the rest points between the breaths. Enjoy the peace, and the feeling of inward release and freedom that you feel when your body is without breath. Practice this technique as long as you feel to.

After a time, as you become more interiorized, concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Concentrating here brings the awareness closer to the upper part of the nasal passage, where the breath enters the body. To center the awareness here makes it easier to watch the breath, and at the same time bring it into harmony with spiritual awareness.

Practice this for ten minutes if you can.

When you finish observing your breath, continue to sit quietly and enjoy the stillness and serenity you feel.

You can find many more free meditation resources at Ananda.org.

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