A beginner’s guide to meditation


Practiced all over the world, meditation was discovered in wall art in the Indus valley from around 5,000 to 3,500 BC. This art work depicted people sat on the ground with their legs crossed and hands on their knee, in what we might imagine to be a ‘meditation posture.’ Descriptions of meditation techniques have also been found in Indian scriptures dating from around 3,000 years ago. Nowadays, people all around the world believe that it is essential to spiritual development.

As the art of focusing your attention in one area, it is thought that meditation helps to clear and transform the mind – we all need a fresh, fully functioning mind as we plunge head first into the looming exam period. If practiced regularly it has been known to enhance concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and calmness. With perseverance meditation can develop a more focused, peaceful and energised state of mind and has been known to have both emotional and physical benefits on our well-being.

There are many different meditation techniques including: Guided Mediation, Mantra Meditation, Mindful Meditation, Qi gong, Tai chi, Transcendental Meditation and Yoga.  All of these differ in practice; you would have to research each to find which would be most suitable for you. Meditation can be difficult at first, especially when you’ve got a lot going on in your life, but with practice you can have great success. Here are some tips to help anyone wanting to give it a go:

Make it a formal practice. If you can, set aside a specific time each day to meditate. Even if it’s only a few minutes, meditating every day will help you to improve and progress much quicker.

Start with deep breaths. Breathing deep slows the heart rate, relaxes the muscles, focuses the mind and is an ideal way to begin practice.

Stretch first. Stretching loosens the muscles allowing you to sit or lie more comfortably. Additionally, stretching starts the process of “going inward” and helps you become more aware of your body.

Meditate with Purpose. Meditation is an active process. The art of focusing your attention to a single point is hard work – you have to make sure you’re focused from the very beginning.

Frustration control. It can be difficult to switch off and you may find yourself wondering if you’re wasting your time. However, meditation isn’t a quick fix. When you feel yourself getting restless really focus on your breathing and let the frustrated feelings go.

Pick a specific room in your home to meditate. This can be hard at university as you live, study and sleep within one or two rooms so instead make sure the space is clean and clutter free. Also placing candles and other spiritual paraphernalia in your room will help you feel at ease.

Meditate early in the morning. Early morning is an ideal time to practice: it is quieter, your mind is not filled with the usual clutter, and there is less chance you will be disturbed. Make it a habit to get up half an hour earlier to meditate. This will also help your day get off to a good start, giving you a reason to get up and take on the day.

This is a long process, but I will definitely be trying it out during summer term in hope of helping me survive exam period without losing my mind. Surely decreasing anxiety and a creating a feeling of happiness is perfect for getting you through the next few months. Good luck!

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