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How to Get Your “Zen” On!

Take a deep breath in through the nose. Hold. Now slowly release the breath through the mouth. You are taking the first step towards practicing the calm and freeing technique of meditation.

Meditation dates back to 5th century BCE and is practiced all over the world for different reasons. The goal for practicing meditation can vary from finding one’s true self, reducing daily anxieties, controlling the breath, or seeking a solution to a dilemma. You can meditate in your car, your living room, at work, or while taking a leisurely stroll. If you want to meditate there are no restrictions to when and where or even how you do it! But if you are new to this practice, here are some tips to start with:

1) Find a location that is comfortable for you

A cozy meditation spot for one person could be completely undesirable for someone else. Meditation should be a personalized practice. Again, there are no rules on where you should meditate but beginners should practice in a place of stillness. Distractions are hard when trying to learn anything, so turn off your cellphone and politely make others aware that you can not be disturbed (i.e. loud chatter outside your door).

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2) Choose a relaxed posture for focus

Often, people think of meditation as a sleepy and lackadaisical activity. This is far from the truth. While meditating, you must be in a position which allows complete focus. With that being said, you should sit or lie in a relaxed position that won’t make you uncomfortable and tense. The suggested position is sitting upright against something that supports your back. That could range from a chair to a large tree. Your choice. Remember this is your meditation.

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3) Practice Controlled Breathing

The most difficult part of meditating is staying in the present. While sitting with your thoughts, you may tend to worry about the tribulations of the past and anxieties of the future. Meditation is meant to keep you in the present, allowing your mind to rest while awake. So whenever your mind begins to wander in thought, bring your attention to the breath. Focus on taking a deep breath through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Move your attention to the feeling of breathing. How the cool or warm air comes up through the nose, enters the expanding lungs, and then slowly exits the mouth. Try to feel the sensation of your entire body, even if it’s an itch on the bottom of your foot. This helps you focus on being in the present.

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4) Acceptance

Meditation takes practice. Frustration will ensue, but this is a part of the meditation process that will eventually disappear along with other unwanted thoughts through practice. Like they say, practice makes perfect, so don’t give up if you do not see immediate results.

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So when you feel like the world is crashing down on you and all you want is peace and quiet, try practicing meditation. There are no rules, make it your time for serenity. Let your thoughts drift away like a cloud in the sky. Light some incense, turn on some tranquil music, and get your zen on!

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