This is our last blog post before the holiday break! One last time, I'll ask you to please check out my free 15 Minute Mind-Body Workout course on Udemy.com. It's free to set up a Udemy account, and it takes less than 15 minutes. You need an account to have access to my courses, but it is really free with this coupon link, no strings attached, no spam emails.
Also, the sale on my Sunrise Tai Chi DVD is coming to a close soon, so the holidays are your last chance to get this DVD for less than $10.
Get one, or both of them and share them with your friends and family. I want everyone to experience the healing benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
Now, to conclude our meditation series:
3 Different Levels of Meditation
Just like with dieting, different people require different methods for "capturing the mind" with meditation.
FIRST LEVEL OF MEDITATION:
The simplest and easiest method of meditation utilizes external sound or external objects, such as running water, bells ringing, people singing, instrumental music, someone leading with relaxing words, and so on. Focusing just your vision on an external object, such as a candle, falls into this category as well.
SECOND LEVEL OF MEDITATION:
The second method will be repeating a word, similar to praying or chanting. Some people get a mantra and keep saying it while holding certain postures, sitting, standing, or even walking. For a busy mind, or for those individuals which struggle to wrestle control over their brain waves, this method is a great way to start, or stick to, in a busy and integrated life.
MY TRICK FOR SECOND LEVEL MEDITATION:
I teach my students to breath deep and count on the exhalations. This is the trick to move from sounds and repeating words to an even a more quiet place, the breath. When we use only the breath to reach the Theta brain waves, that is considered Zen meditation. Many of my students start with counting the breath, level 2, and then pretty quickly move to using a quieter and more internal method.
THIRD LEVEL OF MEDITATION:
This level is the most quiet one, and that is the reason it is definitely more challenging. You are dealing with the hardest part of yourself to control: the constant thoughts of the busy mind.
When listening to a sound, or counting out loud, you fill up the time and head-space that would normally be used by these constant streams of though. But when using only the breath, you leave space for all these other thoughts to come in, and you need to be strong to keep the thoughts at bay. That is the reason it is so hard, you are just using your breath to calm the brain and change your brain waves to the Theta brain waves. At first work your way up to a few minutes and over time you will be able to sit 45 minutes and experience lots of Theta brain waves during that time.
ENOUGH TALK, HERE IS SOME ACTION:
When it comes to reaching this place between awake and asleep, the first thing you need to do is sit with your spine straight, but not supported, if you can manage it without pain. The reason for that is that you can almost fall asleep, but the force that you need to hold the spine straight will not let you fall asleep all the way. Check out the diagram below, or use this one for printing and home use.
To begin, do only 1 minute. Set a timer so that you aren't constantly checking the clock and worrying that you are going too long (believe me, when you are just starting out, it will feel like time is crawling by). If 1 minute was too easy or too little time to relax, do 5 minutes. Work your way up by experiencing each length of time, and seeing when you get too fidgety, or too sleepy.
And remember, it isn't about how long you can sit at one time, it is about how often you take the time, even 5 minutes a day, to sit down and meditate. If you commit to meditating 5 minutes every day, pretty soon you'll want to sit for 20, 30, or even 45 minutes at a time and experience the relaxation and healing that can occur when you reach those Theta brain waves and reside there.
Happy Holidays everyone! Happy New Year! And happy stretching!