Do you know that 1 out of 6 people in america are taking prescription drugs for their mental health. We are living in the information age and are being bombarded with more than 100 times the information our ancestors would have had to process.I feel its necessary for each one of us to have some tools inorder to lead more balanced lives. Practicing anapana meditation has helped me significantly to improve my mental and emotional health.
The US is the most affluent nation is fighting a mental health battle. Even though it is good to seek help from experts to take care of your mental health, such a large number of people being on such medication shows that there are some fundamental issues in the way we are living our lives. We are living in the information age and are being bombarded with more than 100 times the information our ancestors would have had to process.
In the age of social media and the internet, it feels like we are not able to strike a balance with our internet usage. The negative news is just around the corner and it is very easy for someone to get affected mentally and emotionally by things happening around them.
So it is essential that we find some internal support like anapana meditation as well. Some tools that can be handy with us, which will act as a support system in the journey of life. When we think of the word meditation, it was considered as something that was done by somebody in a cave in a forest during ancient times. The common idea of meditation was generally very absent in the minds of people. It was not at all considered as something that is needed for us. Anapana meditation is one such support system that has helped me pass through the rigours of life in a much more effective manner.
Our mind is like a monkey which is always oscillating between the past and future and in this madness, it is very easy for one to get overwhelmed. It was upon the chance that I came across this method and decided to give it a try, I was able to bring myself back to the present moment to get myself focused on what needs to be done rather than getting overwhelmed by what may happen tomorrow.
Emotionally i was able to come to a better state of acceptance of how things are in my life right now. Earlier it was easy to get disturbed thinking about something that happened in the past and get angry or frustrated to it. As I started the practice it was not easy for me as I used to think that the purpose of the meditation was to tame my mind and to come to a thoughtless state. The more I resisted i realised that the thoughts were coming at me in much more pace.
what is anapana meditation
As I maintained a regular practice of anapana meditation, I was becoming more comfortable with it. Initially sitting even for 5 minutes used to be a high task. By doing it regularly I was able to sit for even 40 minutes at a stretch within 6 months. The benefits of anapana meditation were becoming visible for me as I started to feel more at ease with myself.
There was a sense of peace within me than the usual anxiety. Relationships with people started becoming better, and I was more accommodating of others than my previous self. The silence was something that was associated with boredom but now there is keen attention developing within oneself which make me feel there is much more to silence than what we know. It’s very healing to recover ourselves after a taxing day.
The beauty of this meditation is that it’s very easy to practice. I would even say that this is the easiest meditation to practice. But don’t let that fool you to think that if it is easy to practiced, it won’t be effective. It is very good at what it does to you. This meditation is said to be passed to his disciples by Gautama Budha himself centuries ago.
The fact that this meditation has survived so many generations and has been passed down to countless people is a testament to the fact that how many people have valued this in various parts of the world. It is believed that the people during Buddhas time had a lot of perseverance in them and it led to them practising this method in a big way. This in turn created the wave of Buddhism as we know it.
Benefits of anapana meditaion
Improves mental health. It helps in emotional balance. It will help you focus on your day and increase your productivity.
anapana meditation technique
The meditation is based on paying attention to the breath and following along with it. You need to sit with your legs crossed on the floor or preferably on the mat. Make sure that you are wearing loose-fitting clothes so that you are able to sit comfortably. You can set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes to begin with. Close your eyes and breathe normally as you usually do and start following the breath as it enters your body.
Observe it as it fills your body and it leaves through your nostrils. Keep your focus on your breath as it takes in the air once again. continue the process and keep your attention on your breath. Ana means inhalation and pana means exhalation. Your focus should be on your breath throughout your meditation. Don’t try to resist thoughts if they are coming in. Try to see them as passing clouds and don’t judge the thoughts.
Once the timer finishes the duration, you can slowly open your eyes and come out of your meditation. You can do this meditation at any time of the day. It is better that you are not in a full stomach condition, i.e immediately after a meal. ensure that you have at least a 1.5-hour gap after a full meal or a 45-minute gap after a snack.
mini anapana meditation
As you are starting out it is better that you do the meditation at a particular time of the day according to your convenience. this will ensure that it becomes part of your routine and make it easier for you to do it daily. Otherwise, it may cause resistance within you in the initial days to start meditating. If you fix a time say 9pm your body will be in tune to go meditate on that day after practising on that particular time for few days.
So go ahead and start your meditative journey with Anapana meditation.
You can see this video for further guidance
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