“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.” - Buddha
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for people to be stressed and worried.
Meditation is a tool to improve our well-being. However, it’s sometimes seen as a cop-out despite the many benefits of meditation. The goals of meditation are to focus, relax, and be mindful of your problems without letting them cause you tension.
However, it can be difficult to start meditating on your own either because you’re scared or because you just don’t know where to start. Guided meditation can help learn how to meditate and get you started on your spiritual journey.
With so many people taking up yoga, it’s hardly surprising to see that the numbers meditating are also increasing since meditation techniques are often included at the end of a yoga session.
The popularity of guided meditation proves that it’s hardly hokum but rather a method that can help you recentre and find inner peace.
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What Is Guided Meditation?
Guided meditation is a bit like when a musician studies music theory. It can help you learn to make music rather than making the music itself.
Even beginners have everything they need to start meditating once they know what to do. Learning through guided meditation can also encourage you to stick with meditation.
"Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” - Shunryu Suzuki
Not everyone can just learn on their own. It requires a lot of motivation, determination, and tenacity. However, with somebody else guiding you, you can start enjoying the benefits of meditation as someone talks you through the various meditation techniques.
An instructor providing direction and support is essential for those who want to learn to meditate.
This is how guided meditation, in some cases, can be far more effective than meditating on your own. You can practise regularly with the help of another person who cares about your journey. Learning to live in the present moment without worrying about the judgement of others can be difficult. However, it is more than possible.
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Where Does Guided Meditation Come from?
Meditation is essentially a personal journey, a desire, day after day, to find inner peace. However, sometimes you can encounter invisible roadblocks on this journey, like the fear of letting go or just not having the necessary training to help you on your way.
This is where guided meditation comes in. Thanks to new technologies, guided meditation has become far more accessible.
Thanks to applications and online video, you can regularly enjoy the benefits of guided meditation. It’s actually quite easy to let go and follow a guided meditation session nowadays.
Compassion, benevolence, gratitude, etc. Meditation can awaken a number of positive feelings within you and help you eradicate negative thoughts through positive thinking without the intervention of a psychiatrist.
Historically, meditation was a spiritual act that came from Buddhist and Hindu practices. It was westernised in the 1950s in the United States.
While there are thousands of ways to meditate, guided meditation was developed as a combination of mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques.
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Why Meditate with an Instructor or Teacher?
When it comes to meditating, your teacher will act more as a guide. They’ll help you focus on yourself and disconnect from the outside world while remaining mindful of your posture and what's happening here and now.
They’re not a therapist and nor are they there to tell you exactly what to do but rather a travelling companion who’s there to hold your hand.
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Guided meditation is a way to use positive thinking as a sort of mental anchor. Through breathing exercises and peaceful moments, you’ll soon be able to empty your mind and improve your mental strength.
Practising guided meditation is, for the most part, a way to make more progress than you would on your own.
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Without someone helping you, doubts and questions may creep in:
- Am I meditating correctly?
- What position should I adopt?
- Why isn’t this working?
- What if I think of something else?
- Why can’t I achieve Nirvana?
- How can I become more serene?
- How many more sessions do I need?
- What am I supposed to be feeling?
Your tutor or instructor can answer these questions for you. They can be a physical person or a voice from a recording which you can find on mobile apps and YouTube videos, for example.
In order to take a step back and let go, there’s nothing better than zen meditation!
Guided Meditation: How Can You Meditate on Your Own?
Apps are a great way to get started with guided meditation. Learning to meditate on your own is a positive step and it shows that you’re serious about improving your self-awareness and listening to your body.
Meditation can help you work out what’s happening on the inside as well as to deal with everyday worries, stress, burnout, or a lack of self-confidence.
There are also a number of quality books on the subject to help you get started with meditation. However, books aren’t always the ideal solution for some people. You need to find resources that allow you focus on your meditation. If you’re not focusing on meditating, it probably won’t go well.
It can be difficult to study how to meditate before doing it, especially if you forget what you’re supposed to be doing and have to stop in order to go back to a certain page of a book.
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Guided meditation is great for those who have busy schedules, struggle with insomnia, or are just trying to become happier in their everyday lives. It’s also great for those who can’t make it to a group class at a given time on a given day.
The idea of being in a group may just not appeal to you, either.
I’m not particularly fond of the idea of letting go while surrounded by a number of other people. Most of the time, you’ll be surrounded by caring people with the same goal as you. However, the idea just doesn’t appeal to me.
This is where apps and YouTube videos come into play. To get started, you should check out: Hay House Presents: Monday Meditations, Positive Meditation Postive Energy Magazine, The Jason Stephenson Meditation Channel, Michael Sealey, or The Honest Guys.
How to Get Started with Guided Meditation Apps
Things couldn’t be simpler! A voice (or a video) explains what to do in each session in a calm and relaxed way. They’ll be with you until the end of your journey and will leave pauses for you to meditate, just like they would in a real class.
Sometimes you’ll realise that you did something wrong, that you’re distracted or not quite concentration, and that’s fine. Your instructor will tell you that it’s natural and also tell you how to deal with it.
You don’t need to necessarily adopt the lotus position, practise sophrology, talk about chakras, you just need to free your mind and work on your self-confidence with the help of somebody else’s voice.
This is a great alternative to attending guided meditation sessions in person since you can enjoy a simple and effective meditation session.
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The Best Guided Meditation Exercises
Time to put theory into practice! There are a few basics to guided meditation that you’ll see popping up again and again as you work on your personal development and spirituality, in the broad sense of the term.
Here are three methods for improving your internal well-being:
Focus on Your Breathing
While it may seem simple, it can be quite difficult to focus on your breathing for an extended period of time. However, it is a great exercise when it comes to guided meditation. It can help us listen to our bodies and our thoughts at the same time.
The goal is simple: make sure you’re comfortable (either sitting, standing, or lying down), with your eyes closed, and just focus on the air coming in and out of your body as you breathe. Inhale, exhale, and visualise the air as it moves around your body. You don't need to be sat in silence, you can put relaxing music, just make sure that you're able to feel your breathing.
This is a great stress reduction technique and you'll come across it if you look for meditation for beginners or meditation music videos on YouTube, for example.
This can also help you work on your concentration, which will help you let go as well as focusing on your body. This exercise is great for those who’ve just started meditating and can help connect your mind and body.
When it comes to managing stress, deep or diaphragmatic breathing is a great idea.
Put simply, you just have to breathe in and feel your stomach push out then feel it return as you breathe out. You can also hold your breath for a few seconds between the two steps. The goal is to breathe as calmly and naturally as possible.
You’ll start feeling the benefits immediately. This is a technique that’s often recommended for pregnant women to help them get over the anxiety of pregnancy. It’s another effective meditation technique that doesn’t require a lot of effort.
This meditation practice can help you learn more about your body, your mind, and your emotions.
Guided meditation could also include a simple mandala! You can find plenty of mandala colouring books which are a great way to unwind, start relaxing, and let your consciousness drift into a deeper emotional state.
When you’re choosing colours and concentrating, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying all the calming benefits of meditating.
This is a way to meditate that almost anyone can do. Guided meditation can make meditating a piece of cake!
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