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Everything you need tostart meditatingClick to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

My goal with this guide is to give you everything you need to start a meditation practice.Meditation is a simple practice, but it's one that seems intimidating on the surface. Thisarticle focuses on meditation as it relates to productivity, and reduces meditation to itsmost basic elements. My goal with it is to provide a simple, secular overview of everythingyou need to start meditating.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

Meditation will make you more productive. It might sound strange that sitting still and doingnothing for a period of time will make you more productive, but it's true. Before diving into what todo, it's worth going over why you should meditate in the first place.I've combined benefits observed by neurological research with my own personal observationsover the three years I've been meditating (which are slightly less scientific). Some benefits ofmeditation include: Meditation has great calming effects. Research has shown that EEG activity actuallydecreases during meditation. (Source). Meditation also helps you to recharge so you havemore energy throughout the day.The practice increases the blood flow in your brain, and according to oneneurophysiologist, "rewires the circuitry in your brain". (Source)It's been proven that people who meditate need less sleep. (Source)Meditation makes your brain age slower and increases the amount of grey matter in yourbrain. (Source). Grey matter is responsible for muscle control, seeing, hearing, memory,emotions, and speech. (Source)Meditation makes it much easier to focus and achieve flow, that feeling of beingcompletely immersed and energized by something. It also allows you to procrastinate less,and get more done in the same amount of time.The practice has been even shown to boost students' test scores (by 11% in one study)!(Source)Meditation helps your mind defragment your thoughts so you can make better sense ofthem, and step away from them to gain perspective.Needless to say, there are a ton of benefits to adopting a regular meditation practice, and these arejust a few of them.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

Meditation is a very simple practice that people overcomplicate. This article focuses on breathingmeditation, where you focus on your breath. (Imagine that!)The basic idea of meditation is simple. Every time your mind begins to shift its spotlight away fromyour breath and you get lost in thought, you simply bring your attention back to your breath. Andthen you repeat this again and again until your meditation timer sounds. The point is that everytime you bring your attention back to your breath, you work out your "attention muscle", if youwant to call it that. Then, over time your focus, concentration, and attention span improve, inaddition to the plethora of other benefits mentioned above.That's the basic idea of meditation.You will need two things to get started, but you should have both of them already.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

You don't need much to meditate, but you should have two things:1.2.Something to sit on. There is such thing as standing meditation and walking meditation,but sitting meditation is the most common.A timer. Since meditation is all about working out your "attention muscle", having to checka clock would somewhat defeat the purpose of meditation, since it would constantlydistract your attention away from your breath.1. Something to sit onThere are three options for something to sit on during meditation.A chair (good if you're starting out or have backproblems)Chairs are great for if you're just starting tomeditate, or if you have back problems and findsitting on a meditation cushion uncomfortable. Ifyou're new to meditation, I recommend using achair the first few times instead of going out andbuying a meditation cushion. Once you routinizemeditation and become more comfortable with it,then I would recommend purchasing a meditationcushion; using a chair at first will help you easeyour way into practice.A meditation cushion (most common)A meditation cushion (named a "zafu", picturedright) is the most popular thing people sit on duringmeditation. The great thing about a meditationcushion is it is easiest to sit in an upright positionwhen you're on one, which improves youralertness and the quality of your meditation (andhence, how productive your sit is). With a chair or ameditation bench, you may be tempted to slump,which can cause you to lose focus.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

A meditation bench (more comfortable than a cushion)If you're taller or find a meditation cushion too uncomfortable, it's worth giving a meditationbench a shot. It will still force you to sit upright, and you won't have the urge to slump as much asyou do on a chair. Meditation benches also absorb a lot of the weight you would have otherwiseapplied to your legs, which makes meditation much more comfortable.RecommendationI recommend that you sit on a chair the first several times you meditate, and then switch to ameditation cushion (zafu) after you become more comfortable with your practice.A meditation cushion will keep you the most alert during your meditation, but you likely don't haveone lying around your house already. It also takes your body a while to adapt to sitting on one,which will make you sore when you first start out. If you're relatively fit and healthy, though, Irecommend using a cushion for the alertness it will give you.If you have leg problems, or are just looking for something a little more comfortable than ameditation cushion, I recommend using a bench. If you have back problems, I recommend using achair - but be careful, because though chairs are more comfortable, it's easier to lose focus on one.2. A timerThe second thing you'll need is a timer.I recommend that you simply use your phone, butjust make sure to turn your phone's radio off beforeyou begin meditating. Pretty much every phone hasa timer built-in, and if you have a smartphone,chances are there is a great meditation app for ittoo. Insight Timer is a good pick, and there's a freeversion of it available for iPhone and Android.You can even see who around the world ismeditating when you are! If you're willing to pony up a few bucks ( 2.99),Meditate for iPhone is a good pick, and it's theone I use. It's dead-simple, and displays a simplepage of stats after you finish.I wouldn't recommend buying an actual, physicalmeditation timer. When a free app that works onyour phone accomplishes the exact same thing, Idon't personally see a point.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

When I first started to meditate, I remember being dumbfounded at what exactly I had to do after Isat down. Two things especially confused me: how do I sit, and what do I think about? Those areessentially the only things you need to worry about when it comes to meditation.How to sit The biggest thing to remember is to keep your back straight. Keep your back erect (ifyou're in a chair it's best not to rest your back on the back of the chair), and keep an uprightposture. This keeps you alert, and allows you to concentrate more easily on your breath.Your eyes can be either closed or open. Again, the goal of this whole "meditation" thing isto work out your attention muscle. If youfind you can concentrate better on yourbreath with your eyes closed, as manypeople do, then it's probably best to keepthem closed. If you're tired and findyourself dozing off when you close youreyes, try opening them slightly andfocusing your gaze softly on a space on thefloor in front of you. For me, this becomesdistracting, so I keep them closed and onlyopen them if I'm tired.Don't worry about your hands. Somepeople like to form circles with their thumband another finger, but that doesn't reallymatter, in my opinion. I usually just rest myhands, palm down, on my legs, whereverthey feel the most comfortable.Cross your legs however you want. Iusually cross my legs in front of me, and Ithink that works fine for most people. Ifyou want to fold your feet like a pretzel youcan, but if you're use meditation tostrengthen your attention muscle, it maybe easiest to keep to a simple, cross-leggedpose.Look slightly downward, even if your eyes are closed. This opens up your chest. Again,though, find a place that's comfortable - one that keeps you upright and opens up yourchest at the same time.The biggest point I can make about how to sit is to find a pose and posture that's bothcomfortable and keeps you upright. The guidelines above work best for me and most ofClick to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

the people I know, but they may not work for you. The most comfortable meditation posewill give you so little alertness that it will put you to sleep, and the least comfortable posewill keep you alert, but at the expense of your comfort. The best advice I can give is to try tofind a place in between that works the best for you.What to doThe attention you give the different things around you is a spotlight, and all day you move itaround and point it at different things, usually without thinking too much about the fact thatyou're doing this. As you move it around, you point it at everything you give attention to in yourlife, from your smartphone, to a conversation you're having, to a report you're writing. And a lot ofthe time, you direct it at more than one thing at a time. Actually, most of the time you do.Meditation takes that "spotlight" that is your attentionand it points it directly at your breath.But what do you do, exactly? Six things.1.2.3.4.5.Get comfortable. Open the timer on your phone,and get into an upright and comfortable posture.Dim the lights a bit, or shut them off completely tohelp you focus better.Start your timer.Bring your attention/focus to your breath. This iswhat meditation is all about, and this is whatmakes meditation both difficult and worthwhile. Inthis third step, close your mouth and focus entirelyon your breath as it enters and leaves your nose.You can focus on any element of your breath thatyou want - from how the air feels as it enters andexists your nose, to how the air feels as you inflateand deflate your lungs, to the sensation underyour nose as you breathe in and out, to the soundyou make as you breathe. Don't force yourbreathing here - just breathe naturally andobserve your breath without thinking too muchabout it.Don't think. This is the hard part. Don't analyzeyour breath; just bring your attention and focus toyour breath, without thinking about it or analyzingit.Bring your attention back to your mind when it wanders. And it will. I've been meditatingfor 3-4 years for 30 minutes a day, and my mind still wanders sometimes. When your mindwanders, and it will, gently bring your attention back to your breath once you realize thatyour mind has wandered. You may not clue in at first that your mind has started thinkingagain, but when you do, gently bring your attention back. Don't be hard on yourself duringthis stage. Just gently bring your attention back.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

6.Again, bring your mind back when it wanders. When your mind begins to think, gentlybring your attention back to only your breath. When your mind begins to think about howboring meditation is, gently bring your attention back to your breath. When your mindbecomes restless, bring in your attention again. Keep doing this until your meditation timersounds.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

Meditating for 10 minutes a day is infinitely better than meditating for 70 minutes oncea week. Try to meditate frequently (every day if possible), even if that just means sitting fora few minutes.Start small. If you try to meditate for 30 minutes right from the start, I can almostguarantee that you will get frustrated and discouraged. I recommend starting with fiveminutes, and only increasing that time when you're comfortable. Even if you sit for fiveminutes, and you find that your mind wanders the whole time, you will still receiveincredible benefits from meditation.Pick a gentle alarm. If your timer is loud and jarring, anticipating the alarm will distractyour attention during meditation.Meditate in a quiet place. Having less distractions around you will naturally allow you toconcentrate better, and will make your meditation much more productive.It's easiest to lose your attention during your out-breath. Your in-breath is verypronounced and easy to concentrate on, and most people's minds wander on their outbreaths (me included). This is worth keeping in mind.Be easy on yourself when your mind wanders. It's easy to become frustrated with yourselfwhen your mind wanders, but don't. Your meditations will be much more productive whenyou gently bring your attention back.If you can't concentrate, try counting. Count your breaths, until you reach five, and thenstart again. I use this trick when I'm having a tough time concentrating.Click to view this guide online.Some rights reserved.

My goal with this guide was to give you everything you need to start up a meditation practice.Meditation is a simple practice, but it's one that seems intimidating on the surface. If you are havequestions about breathing meditation, please post a comment below, or tweet at me! There is alsoa twitter hashtag, #OMCru (which stands for Online Meditation Crew). I know of a lot of peoplethat follow this hashtag, so if you post a meditation question with it, you are bound to get ananswer.Thanks a lot for reading, and happy meditating!If you found this guide helpful and want to contribute to A Year of Productivity, pleasepitch in a few bucks! I don't have ads on the site, and 75% of what you contribute goesdirectly back into the site to make more articles like this one!It's easy and quick - if y