The Ohioan’s guide to meditation, complete with app recommendations, resources and tips
In a digital era plagued by dinging devices and overflowing inboxes, meditation and mindfulness might seem out of reach. But they don’t have to be, says Cheryl Rapose, M.Ed, LISW, who runs the Mindfulness-Based Programs and Services at OhioHealth. Here’s how to get started with mindful meditation:
1. Get moving. Before you dive right into meditation, try some exercise, especially if you’re feeling particularly agitated or tired, Rapose says. Walk, stretch or do some yoga.
2. Find a quiet place. It doesn’t have to be silent, Rapose says, but seek out a place where you can avoid distractions and won’t be disturbed.
3. Pick a time. Determine how long you’re going to practice — and stick to it. If you’re new to meditation, Rapose recommends starting with 10 minutes and possibly setting a timer.
4. Take a seat and close your eyes. “Find a comfortable way to sit so the spine is upright and the muscular body relaxed,” Rapose says. (A supportive chair works just fine.) Then, gently close your eyes.
5. Breathe. Take a deep breath in. Roll your shoulders up toward your ears, then roll your shoulder blades down your back. Notice how it feels, Rapose says. Repeat two more times. Then, rest your hands on your lap.
6. Do a body scan. Starting with the top of your head and working toward your toes, slowly scan your body. Just notice how the body is feeling in this moment. Be aware of sensations that are present.
7. Focus on your breath. “Let your attention move to wherever you are drawn to observe the breath in the body,” Rapose says. That might be your nose, chest, belly or a combination. “There is no right or wrong place.”
8. Don’t beat yourself up when your mind wanders. It happens to everyone. “Simply see where your attention has gone,” Rapose says. “Acknowledge it. Then release any attachment to the distraction and come back to the breath you are on.” Continue riding the waves of the in-and-out breath, noticing the sensations of breath without thinking about the breath until your time is up.
There’s an App for That
And plenty of other resources, including books and classes. Here are a few options:
• Headspace: Described as a gym membership for the mind, this app offers guided meditation courses.
• Buddhify: This app has guided meditations designed for different activities, including traveling, working and going to sleep.
• The Mindfulness App: This app includes guided and silent meditations, ranging in length from three to 30 minutes.
Learn more about mindfulness and meditation with help from OhioHealth.