At its most basic level, meditation is a means of relaxing the mind and the body. Proponents believe these often simple techniques can also enhance physical health and increase spirituality. Many approaches have been developed around the world, but most orbit around primary principles like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and concentrated thought. More specific simple meditation techniques include the following: walking meditations, yoga, phrase repetitions, and imagery exercises.
Most simple meditation exercises have the same foundation with different variations. Relaxing muscles is important, for example, as is clearing the mind of negative energy. Both of these steps can be assisted through breathing exercises that can release tensions and worries. Meditative breathing usually involves inhaling and exhaling slow, deep breaths for around 10 or 15 minutes. During this breathing, an individual will likely become more aware of the body and thus will be more in tune with individual movements.
While someone may use breathing exercises as an isolated form of simple meditation, this process can also be combined with a number of other techniques. Most practitioners find meditation most helpful when it is practiced in a quiet, calm area. As such, an individual may seek a secluded natural area or even an isolated room in the home.
Walking meditations are another useful technique, where the meditator selects a path, becomes familiar with it, and then walks the entire distance. Selected paths might include a hiking trail or a large garden. In addition to practicing breathing exercises, individuals may use this alone time to contemplate a specific object or thought.
Sharpening the mind might be further assisted by closing the eyes and uttering a repetitive phrase. This word or phrase may be religious in nature for a spiritual person, or it may be any word or thought that is valued by the person. The important component of this phrase is that it focuses the mind and sharpens concentration. Any distracting or intruding thoughts should be mentally discarded.
Imagery represents another powerful tool in simple meditation exercises. In basic terms, imagery involves using the mind to create pleasant mental pictures. Individuals can gain inspiration by recreating favorite locations or by visualizing experiences or people that make them happy. One popular technique even makes use of the artistic world by encouraging individuals to sit in front of a favorite painting. By focusing on lines, colors, and other details in the painting, a meditator can fashion an image of the scene in his or her mind and then imagine himself or herself entering the painting and interacting with its contents.
The practice of yoga is also often used in conjunction with simple meditation. These stretching, breathing, and posture exercises rely on the same techniques and achieve the same goals as meditation. A simple yoga posture might involve standing in a fixed position for a certain amount of time or stretching the limbs in gentle ways.