Just like in Yoga, there are a lot of systems and methods out there for meditation, so many, that one can easily get confused.
For me, breathing is the base for my “meditative practice”. I sit down watching my breath, while keeping my eyes closed. The aim is to fall to a “deep relaxed state”.
Time of the day: My preferred time for watching my breath with my eyes closed, is early morning. This is normally the opening of my long daily routine. I also watch my breath before going to sleep.
Posture: I used to sit on a pillow placed on the floor, sometimes cross legged and sometimes in lotus but the posture that feels best for me while watching my breath is sitting on a comfortable chair with a straight back.
Sounds: I either sit in silence or have in the background, the soft sounds of a Water stream, either in nature or recorded sounds.
Smiles: I may add some smiles on the inhale and a neutral expression on the exhale.
Breathing: full 3 stage Yogic Breathing.
Generally I try to keep my exhaling duration longer than my inhaling duration.
Thoughts: I do my best to channel my thoughts to a Mantra.
Mantra: I use different Mantras. Here are some examples
On the inhale “(1) I have gratitude (2) for the things I got in life“
On the exhale “( 3) I have compassion (4) for the suffering of fellow beings“.
On the inhale “(1) I observe (2) with clarity“
On the exhale “( 3) awareness (4) looking at reality as it is“.
On the inhale “(1) My inner peace (2) and a calm mind“
On the exhale “( 3) come from letting go of my desires (4) ownership and controlling others“.
Duration: Between 30 and 60 minutes.
If I managed to fall to a “deep relaxed state”, when I open my eyes, I normally have an unforced smile on my face, mouth sensation similar to that of when I wake up in the morning and eyelids sticking a bit to each other. When I worry while practicing or when my thoughts drift wildly, I can easily sense it at the end of the session by these three indicators: smile, mouth sensation and sticking eyelids.
Dictionary definition: Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Scholars have found meditation difficult to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them.