Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners: The Ultimate FAQ | Weronika Salach | Skillshare

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Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners: The Ultimate FAQ

teacher avatar Weronika Salach, Art with MAGIC

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Meditation 101!


    • 2.

      Is This Class for Me?


    • 3.

      What is Meditation?


    • 4.

      Do I Close My Eyes?


    • 5.

      What to Do with My Hands?


    • 6.

      Do I Need to Sit Long?


    • 7.

      How Much Time do I Need?


    • 8.

      Do I Need to Sit Still?


    • 9.

      How to Sit?


    • 10.

      What When My Legs Hurt?


    • 11.

      Can I Sit in a Chair?


    • 12.

      Can I Lie Down to Meditate?


    • 13.

      Do I Have to Do Yoga?


    • 14.

      The Lotus Pose?


    • 15.

      Can I Stop Thinking?


    • 16.

      How to Breathe?


    • 17.

      How to Regain My Focus?


    • 18.

      Dealing with Distractions?


    • 19.

      Is it Always Boring?


    • 20.

      Meditation is Difficult


    • 21.

      Meditation is Easy


    • 22.

      One Way to Meditate?


    • 23.

      Meditation with Pets?


    • 24.

      Is it Something Special?


    • 25.

      What About Religion?


    • 26.

      Do I Need to be Spiritual?


    • 27.

      Does My Practice Have a Quality?


    • 28.

      Is it a Lifestyle?


    • 29.

      How is it Different from Relaxation?


    • 30.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class

Do you want to try out meditation? Or perhaps you want to solidify your meditation knowledge?

This Q&A tutorial is for everyone! I am here to help you adress the most frequently asked questions around meditation, and boy, there are plenty! I gathered all my experience from my own zen yoga teaching and meditation practice, as well as from the encounters with my meditation class students - all real life examples!

Meditation is certainly a skill that we learn for a lifetime, and it's an extremely valuable one. I firmly believe it should be taught in schools ^^ Among many other things, this class will present you:

  • the best of beginner's tips on how to start meditating
  • most common problem areas in meditation with solutions
  • proven teacher advice on how to put your body in order (sitting, hands, the eyes etc)
  • a confrontation with the most ridiculous myths on meditation (no, you don't have to empty your mind ;) )
  • exclusive material you won't find anywhere else - e.g. "How to meditate with pets?"





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Weronika Salach

Art with MAGIC

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Hello! My name is Weronika (or Wera, pronounced with a "V"), I'm an illustrator, surface pattern designer, and online educator based in Berlin, Germany.


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1. Welcome to Meditation 101!: Knowing how to meditate is definitely a valuable skill that we learn for a lifetime and stays and benefits us for a lifetime. It really doesn't matter if you're just a beginner who has zero experience in meditation or perhaps you've already gained to some exposure to meditation and you already have a meditation practice. Each of you may still have some questions revolving around the meditation topic. This is where this class comes in. Meditation 101, the ultimate frequently asked questions. We'll be addressing all the most common doubts and filling in the gaps in information, ranging from the suggestion somehow to sit or position your hands, how to find your lost focus, busting the myths of emptying the mind, what's the difference between meditation and other relaxation techniques and even how to meditate with your pet. This class covers even more. My name is Veronica. I'm an artist civil trader, as well as the part-time yoga and meditation teacher. I'll be answering all those questions for you today. So let's get started. 2. Is This Class for Me?: This class is both for beginners as well as people who consider themselves advanced in meditation. For beginners, they will definitely profit from listening to the answers to the most common questions about meditation, and this will help them to banish some of false ideas about meditation. Then for people who already have a certain experience, you will know guys that throughout their lifetime we often don't have just one meditation teacher, we have many influencers, and that's actually a really good thing. You can listen to those various teachers and very often their answers will be quite subjective. You will see that they slightly differ. Then a lot of them, the answers, they will be covered completely in the same way. But me as another teacher for you, I also invite those people who have an idea about meditation to listen to the answers, to have this Buddha's beginner's mind to see the same thing, but from a different perspective. That's what it's meant by this Buddha's concept of the beginner's mind. To see whether you can rediscover a certain topic from a different perspective and learn something new. 3. What is Meditation?: Before we move to the more detailed questions about meditation to all the technicalities, I think it's really important that you and I share an understanding of what actually meditation is. I wanted to tell you what I believe meditation is really about. For me, it's important that meditation revolves around having a single focus. You can have different objects of meditation. Therefore, you can develop different techniques of meditation. But to put it really in a nutshell, in simple words, for me personally, meditation means a single focus. It doesn't mean that you stop thinking and there's a video about answering that question a little bit further during this tutorial. We are still wired to think, so it's not about switching to thinking of, it's about thinking about one thing and the single-focus, thinking or doing something wholeheartedly with your whole presence counts as meditation. Having said that, there is a formal type of meditation and there is an informal type of meditation. The many questions that I answer here relates to the formal meditation type. When we think of a meditation practice, we probably have an image of a person who is dedicated to sit somewhere have a designated spot for meditation and commits to sit and to meditate. This is the so-called formal meditation. You set up a time, you have a place, and you choose your technique of meditations and you build a practice around it. Then the second type of meditation is an informal meditation. This is quite easy to understand because it's basically being as if in the meditative state but during your life, whatever you do in your life. As you remember the definition that I provided to you at the beginning, what is meditation? The single-focus. This informal meditation could be, for example, cooking with the single focus of cooking your meal and meditating on the process of cooking the meal, being with the taste, being with the smell, and not multitasking. That's another valuable information. Meditation is not multitasking. Sometimes it's easier to understand something when we say one thing or the phenomena is not. Meditation, is single tasking and it's definitely not multitasking. Meditation also is meaning in the present moment of the same time. In the informal meditation, you could, for example, have a mindful tea or mindfully listen to music and that means that you are fully present in the moment. You're able to really enjoy this objects of your meditation. But it becomes part of your life. You didn't have these meditation spots, where you know okay, now I'm meditating. Meditation in this informal way creeps into your life, becomes your lifestyle in a way and you cannot say anywhere that you're meditating, but you're putting a single focus on a single object. Let's remember that for the entire duration of this tutorial, that meditation doesn't mean you have stop thinking, it means that you either heavily reduced this thinking and definitely doesn't imply that you have a single focus on the objects of your meditation. 4. Do I Close My Eyes?: For your meditation practice to be smooth, you've got to know what to do with your body. There's this principled in Zen Yoga that the number one step in your meditation practice is to put your body into order first. One most common question is about the eyes. What do I do with my eyes when I meditate? Do I always have to close my eyes? I wanted to provide you with an easy answer. There are a few recommendations about what to do with your eyes when you meditate. The easiest one of course, is to close your eyes, to shut down the sense of seeing, so that you reduce the distractions. That's the easiest explanation. That's also quite pleasant for the eyes to relax in this way. However, you don't have to have your eyes closed all the time, especially when you're feeling particularly sleepy or drowsy, you can have your eyes open. An alternative is to have your eyes half-open. I don't know if you're able to see that. But it says if my eyes were open, I just see the world a little bit through this little curtain of my eyelashes, so they're not fully closed. There's still some light coming through and this prevents me from feeling too sleepy during my meditation practice. You can also open your eyes a little bit more. Here the key is not to look around too much. Because that's another distraction. When we practice firmly in the group, the teacher would sometimes ask us to sit in front of a wall, and this wall also shouldn't have any pictures, nothing to distract you. You can sit close to a wall somewhere in your flat. That's one alternative, and if there's really nothing that can sit next to the wall and look at the wall. Then you look up the floor right in front of you, about 45 degrees down and try to avoid looking around your room. Trying to minimize the distractions. You don't look down too much because you don't want it to be too hard on your neck. You still have the rule. Hips and shoulders, and head are in one line. The head is stacked right above our hips. It shouldn't go too much to the front, it shouldn't go too much to the back because we will feel it in our neck and we want to feel comfy and meditation. That's why you keep the upright posture. But you just look somewhere, in front of the floor without looking around, and that's up to you which mode you prefer? Eyes closed, half open, and completely open, looking somewhere to the front. 5. What to Do with My Hands?: Next, let me give you some tips and suggestions about what to do with your hands during your meditation practice because some people seem to be confused and they don't know what to do with their hands. I have a few suggestions. There is this posture when you're seated on a chair, the sofa or the way I am seated here on the floor. Put your hands simply on your thighs somewhere around your knees. If I put them this way with my palms facing down, then I do it often for the purpose of wanting to feel more grounded and more secure. It's like I'm closing the circuit in a way and grounding myself. When I'm feeling very receptive, I want to receive something. Maybe you're doing a healing meditation, you want to get something out of your meditation practice, then you can also put it with the palms facing towards the ceiling or facing upwards like that. It's just important that wherever your hands are here on the thighs, it's a relief then for your shoulders so that you're super loose and you can also wiggle your arms a little bit. Relax, wiggle, move your neck, and then from this relaxed neck, relaxed shoulders, through the relaxed elbows, relaxed wrists, you just rest your hands. You also can commit to how you're going to put your hands and you glue them to where you want them to be and you allow them to rest on that spot. I also like to meditate with a concentration mudra, which looks like that. I make a mini basket from both hands. I put my left hand into my right hand this way and then those thumbs touch. Sometimes I just hold it like that. If I have a feeling that again here, I have to hold my hands, they don't have enough of a support in here, then I can grab this. That's why it's nice to have blankets and pillows. I grab a pillow. You can also have a blanket. You can even take a towel from your bathroom and make a little shelf. Put it in the concentration mudra if you wish. Just make sure that the hands, wrists, forearms, and maybe the elbows as well, that they rest and in this way, the arms are not hanging. This is really handing them. You can then completely relax and proceed with your meditation practice. In this mudra, the two thumbs touch. It actually does help with your concentration. I was given the advice the other day that the amount of pressure that you should put here on your thumbs is that you have to imagine that there's a little butterfly in between the thumbs and you want the sums to touch so that the butterfly doesn't fly away and ran away, but you don't want to push too hard so that you don't kill the butterfly. Again the middle path finding the middle grounds. Sometimes when you meditate with this concentration mudra hands gesture for a longer time, so 20 minutes plus, you will notice that those fingers go apart. That's another indication that you're losing your focus. In this way, this meditation mudra can really help you to stay in the practice by staying a little bit more focused. That's why it's my preferred way to hold the hands. If I don't have the support or if I feel that my arms need a rest, then I simply meditate with my hands on my thighs. That's it. 6. Do I Need to Sit Long?: As some people think that in order to meditate, you have to sit for hours. Then they say they don't have the time. If you want to practice meditation in this formal way, when seated, then it's good to designate a time, yes and then you can have a timer and allow the timer to count the time for you. But when I started my own meditation practice, I was a much more stressed person. I was going through some illness and trouble in life and in my head, I was really struggling. So I allow myself to start with a meditation practice of one minute. This one minute was really, really challenging. One minute versus you've got to sit for hours or for many minutes. It can be even half a minute. Of course it's not going to be that splendid. It's better to sit for two minutes than for one minute, but you can start from any amount of time that you have. For beginners, it's very useful to apply this rule of plus one or even plus half. The first meditation practice is one minute. On the second day, it's two minutes. On the third day, it's three minutes. On the fourth day, it's four minutes, and on the fifth day, it's five minutes. At some point you count maybe to 10 and you realize this is it, I want to stick to 10 for a while now, and this is how you're able to progress. 7. How Much Time do I Need?: I partially answered this question concerning the time for meditation. There are many tips and tricks on how to trick yourself in order to conduct your meditation practice. But I hope I do not use it as an excuse that, "I don't have time to meditate, time is my constraint." Remember that there is nothing like a quality of the meditation practice, there's no good or bad. Even if it's just one minutes a day, it counts. If you're able to sit formally and meditate for 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes, then good for you. But meditation can be very easily transferred to the daily life. Anything that you do can be meditation, if it's cooking your dinner, if it's spending time with your kids, if it's playing with your cat, reading a book, that already counts as meditation. Wherever you are in your life, this is the maximum that you can do because you don't have the time for a formal sitting meditation practice, then this is good enough for you. You're don't really have to sweat about the time constraints. Also remember that even when you're a busy professional who has to go to work, get up early in the morning, or comes back late in the evening, you can trick the time by getting up two minutes earlier or spending the two minutes of your time before going to bed. Even if you're already in bed, super tired, you can do a lying down meditation. Then you can lie down in your bed straight and you can either just focus on your breath, just the fact that you're breathing, noticing, smiling maybe to yourself, that, "I'm breathing, I'm grateful." Or focusing on your feet and especially this meditation on the feet before going to sleep, it will actually helped it to fall asleep. It's going to get you more grounded, so time should not be a problem at all. 8. Do I Need to Sit Still?: Another common misconception about meditation is, when you sit in the meditation practice, you have to stay completely still. Yes and no. Why yes and no? Well, first of all, of course you can move and it's natural that the body wants to move, especially one that's in one position. This is my most favorite way to sit when I meditate. It's this Burmese position, it's not a full lotus pose. I'm using a meditation cushion or you can use a rolled up blanket or here I could have even taken a few of those pillows from my sofa and tucked it under so that my hips are slightly more elevated and then my knees are not hanging. I assume a position that is comfy, including the feet. The legs might fall asleep a little bit, but that's another story. You sit comfortably and as you meditate, it might be that you want to move and there are various options. What you can do. For example, you can sit like that if your legs are falling asleep. For me personally, it's important that my spine is straight, hips elevated, I'm not rounding my back, I'm not falling to the back. So you can move in wiggle. Now to answer this aspect of why maybe yes, you should focus on being still. It's particularly important when you're meditating in a group. A group environment is a very nice one by the way. If you've never meditated with a group of people, I highly recommend that. It's a really nice experience. There you also have to respect towards your fellow meditators. You don't want to wiggle too much. You don't want to make noise. You can imagine 20 people meditating in one room and nice peace and quiet and someone is wiggling all the time. So you might want to learn at least a little bit how to put a certain discipline on your body. It's again a practice, a body and mind practice that also originates from Zen Yoga. We know that we have a body and this body wants things. Anything that we do in this life is for the body, you have to realize that. You buy the clothes for the body, you put the food for the body, the body wants to move or go to travel. All the money that we spend is for the body. So this practice of trying to be still and not moving when you're meditating is also the practice for your mind to evaluate how much did I listen to my body, meaning am I a slave to provide what the body wants, or can I train my body to be more calm and more still? Do I have to reply and provide what my body demands all the time, or can I put a little bit more discipline? In Zen yoga, which is very much rooted in the Buddhist philosophy of Zen, I really like this rule of the middle path from Buddha. Namely, you don't go to the extremes. So you're not super, super still like I can't move, I can't even sneeze If I want to. That's too much, that's too hardcore. Vice versa, you're not super hyperactive. Your try to stay in the middle. As always, in the meditation or yoga practice, you just do your best. For every single person, this sentence to do your best can vary. But as long as you have this honest feeling, I have done my best when it comes to putting my body on the meditation cushion, then it's okay. But it doesn't mean that they have to be still all the time. Not at all. 9. How to Sit?: How you sit in your meditation usually dictates how you're going to feel during this meditation practice. Because if you don't have a well-developed meaning tailored to you, a sitting position to your meditation, then you might struggle a little bit. Let me also tell you that in the meditation practice we repeat our meditation sessions. Then the position that you choose for your meditation it will get better. That's why usually you start with just one minute of meditation then two and you extend the time. You will notice it's a good practice not only for your mind and staying with your meditation method, but it's also a good practice for your body. It will get you used to it. When I went first time for my meditation retreats, which was seven days of meditation from morning till evening, I remember I really, really struggled. My knees hurt, my lower back hurt because we really had to sit for, I think 10 plus meditation sessions a day. Each of them half an hour. That was pretty tough. I was still grateful that I meditated at home before at least half a year, a year so that my body could get used to this formal Sita's meditation. You will also notice that whatever position you think will suit you best, it will get even better and even better. Let me show you if you would like to sit formally. Not on the sofa, not on a chair, but somewhere on the floor or maybe on your yoga mat. I have a few suggestions for you. The position that I assumed here is my favorite one. I sit in this position by default. Even when I listen to a lecture I go somewhere and when you've got to sit on the floor, this is how I sit. I also recommend getting a meditation cushion. However, if you don't have a meditation cushion, they're really cheap. You can get a few pillows. Everyone has pillows at home or blankets. You can roll them and then you can tuck them underneath your hips. Let me show you. It's this recommended way of sitting so that the knees are not hanging. The knees are not hanging. That's why your hips have to be elevated. If I sat without the pillow, my knees go up and I'm tempted to fall back. A lot of people who come to my yoga class they are like, "I cannot sit upright. ", or they feel where they don't have enough of a support, then they really have to struggle and focus more on holding the position and then they tense the thighs and the feet even have to work in order to maintain this position. But you can help yourself. If you're sitting on a blanket or even on a yoga mat, if you have a yoga mat, if you're in a yoga class, whatever you have the mat, or the blanket, or any other pillow, you can roll it behind you. Either way it gets better. Try to get a little bit higher with your hips. I'm going to use my meditation cushion again. Actually, especially when you do yoga, you might also use those yoga blocks. They're very useful for practicing yoga. It's just advice for people who have something to do with yoga. You can take this yoga block and you can use it as your cushion too. They're a little bit harder. Sometimes your bum hurts. But it's manageable. You can use it too. But I got my pretty meditation cushion for €10 and I'm happy to use to cushion. The hips are higher than the knees. This is great. I hope you can see that. In this way, I'm not holding any pressure in the muscles of my legs here. My knees are able to rest because they're not hanging. Here from the tailbone all the way up to my head, so along my spine, everything is straight. Hopefully. I'm not rounding, I'm not falling to the back. I'm seated completely straight. I have to underline it, it is effortless. There's absolutely no effort in this sitting. There was a little bit of a problem at the beginning when I wasn't used to sitting that I felt a little bit of pain. But it went all away. From this position, I'll talk about the feet in a second, if you're really struggling and for example, your legs are falling asleep, you can also sit like that. But you're still sitting straight in here. You're not rounding or you're not resting like that. Above the feet, this is Bhramari style where I'm not crossing my legs. They're stacked next to each other. I can also change the direction here, the other way around. I feel there's a slight difference. I'm used to sitting on one side, so one side of the hip seems to be a little bit more stiff because I'm not used to it. But I'm re-adjusting my meditation cushion. Now it's okay. I can sit like that on the other side. Some people, especially the ones who practice yoga, they like either the half lotus or the full lotus position. I'm not a big fan. I sometimes struggle to hold my legs in this lotus position for a long time so I will not discuss it any further. Some people sit cross-legged. However, it's still okay. But if you feel that your knees are still hanging, have some blankets or I have plenty of pillows here waiting for the demonstration. Perhaps take one pillow underneath one knee and then the other pillow underneath the other knee. Hips still elevated. It might look funny, but I feel super stable in here even though my legs are crossed. To recapitulate it's really important, the knees in the seated position, no chair, no sofa, are not hanging. They are also supported. If I go back to my preferred Bhramir's position, the same. You're going to see they're not hanging. They're firmly on the ground. Then I have those three points in my meditation position that allow me to stay upright. If someone came to me and wanted to shove me to the side, I'm super stable here, I cannot fall back. I really have to try hard. I cannot especially when I'm having my eyes closed. Although I look like I'm falling asleep a little bit. You will see you when you meditate in the groups, some people, they meditate and after a while they're falling asleep and leaning forward. In this position is very safe. I'm completely locked at three points. The hips and the buttocks sitting firmly on the cushion, or on the block, or on some elevation, 1, 2, 3. It's like a triangle. This triangle helps you to sit comfortably. This is option number 1. Option number 2, but sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes the legs fall asleep a little bit faster, is the seiza Japanese way of sitting. It's what you will see in some Japanese ceremonies like the tea ceremony. I used to sit like that in my martial arts training. It's basically to sit on your heels. This is what it looks from the side. Again, my back is straight. There is this golden rule, hips, shoulders, head in one line. This is what it looks like from the front. Then move your hands is also at the meditation, concentration mudra, or simply on your thighs. You can do the same with the meditation cushion or any pillow. I'm just going to show it with this meditation cushion, that you just sit on it so that it's comfy. It looks like that from the side. You put less of a pressure here on your calves. See the difference. Here I'm putting a lot of pressure. That means I might be potentially cutting off the blood from my legs and I will get the pain or my leg will fall asleep much faster. Sitting again, elevating your hips a little bit higher away from the knees, hips above the knees, the same rule helps you to sit a little bit longer. The back is straight. This is the second meditation position that you can try out for yourself. In any position that you choose eventually for your meditation practice, it's going to be a trial and error. You want to choose the one that resonates with you most and you want to choose the one where you can sit comfortably for at least two minutes. Because as a beginner you are usually start from those shorter chunks of time. It's a good rule of thumb if you're able to sit comfortably in a focused way between two and five minutes in that position, then I guess you can keep rolling with it. With your meditation practice progressing you will notice that it's easier and easier. You just have to stick to it. 10. What When My Legs Hurt?: In this video, I would like to show you quickly what to do when you have your favorite sitting meditation posture for your meditation practice and you're having some issues with your legs, how to take care of your legs also after the practice. It might be that you're sitting like that in your meditation or cross-legged, doesn't really matter and even if you're very familiar with this posture, maybe you meditate for like 30 minutes, that can happen. You want to meditate for 30 minutes, you have a timer setup, and then 20 seconds, minutes, you're like my legs or one leg. One way to deal with that you didn't even have to open your eyes, is to take that leg and put it in front of you and still keep the back straight, sit like that. You can also support yourself by interlacing your fingers together and just finding your support again. The rule of the three points, your buttocks, one leg usually the knee, resting somewhere on the floor, and in this case it's going to be the foot and I'm resting on the other knee, three points like a triangle that keep the stability of the position. You can do that also on the other side, you can just gently change however you need remember, meditation is not the torture, so you have to take care of yourself. You can also gently move your toes. This is usually enough, if you just got to spread your legs, if you're able to sit like that, then it's also okay. I remember during those long meditation retreats that I've done, I sometimes sat like that. I was just supporting myself with my fingers centered lays on my knees, the back was still straight and I was sitting like that because my legs after hours of meditation, they were completely broken, that was my first retreat. I just sat them this way, till the end of my meditation practice. In meditation, we have a technique, we have an object for meditation, so the legs as a problem during the meditation, they are the distraction, we have to minimize the distractions, take care of our body, and then proceed with our technique of meditation, the methods of our meditation. If some pain or body issues prevent us from doing that, we have to come back to taking care of the body and we have to put our body in order and then proceed with the methods of meditation. Then when you're done with your meditation practice, you usually got to take care of your legs, you can do it by stretching them out on the floor, you can put your feet on the floor and you want to massage by gently stroking your knees. This is also called a Chee massage, spreading the energy around your legs. You can also massage your thighs. You can do it on one side first, then on another, you can massage your calves. Sometimes just stretching your legs out isn't often than with your fingertips, you also lean forward so you stretch the back of your legs. You just go like that up and down with your fingertips. Moving your toes, some people just really like to stretch and move their legs. Go in circles perhaps. I think it's especially important to add gentle strokes to touch your legs and especially this movement of the knees, so very grounding and I like to do that. To rejuvenate your legs a little bit more, so when you seat you can also bounce them like that's against the floor. This will again ground you and this will get the blood and the lymph pumping in your legs, so it's also quit rejuvenating after especially long sitting in meditation. Those are the main tips for the legs during your meditation. 11. Can I Sit in a Chair?: Some people don't like sitting on the floor, they need something more concrete. In this video, I would like to show you how to utilize, for example, a chair to do your seated meditation in this way. Just remember that this chair is an example. It can be a sofa as well. The principles that I'm going to show here will reapply to any other piece of furniture that you have in your apartment. What is important to bear in mind when you want to do seated meditation in a chair or on the sofa. You don't want the chair to be too small and you don't want the chair to be too a big, especially concerning your legs. If it's too small, then you will be pulling, you just have to imagine that a little bit you will be pulling the knees a little bit too much here. There will be the area of your thighs of your quads and the hip flexor is going to be too tense. Ideally you have the chair and the way you're built matches the chair. The 90 degrees type of chair or a sofa. Even more importantly, both feet are able to touch the ground, but I recommend that the feet touch the ground fully. Not just with your toes, with the tips of your toes, but that you're really able to put the entire surface of the feet on the floor would be recommendable. Then this actually gets easier with the technique that I'm going to show you. Namely some people believe that okay, a chair or sofa I can just lean back and meditate like that. To be honest, I really do not recommend that. It makes us lazy and sometimes the chair or the sofa really does not fit our body. We still do not follow this golden rule of stacking the hips, the shoulders, and the heads in one line. There will be still the scenario where we're not sitting well enough and sitting like that, even though in the chair for longer meditation session, you will feel it in your body. It's not going to be good. What I like to recommend is to sit on the verge of a chair or of a sofa. I hope you can see that exactly. On the verge doesn't mean that you're sitting with the tips of your buttocks. It means that you're still sitting fully also with your quads, with your hammies, so the back thighs touching the sofa or the chair with the difference that you're not leaning back and the hands, everything like in the previous videos the same technique. I like to put my hands simply on my thighs and if you watch the video that I show the back just sitting on the meditation cushion, the rule is very similar. My back is just straight and here I'm able to replicate that. I'm sitting a little bit on the verge would say half of the chair in my case, you might have a different chair. I'm lucky enough to have a good chair that fits my body with 90 degrees angle. I put my hands on my thighs so that the arms are not hanging and they're not working unnecessarily they can just relax and participate in my meditation without any obstacles. My feet are firmly rooted to the ground and I'm not leaning back, but I'm still sitting comfortably. My back is able to relax and then straight, I'm not crouching either, I'm not rounding my back, I'm not arching it or leaning to much to the back, hips, arms and shoulders, and hands on one line. I've relaxed neck, I've relaxed head, I've relaxed the belly by sitting on diverge of the chair or the sofa, but not entirely on the verge. We're still feeling supported here, so that the belly can relax and the lower belly can relax as well. This is how you proceed. From the front I can even sit like that. It's all about this verge and the good angle and being able to maintain an upright position. This is what's it's all about. You can even put it in the concentration mood that I like that and then proceed with your meditation practice in this way. 12. Can I Lie Down to Meditate?: For some of you, it's quite hard to get convinced to commit to a seat that's meditation practice. Some people are more or less resistant to that, and especially the beginners who are not maybe convinced entirely or who are a little bit lazy and feel constantly tired. They usually ask the question if it's okay to lie down. I think this is still good than nothing. That's why in this video I wanted to show you some suggestions on how you can just relax or go about with your meditation practice when you would wish to lie down on the floor. Let's get started. You then really need a yoga mat. They have a yoga mat here. You can just use your carpet might be enough if it's thick enough, if it's not too uncomfortable for you when you lie down on it flat. It could be a blanket or blankets that would substitute this yoga mat, you just put them onto the floor. In any case, I recommend at least one blanket in order to cover yourself because you might get a little bit cold and you want to get comfy, so you can have a blanket. Then lying down for longer periods of time can cause some lower back issues and maybe doesn't feel entirely comfy for your knees. That's why in any form of lying down meditation, I like to support my knees underneath. Since I'm a yoga teacher I have quite a lot of yoga related assist to ours. For example, I have this big bolster which I can use to support my legs with underneath the knees. But in case you don't have it, I wanted to give a suggestion for ordinary non-yoga teacher folks. I think everyone has pillows at home, it's important. I use a lot of pillows so you can just grab, lets say one two pillows and put them where you anticipate your knees are going to be. Additionally, the one on top. I like to roll it a little bit more so that they really go underneath my knees and give me a little bit more stability, the knees are not hanging. This is pretty much where you can already be all good to go. For the head, however, I'm also a little bit when I lie down I really like to get comfy. I use an extra pillow for my head underneath to support this curvature of my neck. This is also optional, I have to call them yoga pillows or just relaxation wellness pillows. They have a little bit of weight into them and you can put them nicely on your eyes. They give a little bit more like a gentle weight on your eyes so that the eyes do not flutter. You're able to relax much more if this is your goal. Lying down meditations, I think, are especially good for relaxation rather than transformation, I still recommend to have a seated meditation practice. But there are days where you just want to collapse on the floor and it's completely fine. In yoga, we have this Chavez asana laying down position, which always comes at the end of the class. I see a nice analogy here, namely this position of completely lying down on the floor. It's also a practice of letting go. You let go of the muscles holding your body, you let just completely let go. You allow the body to be taken by the floor or by the yoga mat that you're lying on. A lot of people just need this practice of letting go and lying down like that is a good way to do that. Make sure that you're warm and that you're covered, and then I lay like that using some support through your hands or the muscles here of your belly of your tummy. You lower yourself down. You can readjust the pillow as you need, or you can just lie down flat, and this is it. Here you can also just close your eyes or have them open and can even look at the ceiling, which is quite handy because in case you're really meditating, you have a technique that you want to use them. Usually there's not that much distraction on the ceiling, so it's quite good. Then the arms are relaxed, you can also wiggled them a little bit, make sure that they're completely, you're letting go and just put them somewhere along the side. If you're using a yoga mat, this would be outside of the yoga mat. Then often when you have your palms to the ceiling up, then you're not holding any muscles. If the palms were facing down, then you want to grab the floor so you tense your arms, immediately see the difference. I opened with my palms up and it's much easier for me to rest and to relax. Then as in any meditation position, you can also scan your body. Starting, maybe with your head, you go through your head, through your face, through your neck and your chest, and you check how the body parts feel if you don't sense any tension in them, if everything is okay, nothing hurts, everything is comfy. Your arms, your belly, your back. You check your hips. If you feel that you need to let go off something a little bit more than you can get move, wiggle a little bit. Through this gentle, pulsing movement, you completely let go. Once you're done with this body part and you're done. You just practice the surrender part. Your hips, your pelvis, then you go through your legs with your attention, with your focus. All the way through your knees and your shins, your curves, and then you finish at your feet. You can use the pillow if you wish. As you like, just making yourself comfy, this is much more of a relaxation position, better than the meditation position. But they sometimes like to lie down for a guided meditation, especially for the body scan coming from the mindfulness stress reduction approach. The body scan is really handy laying down I heard a healing visualization came to that in this posture. Then when you're done with your meditation practice, just make sure that before going up you don't go all the way off frontal. But you first go to the side to protect your back and your lower back, and then you come up pressing away from the floor through the side. That's all you've got to remember about. This is it, this is how you can integrate the lying down posture to your meditation practice. 13. Do I Have to Do Yoga?: I often hear that some people claim that you have to practice yoga in order to, at the same time be able to practice meditation. This is of course absolutely not true, you don't have to be a yogi. You don't even have to be to any single yoga class ever in order to meditate as would be terrible, that would be a big problem because not everyone is into yoga. I myself I'm a yoga teacher and I just learned about the connection between yoga and meditation. I'm a Zen yoga teacher. In this tradition we were told that the very origin of meditation and yoga connection was the fact that when the monks wanted to meditate, the first rule is to put your body into order, a form of physical activity, for example through yoga is absolutely perfect. That's why also in the Zen yoga practice we first warm up, go through our yoga practice on the mat, and that prepares the body to be able to sit. For the Buddhist monks as you can imagine, it was especially important to put the body in order, and to take care of the body right before the meditation because they usually sat in meditation for quite a long time. This is the only historical background that I can give you where I do see a connection between a yoga or pretty much any body movement practice and a sitting meditation practice. That's it. 14. The Lotus Pose?: No. You don't have to be a yogi to meditate. You don't have to sit in the lotus post to meditate. There is this cliche stereotype about the meditator sitting like a yogi in the full lotus pose. I really don't like this arsenal, this yoga position because they think not everyone can do that. This is the half lotus pose. It's as quite heavy on the ankles and sometimes it just doesn't feel comfy, especially on the hips. If you do this lotus pose, I recommend that you do it for both sides and then you swap into the other foot. My favorite way to sit, to meditate is this Burmese position where I'm sitting on the meditation cushion. My hips are elevated in this way and my knees are not hanging, they're resting on either the floor, the yoga mat or the other pillow here. My back is straight, my neck is relaxed, and there's this line of hips, shoulders, and head. It has to be in one line, that's the most important thing, and you can achieve this balance of the posture by either sitting on the floor with your feet the way you really wanted, it just has to become comfy. Or you can even do it on the verge of the, here of the bed or on the verge of the chair. If you're sitting in the chair or on the sofa, I do not recommend that you lean against that. So your back is still off, you're not touching the rest with your back. You're sitting a little bit on the edge, but your buttocks, your bum is fully supported. You're not hanging there and here you're just separate and then you remember about this connection on hips, arms or shoulders and head in one line and everything relaxed. You don't want to be too comfy, so you don't want do it on a water bed or a particularly soft pillow. But you don't want it to be hard. There has to be a good degree of comfort, and not too comfy not too cozy so that you have the stability of the body. But the lotus pose is not a must. 15. Can I Stop Thinking?: If there was a top 10 of most often asked questions about meditation, this might be number one or at least in top three. I said so many times or some of my students and my friends whenever I wanted to encourage them to start to meditate. The number 1 was, but I cannot stop thinking. Yes, this is actually normal. It's normal to think and it's really hard to stop. In my personal opinion, it's close to impossible. The problem these days in the society is that we think too much or we think about too many things. Then when you consider your meditation practice as this single tasking and a practice applying a single focus on the single thing for example on your breath, then it means it's not stopping your thinking because I was saying, it's impossible. It's merely reducing your thoughts in order for your brain and for your mind to really relax. Finally, have a break on the small holiday. To reduce the inputs to ideally one thing your object of meditation and to focus on this one thing. But it doesn't mean that you have to stop thinking. Thoughts will come and go. There's also this type of meditation where you just sit and you welcome the thoughts that are coming into your heads. The teacher that I once met to the meditation retreat gave us this beautiful story of your mind as a train station. You're on your own train station in your head and the thoughts that come through your station or stop at your station are the trains. The trains that come to this railway station, they can be long. That means the thoughts that are really complicated. They have lots of wagons and they go like super long. They're very complicated and some of the trains are pretty small, small thoughts that we have during the day. Your train station can be a pretty busy one on some days or in some hours or it can be quite calm. There are just maybe one or two trains. The important thing is to acknowledge that this is the train station. It's meant to accept trains in and through. The teacher who was telling that story. He had a really good sense of humor. He said the most important thing is not to get onto one of those trains for too long because it might carry you away from the train station, from your mind. Then he finished the story by saying, it's going to be really embarrassing for you to find yourself somewhere in the middle of the field because you had to leave the train because it took you away from the train station and you needed to look for a bus to go back to where you needed to go back. This is a very nice metaphor for this type of meditation. They're just like trains that pass or clouds in the sky and you just see what comes, you observe it and then you let it go. The train has to go or the cloud has to go somewhere else till the wind blows it away. This form of meditation is really cleansing for me personally. But yeah, it doesn't mean that guys you cannot stops thinking. That's not what it is about. I hope this myth, this false thinking is banished forever. 16. How to Breathe?: Another common question about the meditation practice is about the breath. How should I breathe when I meditate? I will try to give a very precise and short answer. You just have to breathe at all. It's my answer. This philosophy of the breath come specifically from the Zen yoga that I'm practicing. The breath is the breath. You should be happy that it's there and this is actually a good object to meditate on. When we meditate on the breath, it doesn't have to be just typical Buddhists and monks Zazen meditation on the breath practice. It might be just sitting down, you close your eyes or you don't have to, and you just notice the fact that you're breathing. Then, in Zen yoga we also say, and it makes so much sense, we say that your breath is a mirror to how you are or how you feel. When your breath is shallow and you're feeling that you cannot take a full breath, then, it's just an illustration of how you are right now and you just got to do self-care and take care of yourself. On the opposite, when you're a super fit and relaxed person, breathing will be easy. You will not even have to think about it. You will be breathing with the whole body and the breath will not be restricted or constricted. That's just an illustration of how you are. Unless you practice pranayamas in yoga, but I don't really practice pranayamas. I'll go back. No, you didn't have to pay attention to your breath as long as you're not holding it. Some people when they're focused on something, they hold it. Do not hold your breath, allow it to flow as it flows. Remind yourself that your breath is, it is what it is. That's it. You don't really have to worry about it. 17. How to Regain My Focus?: How to concentrate in meditation. I think this is the biggest obstacle that sooner or later you will experience in your meditation practice. Certainly I have been through that as well. There were days and days and it's important to accept both. Some days it's going to be stellar. You can sit, you can meditate on the object that you choose. You will say, I had a good meditation day. But on some days and you will notice that too, you will say, my meditation was bad. I had a bad meditation day. I didn't enjoy my meditation practice. I couldn't focus. My mind was scattered. It's also important to underline that it's okay. Those worse days, they are allowed to happen. We don't have to judge ourselves or judge our meditation practice. They're allowed to happen. You will notice that different thoughts will come even if you choose an object like the focus on the breath as your meditation technique, some other thoughts will come and this is inevitable because we are wired to think. Especially for beginners, it will be more difficult at the beginning not to lose the focus. There was once a story that I heard from yet another meditation teacher. I had actually quite a few meditation advisors in the last years. There was this story of meditation as a cute little puppy. I don't know what puppies do you like, but I really like those golden retrievers. Imagine a small golden retriever puppy that comes to you. This is when you're sitting in meditation and the puppy comes or my cat, which luckily is now sleeping. My cat or the puppy comes and this is a metaphor for the thoughts and the distractions that come to our meditation practice. The puppy is cute, the cat is cute, you're like, Oh I would like to get involved with the puppy or with the thoughts, with the distractions. I cannot avoid them, I cannot see them. The key is, it's okay, the puppy can still be there or the cat. You cannot just erase it. First you have to accept that the puppy or the cat is there or the thoughts. Second of all, the puppy is cute so you shouldn't hurt the puppy. You shouldn't be brutal or aggressive and say go away and shift the puppy away. It will break your heart. But instead, you should gently say no and just come back to your method. The cute little puppy comes back again and again. You have to be consistent. You have to say no and then gently shove the puppy away. The same, imagine you're meditating, some thought comes, I need to pay the bills, okay. Then you continue, maybe you count the breath. Then, I forgot to buy apples or whatever, okay. If it's really hard and there are those things that bother you that to you just didn't remember or you remember to do something, have a notepad and in the worst case scenario, you can just write it down and then you give yourself permission. I'll remember now I wrote it down. You give yourself permission to come back. You're sitting again and then maybe some heavier stuff comes like, I had an argument with my mother or my boyfriend, or I got divorced and I'm thinking about the divorce or maybe someone passed, keeps coming back. You see it, you cannot pretend that those thoughts are not there. The ideas about the problems that you have in life, they are this so called sticky thoughts. The sticky thoughts just keep coming back like a boomerang. Look at them, acknowledge them, and then maybe even visualize it, it's an object that you put away, you put it away on the shelf. Or you visualize this movement of shoving away, saying okay, and then quick, go away, come back to your methods. Just to remind you again, it's a meditation practice and practice makes perfect or practice makes everything easier with practice. It will get better. 18. Dealing with Distractions?: In this video, I wanted to talk about the distractions. It may happen that there are some various distractions in your house. The cat comes, or the cats plays with stuff and stuff falls from the desk. Maybe someone is in the kitchen you don't live alone or maybe you have kids. I would still aim at those times where your flat for example, if you meditate in the flat is relatively empty, may be the kids are in the kindergarten, maybe my partner just left to the gym so I'm able to meditate. My cat is sleeping and if it's entirely not possible to avoid those distractions, then you just have to remember that my teachers used to say the best place to practice Zen is actually in the city. That's how I came up with this brand things and city for my business. In the city well, there are a lot of distractions. There's the subway, there are people in the street or social beings. We live with other people and those distractions are unavoidable and instead of being overwhelmed, it's again about training your mind, to care a little bit less and to try to like those clouds that come into the sky, gently, just let go. Then to come back to your meditation technique. One way to avoid distractions is to have an anchor, to anchor yourself with your attention. This is the reason why for our meditation we need an object. That's why we say the object of meditation is the breath. The meditation on the breath is the most popular one I would say, because our breath hopefully is with us all the time. This is something that we always have our breath, in case you don't have a candle or any other thing that you like to meditate on, your breath. Another thing that keeps us very grounded as well and focused is to focus on the feet. If you're really super tired in the evening, for example, you skipped your meditation while you're already in bed, trying to fall asleep. A really good mini meditation is lying down and your bed to focus on your feet, on your toes. Just stay with your attention as if it was a sticker, just stick it at your feet. Or as I was saying, sticking out your breath, the cat destroyed something, a flower pot is falling. Come back to your breath or tidy up mindfully and do whatever you going to do and your kids are calling and try to come back to your breath. If it's impossible to comeback to a seated meditation again, just stand where you are, close your eyes and notice the fact that you're breathing. This is already a nice meditation method to come back to. Distractions, sometimes cannot be avoided, but you can train your mind too care less and to come back to your object of meditation, it's a meditation practice and practice in place, it is going to repeat till it becomes the habit, until it becomes easier. 19. Is it Always Boring?: We have many people who think that meditation is super boring and it's not for them. They considered themselves to be very active. They're quite resistant to Yoga every time I want to offer that. They come to my class and they are like, "I'm not a Yoga type or I'm not a meditation type." They think it's boring and they need some action. Meditation doesn't have to be boring. You will actually find that your mind is fascinating. When you give it a chance you sit and you create space for thoughts and impressions to come, it will be better than the Netflix movie. Meditation doesn't have to be boring. There are various techniques that you can learn that will serve you, your mind, and your body. You will definitely not be bored. 20. Meditation is Difficult: This question is related. Many people ask me if meditation is difficult and they do believe that meditation is difficult. There are various techniques, Out there are so many, books about different meditation techniques. The chance that you're going to find something that suits you very well is very high. There's meditation on the breath, there's even dynamic Meditation, there's a moving meditation, there's a meditation you can divide just drinking a cup of tea. You probably get an idea now that really doesn't have to be difficult, you just find a technique that resonates with you the most. That's it. 21. Meditation is Easy: Now the other way round, the other side of the coin, meditation is easy. Some people say meditation is too easy and that's why I will not meditate because it's [FOREIGN]. What is meditation? [LAUGHTER] Too easy. Many people just cannot imagine what I said and that's it, that's not for me. Meditation techniques. Anyone can choose a technique that serves him or her the best, but it doesn't always mean that meditation is the easiest thing to do. There will be days, or there will be times, where meditation is particularly difficult. The way I like to explain it is that, we all have our issues in our daily lives. We all have our problems. It might be just physical problems with the body, where the body is aching or we're even very, very ill, and it's just hard to sit and to focus on the body or what's happening in the mind. We have a lot of prejudices, we have a lot of judgments in our heads. Sometimes we have conflicts in real life, and in order to run away from all those issues, physical or mental, or the ones coming from the society, or our relationships, meditation can become difficult and uneasy because often we have to confront with what is bugging us. The opposite of meditation would be getting distractions. Some people get distracted by listening to the radio or putting Netflix or TV on; they're just running away from what is bugging them. That means that the meditation practice where you create space, and you want to have the single focus on your object of meditation. It also creates this opportunity to come back to the difficult stuff because you cannot hide anymore. It's right in front of your face. Thoughts come and go, and they can be hard. But it's important to accept that some meditation days are easy, and some of them are difficult to have this Zen approach that it is what it is, and I allow it to be. If I have a particularly difficult time meditating on that given day, I practice also loving kindness and self love, and I see how long I want to stay with this practice. It might be that after one minute, you'll be like, no, I need something else, cannot do this today or maybe instead I want to do some more physical practice. I want to go to the gym where I went into yoga. This is fine because we have freewill, and it's important not to stick with something that gives us pain or suffering or seems super difficult. It's important to adapt, and not to do it or to change if it doesn't serve us. But yeah, that results to the questions. Sometimes Meditation is difficult, it's not easy. 22. One Way to Meditate?: No, there isn't only one way to meditate. There are various techniques, just to name a few. There is meditation on the breath. There's like the so-called silent illumination and the Chan tradition. You can do grounding visualizations. You can do a body scan, which is also a form of meditation coming from the mindfulness practice. You can do a walking meditation. You can do meditation where you simply sit and you allow the cells to come and on practice letting them go. You can meditate on multiple objects. It's might be a candle, it might be your pet. It could be having a tea or having a mindful meal and that's already meditation. There is no one single way to meditate. 23. Meditation with Pets?: Yes, you can also meditate with your pets,with any animals. Some people have cats. Some people have dogs. It's a very, very friendly type of meditation. As you remember, meditation means we are single-focused on one object, then we can have different objects of meditation, and our pets are very adorable object to meditate on. It happens often that while you meditate in your designated place, your dog or your cat comes to you and they want to meditate with you. Sometimes, they lie down next to you, and that's just an invitation to be really wholeheartedly with your object of meditation, with your cat or with your dog. You can close your eyes or you can do it with your eyes open and you can study your pet. You can focus on the sensation of the fur. You can focus on the sounds. Cats like to purr. You can just put your hands on your pet and simply focus on the sensation of feeling the breath or even feeling the heart. This is already a very nice meditation for you. It's definitely a practice of mindfulness, being in the moment, focusing through your senses on the object of your meditation. 24. Is it Something Special?: Yes, there's this conviction that meditation is or is supposed to be something special or something unique. You will often hear that many people believe that meditation is a way to, and hear the buzzword enlightenment. You get enlightened when they meditate and it sounds really awesome and very magical. But I would say no, it doesn't have to be anything special. Just as drinking water is nothing special and it really does make you more healthy and fit and is magical in itself. Yeah, meditation, especially mindfulness meditation should be this ordinary, mundane, everyday thing that we do in our daily lives, ideally, all the time every day. It doesn't have to be anything special. 25. What About Religion?: Here is another question that is tightly connected with those myths around the meditation practice, is to question about religion. Do I have to be religious in order to practice meditation or the other way round. Does my religion prevents me or does not allow me to meditate? Yeah. It's a myth as well. It's absolutely not true. Meditation, especially mindfulness meditation is being in the moment with a single focus, and I don't see how religion could be against this practice. It doesn't need to be religious at all, it doesn't have to be connected. You can go ahead and meditate it safe. I would like to just mention that some people who are in these religions, they're Muslim or they're Christian, they like to pray. I think that prayer is meditation. You have the single focus with your god. You meditate on god's, a connection with god, and the prayer is a meditation. If you combine it with this sitting meditation practice of your choice, any other ticketing meditation on the breath, visualization. You can also combine it with prayer so it could be part of your religious practice at the same time. It's for example nice to have a ritual before you start you're seated meditation. Some people just like to join, palms in front of their heart's center. That already looks quite religious in itself, it's the [inaudible] mudra. As I was saying, it's good to have a ritual and it can be a prayer. When you prepare your body for a seated meditation, you might want to, for example, join your palms, and say your prayer in your own religion, and use your religion as a helping hand in the way in your meditation practice. But that's the only connection that I see between religion and meditation. 26. Do I Need to be Spiritual?: Now there's this question, do I have to be a spiritual person in order to practice meditation? The answer is similar to the question about the religion. What about religious people? Now you don't have to be spiritual to practice meditation. This shouldn't stop you. Maybe those people who claim that they're spiritual, maybe they talk more often that they actually do have a meditation practice or you associate it with yoga teachers or people who practice yoga, and it seems that by default they seem to be the spiritual people. But my goal actually, also making this class is to encourage exactly those people who are not yogis or who are not spiritual to start the meditation practice. There's been so much research, not even like a hocus pocus believe me, but real thorough research on the advantages of having a meditation practice that anyone can benefit from that, and whether you're a spiritual or religious person, really doesn't matter. 27. Does My Practice Have a Quality?: There is this common question about the quality of the meditation practice. My students often ask me, "How do I know that the quality of whatever I'm doing on that meditation cushion, how do I know that it's good?" We live in a society that values performance and maybe not judge us, but evaluates everything. On the scale from 0-10, how would you evaluate your meditation practice? Yeah, it's very hard. Just like in yoga, I cannot tell two students, this is an A plus student and you're just C because you cannot do this position, it doesn't work this way. Any attempt at meditating is a good one because what matters is your honest decision that you will commit to your practice and you will be trying to do your best. John's doing best might be here, and Erica's doing best might be there, but it cannot compare both because they have both done their best. So trying to evaluate the quality of your practice fits better or if it's worse, it's in my opinion, doesn't make sense and you got to stop doing that. Any half a minute that you spent in meditation, even if it's just drinking your cup of tea, tick, that's good. That already means your mind got to break. Your mind is like, "Yay", cheering and producing those new brain connections and having a complete wellness spa, even if it's just for one minute. This is already success. You cannot put a price tag or a quality tag on that. I hope after hearing to this mini-lecture on the quality of meditation, you will change your view about it and you will stop judging yourself or evaluating your meditation practice. 28. Is it a Lifestyle?: Now to the question whether meditation is a lifestyle, I can only give you my personal subjective answer because, for any other person could be a different answer. For me personally, indeed, to some extent, meditation or the fact that I do have a meditation practice has become part of my lifestyle because it's also judges or influences my free time. It influences the fact that I'm doing this tutorial and that I like talking about meditation. People see that meditation has become an important element in my life. From this reason that has become my lifestyle in a way because every element of a lifestyle, it needs to exist in another person's lives. Meditation does exist in my life. This lifestyle of being a meditator has had some, let's say, side-effects or I now I'm able to see the benefits of my meditation practice. I see that I'm much more patient, I'm much healthier. I found a way to deal with my emotions and my stress through my lifestyle of having a meditation practice. I hope this answers your question. 29. How is it Different from Relaxation?: This question is really interesting. Someone asked me the other day, how is meditation different from any other relaxation technique? Because indeed, meditation can be a form of relaxation. It can be a so-called relaxation technique. What is really the difference? There are so many other ways to relax. Meditation is very similar, it's still part of those strategies that you can use in order to relax the body and the mind. I would say one big difference is and it will sound quite spiritual and big but do not be discouraged by that, is that they often say that meditation is a transformation tool. What does it mean? You can still get relaxed, you can get a nice massage and get relaxed or you can have a day in the spa, or go to the swimming pool, or even to the gym but you stay the same person, you're just more relaxed. Whereas in meditation sometimes will change, as weird as it may sound. Sometimes by practicing some meditation techniques like allowing the thoughts that you usually have around in your life to look at them as the object of your meditation, you sometimes tackle some things, some issues through your meditation practice. Then you notice meditation helps you to solve certain things, certain situations, it can really transform your life. There are actually so many applications, one that I can think of, I'm also an artist, illustrator, I like to paint and I like to draw. Every time I have an art block, I sit in meditation and I have some notepads nearby. I do the meditation with allowing whatever thoughts are there to come, whatever impressions and sometimes I get this idea for what to draw or I even take it as the object of my meditation, you can do that with a sudden intention. You're like, I'm sitting in my meditation today, no particular technique but the topic is, my next illustration maybe for a client. Maybe there's even a theme involved, like I need to do some spiritual illustration for a client or the other day I had a commission to do Chakras charts illustration for a client. Then I take it as the object of my meditation and some ideas or some visualizations start to come, this is one example. So meditation can be very transformative, it can help you to find solutions to whatever problems or tasks you may have and it's also a transformation tool and not just a relaxation technique. With this respect that it can really change your personality because it can rewire your brain, you become a slightly different version of you. It doesn't mean that you become a better version of you, I don't want to imply that but in my case, it happened. I became a better version of myself. You will notice that even your personality changes slightly because it teaches you more patience. It teaches you to step back, it teaches you to let go. It teaches you to ground yourself faster, to forgive faster also depending on what type of meditation you practice. Maybe through the loving kindness meditation I became a more empathetic person. I can understand people better, show them more understanding and compassion and all those good feelings. Those are just really a few examples to tell you that, no meditation does not have to be just a simple relaxation technique. For some people it can be just a relaxation technique but on top of that, with the right techniques and also maybe with the right teachers or people to give you hint suggestions how to develop your meditation practice, then meditation can become also a tool for your transformation. 30. Closing Thoughts: Hey there fellow meditators. I hoped you enjoyed this class, and I hope that some of the questions that you might have had a both meditation, that I was able to provide some answers for you. If you would like to contribute to building up this class, you can always leave a question or a comment in the Conversation Community section of this class and I will be happy to follow up and to provide you with any further answers. If you would like to start a project in the project gallery, in the Skillshare class, then we would be very happy to listen about your own meditation practice if you would be willing to share. In that project, for example, you can introduce yourself. You can tell us where you are on your meditation journey, when did you start? What is your experience? How long have you been meditating? Feel free to create the project even if you think you have zero. Let us know what your plans are. Have you set up a goal for your meditation? Do you already have the equipment so to say that could be useful to your meditation practice. What do you hope for? What are your doubts and what obstacles are you afraid to encounter? For all of you, with the experience of meditating and without any experience of meditating, I would be very happy to read in your projects of what your experience and expectations are. We as a community, me as a teacher and the fellow students from this class, we will be able to have a discussion with you and either cheer you up in your meditation journey or help you out with any other questions that you might have.