Are You Supposed To Think While Meditating? How To Find Focus

February 22, 2024
Are You Supposed To Think While Meditating How To Find Focus


Are You Supposed To Think While Meditating? What To Focus on for the Best Meditative State

To think, or not to think, that is the question.

Well, when we’re talking about meditating it is a common question. Meditation is a mindful practice, but practicing mindfulness doesn’t always involve the mind’s direct participation.

Can you still get the full benefits of meditation even if you’re actively thinking? How do you get your mind to stop racing when meditating? What should you focus on instead?

In this article, we will answer all of these questions and more. We will also discuss what it means to meditate, how the brain responds to meditation, and offer a few techniques to help you quiet your mind and find inner peace.

Table of Contents

Is It Normal To Think While Meditating?
Do You Have To Stop Thinking To Meditate?
How Focusing on Your Breath Can Help Still Your Mind During Meditation
4 Other Techniques To Help You Feel Rather Than Think While Meditating
Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Offers Powerful Guided Meditation Techniques To Help You Connect to Yourself

Is It Normal To Think While Meditating?

Whether you are a novice or amateur meditator, it is normal for thoughts to wander into your mind every once in a while. When you are traveling the path of self-awakening, it’s only natural that you are curious. And sometimes that curiosity may interrupt your meditations.

The goal of meditation is to feel. It’s a chance for your mind to communicate with your body. Thinking while meditating can subtract from this body-to-self conversation.

Do You Have To Stop Thinking To Meditate?

The essence of meditation is feeling, not thinking.

Introspection is a great way to practice mindfulness through communication of thought. In contrast, meditation is the best way to practice mindfulness through the communication of feelings.

It can be difficult to quiet our thoughts. We are thinking beings and our thoughts narrate most of our existence. Meditation allows us to break away from that, to experience ourselves through our bodies.

You can’t think your way through feeling.

Meditation is letting go of attachments, whether mental or physical. It’s about letting go so that you can just be. Stop all of the noise and stimuli that come from your surroundings and your thoughts to let yourself feel.

This is why we close our eyes when we meditate. We are filtering out our surroundings. When you meditate, you cease thought to filter out the parts of you that are influenced by other things (daily life, errant thoughts, stress, etc.) This filtering is needed to look inward

How Focusing on Your Breath Can Help Still Your Mind During Meditation

Breathing is central to our life. In meditation, it is the gateway to bridging our mind and body.

Our rate of breathing can influence our emotions and physiology.

Excessive rapid breathing creates low levels of carbon dioxide in our blood which can also raise blood pressure and heart rate. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, or panic.

Slowed, relaxed breathing supplies your blood with higher levels of oxygen, which can:

• Slow your heart rate
• Lower your blood pressure
• Induce calmness

Studies have shown that paced breathing may help focus attention and regulate the nervous system. Paced breathing affects the neural networks tied to emotion, attention, and awareness. This means that by using meditation and breathing techniques, we can access a powerful tool that can help us improve our:

Sleep quality
Vascular health
• Emotional responses to stress
• Self-awareness

By focusing on the slow centrifugal (moving out) and centripetal (moving in) motions of your breathing, you can enter a state that promotes relaxation, feeling, and inner peace.

Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi offers individuals a chance to promote their physical, mental, and spiritual wellness with the power of holistic fitness. Practice a blend of yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and breathwork through online or in-studio classes.

Join our community of like-minded individuals who are seeking true inner peace and wholeness. Learn more about yourself through a journey of self-awakening. Find the essence of who you really are. Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi instructors invite you to explore all of this and more.

What Happens in Your Brain When You Slow Your Breaths for Meditation?

Meditation is all about changing the channel of your mind. Like radios and radio frequencies, our brain tunes into a frequency of its own based on what we are doing, feeling, and thinking.

Our brains communicate with ourselves and our surroundings using electromagnetic frequencies, often referred to as brain waves.

In active thought, the rhythm of our brain oscillates between 12.5 and 30 Hz, which is a beta rhythm (beta waves). When we are in a relaxed state, our brain waves oscillate between 8 to 12 Hz which is referred to as alpha rhythm (alpha waves).

The long-term benefits of alpha brain waves may include:

• Enhanced creativity
• Reduced feelings of depression and anxiety
• Reduced perception of pain in chronic sufferers

5 Breathing Techniques That Should Help You Focus While Meditating

Breathwork techniques help trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your brain that is responsible for resetting, resting, and relaxing.

You might even find it difficult to just focus on your breathing. For beginners, it might feel weird to try to control something that is usually automated like breathing. Fortunately, there are some exercises that combine breathing and visualization to help slow down your breathing and limit your thoughts while meditating.

With practice, you will eventually be able to meditate with controlled breathing and a calm mind, naturally, without having to think about it.

#1: Triangle Breathing

Triangle breathing, also called 3-3-3 breathing, is easy to learn and is used in meditation to help control and evenly distribute our breathing.

How to practice triangle breathing:

1. Breathe in for three seconds.
2. Hold that breath for three seconds.
3. Breathe out for three seconds.
4. Repeat.

This technique can be consciously repeated in a pattern for the entire duration of your meditation or until you can instinctively breathe and feel without having to count.

#2: Square Breathing

Also referred to as box breathing, square breathing is similar to triangle breathing. It incorporates another shape that can be found in nature along with counted breathing.

How to practice square breathing:

1. Sit somewhere that supports good posture.
2. Exhale all of your breath.
3. Gently inhale through your nose to the count of four.
4. Hold your breath to the count of four.
5. Gently exhale out to the count of four.
6. Hold your breath for four seconds.
7. Repeat.

Square breathing can help you practice focus and control. Eventually, you may find yourself employing this breathing technique without any thought or counting.

#3: Five-Finger Breathing

This breathing technique employs the use of multisensory actions to promote peacefulness and deep relaxation. Five-finger breathing can help those who find it difficult to focus on their breathing while meditating.

How to practice your breathing with the five-finger breathing technique:

1. Ready your hands: This technique requires the use of two hands. One hand will be the base and will not move. The other hand will be used to trace your fingers. Begin by holding your base hand out in front of you with your fingers spread.
2. Start tracing your thumb:Take the index finger of your tracing hand and place it at the bottom of the thumb on your base hand. Breathe in while tracing your thumb with your index finger starting from where your thumb meets your wrist and ending at the tip of your thumb. Breathe out as you begin to trace from the tip of your thumb toward where your thumb and index finger connect.
3. Keep going and focusing your breath:Keep this pattern up until you reach the other side of your hand where your arm meets your wrist. Repeat the pattern by breathing in as you trace up to the tip of your pinky.

This method is great for those who do not have a lot of practice with being still while meditating. It makes use of sensation to evoke and invite feelings of relaxation.

#4: 4-7-8 Breathing

This technique involves breathing in a numbered pattern to calm the senses and relax the body. It should be practiced in a setting where you are fully able to relax. You can practice 4-7-8 breathing sitting up, but it is most relaxing when you practice this technique while lying down.

How to practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

1. First, part your lips. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth.
2. Close your lips, inhaling through your nose as you count to four.
3. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
4. Exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

These steps should all be carried out in the cycle of one breath. When you inhale again, you restart the cycle. It might make you a little dizzy at first, but with practice, this technique will feel natural and soothing.

#5: Snake Breathing

Snake breathing is a breathing technique that is extremely simple, yet effective. All you have to do is take the deepest breath you can muster, pause, and then breathe out while making a hissing sound before starting over again.

It will help you be able to relax deeper into yourself with each new cycle.

4 Other Techniques To Help You Feel Rather Than Think While Meditating

#1: Setting the Scene

The brilliant thing about practicing mindfulness through meditation is that once you have it down, you can meditate practically anywhere. But until you can harness the ability to quiet your thoughts, it might be most beneficial for you to set the scene for your meditative intentions.

Pick a space that is quiet, comfortable, and perhaps private. You’ll want to choose a space that you associate with peacefulness.

Choosing a quiet corner in your home to dedicate your meditation is ideal. It can be your special place to practice mindfulness and remove yourself from the stress of everyday life. You can also meditate in other peaceful places like a garden, park, or near running water.

The goal is to create a mental and physical space that helps you turn off internal and external distractions and noise that can come from everyday existence and thought. By designating a space that aligns with your meditative intentions, you can help yourself enter a state that supports feeling, not thinking.

Some people find that meditation is best supported by peers and instructor guides.

At a Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi location near you, our expert instructors can help you develop your inner peace and mindful connection with meditation. To get started, make an appointment for an introductory 50-minute private session, and one of our trained instructors be happy to:

• Check your current energy (Qi)
• Help you practice breathing techniques
• Provide one-on-one meditative guidance

#2: Focusing on Your Body

Focus directly on your body and the physical sensations you are feeling. Delineating what each part of your body feels like starting from the top and moving down.

From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, turn your focus on each part of the body. Try relaxing each part of your body as you move along.

#3: Focusing on a Feeling

Use your intentions for meditating and choose a feeling based on your intention.

Positive feelingsyou can focus on during meditation include:

• Gratitude
• Compassion
• Forgiveness
• Healing
• Joy

Take that positive feeling and focus on how it makes you feel. Imagine this feeling as energy that is moving through your body as you inhale and exhale.

Another way to focus on a feeling is to use your physical senses. At Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers we teach an easy-to-learn meditation technique called jigam to help quiet thinking and emotions. It’s as simple as rubbing your palms together, closing your eyes, and focusing on the sensation of tingling energy in the space between your palms. while an instructor guides you through the meditation.

To try out the jigam meditation method, find a Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi location near you and give them a call. Let them know you are especially interested in trying jigam meditation when you book a private introductory session.

#4: Using a Mantra

Mantras are words or sounds that you can repeat to ground yourself while meditating. They may include positive affirmations that are meant to calm worries and help you focus.

Mantras might feel like cheating because sometimes words may be considered as thoughts. However, have you ever repeated a word so many times it no longer sounds like a word? This is similar to how mantras can help you focus on feeling while meditating instead of thinking.

At Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi centers, affirmations that support mind-body connectedness are often used as mantras during meditation, like these:

• My body is not me, it’s mine.
• (To yourself) I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
• I trust my healing.
• I love myself.

In East Asian tradition, sounds may be used as mantras rather than words to enhance focus on particular organs or on the chakra energy centers during meditation. Are you curious about your chakras? Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi can help you learn how to balance your chakras to help promote inner peace and wellness. Learn more here.

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Offers Powerful Guided Meditation Techniques To Help You Connect to Yourself

So now that we’ve explored whether you are supposed to think while meditating or not, the benefits of breathing techniques while meditating, and some helpful tips to better practice meditation — we’d like to offer you the opportunity to practice and learn mindfulness with us.

As Body & Brain Yoga and Tai Chi instructors we help individuals practice exercising, feeling, and meditating to enhance their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Our classes employ elements from Eastern practices to help individuals explore their inner selves. Whether you are looking to practice yoga, Tai Chi, breathwork, or meditation, we provide 50-minute introductory classes where you can learn one-on-one from our experts.

Schedule your first class today.