The best environment for the practice of meditation is a quiet place with minimum distractions. It sometimes helps to set up a meditating room with special pictures, icons, holy books or even burning incense sticks and soothing music in order to infuse the atmosphere with spiritual energy. It is best to sit in a well ventilated room, which receives natural light.
The best attitude to follow while practicing meditation is that of a receptive observer. Try to observe either the mind or the immediate physical environment, without thinking anything in particular. Watch the mind slowly empty itself out.
Assuming a certain posture has been central to many meditation techniques. Classic postures, integral to Hatha Yoga, are given in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which codify ancient yogic healing practices. Other postures appear in the Kum Nye holistic healing system of Tibet, in Islamic prayer, and in Gurdjieff movements. Posture is considered very important in Zen Buddhist practice as well.
A major characteristic of prescribed meditation postures in many traditions is that the spine is kept straight. This is true in Hindu and Buddhist yogas, in the Christian attitude of kneeling prayer, in the Egyptian sitting position, and in the Taoist standing meditation of "embracing the pillar." People with misalignments may feel uncomfortable in the beginning when assuming these postures. The spine is put back into a structurally sound line, and the weight of the body distributed around it in a balanced pattern in which gravity, not muscular tension, is the primary influence. It is possible, although it has not been conclusively proven that this postural realignment affects the state of mind.
In the East, the cross-legged postures, with head and back in vertical line, are considered ideal for meditation. In the classic the Lotus posture, when the legs are crossed with the feet on the thighs, right feeling of poised sitting for meditation is imparted. These postures are difficult and even painful at first for those who are not familiar with them. For such inexperienced individuals, two other traditional Eastern postures—half lotus posture and the Burmese posture—are usually much easier to follow. For those who prefer to meditate while sitting on a chair, there is the Egyptian posture.
ELEMENTS OF CONCENTRATION
In Hindu meditative techniques, the object the attention dwells on is often a mantra, usually a Sanskrit word or syllable. Usually the meditator repeats an affirmation to increase positive spiritual energies. Alternately prayers or are often said for calming the mind. Various short rituals are also prescribed before meditation, such as making offerings of fragrant oils (for earth elements), holy water (element of water), lamps (fire), incense (air) and flowers or garlands (ether). These rituals help in cleansing the psychic energy and preparing the mind for meditation.
In Buddhism, the focus of attention is often the meditator`s own breathing, a luminous sphere or a translucent Buddha Statue. Some traditional Buddhist meditations follow forty concentration devices or meditation subjects for tranquilizing the mind as prescribed by the Buddha These are the ten recollections (anussati), ten meditations on impurities (asubha) , ten complete objects (kasina), four immaterial absorption (arupajhana), four divine abiding (brahmavihara), one perception (ahare patikulasanna) or contemplation of the impurity of material food, and one defining contemplation (vavatthana) on the Four Elements (earth, water, fire, and air).
Whether one performs mantra meditation or Buddhist breath meditations, they both fulfill all the elements required for meditating for relaxation.
It is always recommended that meditation be practiced daily, twice a day for best results. Beginners are recommended to meditate for about half an hour daily. Later when one gets used to the practice, one hour is ideal.
Hindu methods of meditation prescribes about a quarter of an hour for performing pranayama, the same for mantras and the same for silent or devotional meditation. What is emphasized is the regularity of practice at all costs.