Meditation for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know
Meditation is the practice of relaxing your mind and body by focusing on the only present moment.
Meditation has numerous benefits and people meditate for various reasons and to get different results. Meditation improves your mental health. It reduces stress and anxiety. It brings calmness and clarity to your mind. It can help you manage anger and impulsiveness, overcome grief, resentment and depression, and learn compassion, acceptance and forgiveness.
Meditation is also known to improve your physical well-being. It reduces chronic pain and increases strength. It helps you improve your concentration, memory, and confidence. It promotes personal development as well as helps you better your relationships with others.
Meditation Techniques for Beginners
First-time Meditators often find it strange or difficult to sit in silence, with their thoughts and feelings, doing nothing. It takes time to train the mind from wandering so try some of these meditation techniques to see what works for you:
This is a great way to dip your toes into the ocean of meditation. You can relieve tight shoulders or a tense neck, and thereby reduce pent up stress.
This is a form of basic mindfulness meditation, where you can focus your attention on something external instead of your breath. It can initially be difficult to concentrate on your own breath. Try focusing on a candle flame or counting bead instead.
This technique encourages you to focus on your body movement as an object of awareness. For example, in walking meditation, you put your attention on and are fully present for each footstep.
This is a type of transcendental meditation that involves repeating a specific mantra or phrase. The mantra acts as an object of awareness. You can start by repeating the common mantra “Om” till you feel the vibrations taking you to a deeper level of awareness.
This technique invokes feelings of compassion towards yourself and others. You can direct positive phrases and positive intentions to yourself, loved ones, and even complete strangers.
Start with a guided meditation, in person or virtually online. By starting with a timed session with an experienced teacher, you will be able to understand how to meditate and how to get the most out of your meditation.
How to Meditate Mindfully: A Step-by-Step Guide
As you have seen above, you can meditate in different forms, anywhere and at any time.
This makes meditation both simpler and harder than you think. So we’ve created a simple step-by-step guide for meditation for beginners:
1) Find a spot - Pick a place that feels quiet and calm to you and sit comfortably.
2) Set a timer- So that you do not need to worry about how much time has passed. It’s helpful for beginners to choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes.
3) Pay attention to your body - Sit in a chair with your feet placed on the floor or sit cross-legged on the floor - just make sure you are comfortable enough to stay in that position for a while. Close your eyes or lower your gaze and begin your practice.
4) Feel your breath - Notice the sensation of your breath as you inhale and exhale, with each breath.
5) Observe when your mind has wandered - Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander. Simply notice that your mind has wandered, then slowly and gradually return your attention to your breath.
6) Be kind to your wandering mind - Do not judge your mind for wandering nor focus on the contents of the thoughts. Simply try to return awareness to your breath.
7) Close with kindness - End your practice by taking a moment to notice any sounds around you. Notice how your body feels. Notice your thoughts and feelings. When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze and/or slowly open your eyes.
8) Smile when you’re done - Be grateful for this time you had to yourself, that you committed to getting to know yourself a little more today.
Meditation Tips for Beginners
1. Prepare before you start. Whether you want to meditate in the morning or in the evening, give yourself a few minutes to prepare.
Switch to Airplane Mode - There's no better way to ruin a meditation than by leaving your phone on and getting a call or text in the middle. So turn off your phone or put it on airplane mode a few minutes before your session.
Wear Comfortable Clothing - While there isn’t any dress code, wearing a loose and comfortable outfit will let you breathe freely and sit more easily. Consider removing, or atleast loosening up, your shoes.
2. Practice it first thing each morning. It’s easy to forget to do it so set a reminder for every morning when you get up and do it before your day gets buzzing and busy.
3. Don’t overthink how to do it. Don’t worry that you’re doing it wrong. People often get caught up in where to sit, how to sit, how long to sit for, etc. Simply find a quiet spot, get comfortable and start.
4. Ask yourself how you’re feeling today. Be open, without judgment, to whatever you bring to the meditation.
5. Find a friend or community. Meditating with or even making a commitment with a friend to check in every day after your meditation, can help you stick with it longer. Joining a community of people who meditate can encourage you and others and allow you to ask questions and learn more.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make while Meditating
Always meditating alone
Choosing the wrong time of day
Expecting quick results or giving up too soon
Holding onto your thoughts or actively working to stop your thoughts
To avoid making these common meditation mistakes and to get the most out of your meditation, join our classes and meditate with our certified meditation instructors.