Meditation is a powerful practice that has been used for thousands of years as a way to ease the mind and tune into a deeper sense of connection with the self. There are innumerable benefits to this ancient technique and these days meditation is receiving a lot of buzz for its many physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
From stress relief to longevity and overall immunity, meditation is a simple cure for many of the issues we face today in our culture.
But for those of us who are new to the practice, meditation can feel intimidating, especially for beginners. Thousands of thoughts and narratives play inside our minds each day. Tuning out the endless stream that goes on inside our heads can feel next to impossible. We like to tell ourselves that we’re too “busy” to meditate. We simply have too much to do. But meditation and mindfulness should be incorporated into our daily routine just like brushing our teeth. It’s an integral component of self-care.
Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.
The reality is that most of us are over stimulated. We’re engrossed in our smartphones and in our external environments. When we take the time to disconnect from the outside world, tune in to our breath and the present moment, we come back to who we truly are. In the words of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, “Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.”
With meditation, we’re consciously bringing ourselves into the present moment. With presence, we realize that we cannot predict the future and we cannot go back into the past. All that matters is the here and now. How to meditation: for beginners may initially seem intimidating, maybe a little scary.
But fear not, there is no wrong way to meditate.
It’s not just a practice, it’s a way of living and being.
Here are some tips on meditation for beginners to get you started.
1. Take a class.
Find a local studio and sign up for a class. This is the simplest way to grasp the techniques of how to meditation for beginners. Being in a class setting with a trained professional that guides you through a session allows you to be in a supportive and peaceful setting. Plus, you can always ask the teacher for advice if you find yourself confused or overwhelmed. There are many different kinds of meditation classes out there so give yourself the chance to explore and experiment. Find the class that resonates and dive in.
2. Download a meditation app.
Sure, part of the idea of mediation is stepping away from our devices and disconnecting from the outside world to reconnect with ourselves. However, certain apps like Headspace or Insight Timer can be a great tool when discovering how to meditation for beginners. These apps include guided meditations from well known spiritual teachers, meditation music, or a timer so you can track your progress. Some even have an online community where you can engage with other meditators like yourself and see how many people are sitting down to meditate with you. This is especially useful for beginners who wish to engage with a community for extra guidance. Meditation apps allow you to take a quick mindfulness break wherever you are: eight minutes on your morning commute or five minutes while you wait for a friend.
3. Find the meditation style that suits you.
There are various ways to meditate and perhaps not all forms of meditation will suit you. Experiment with the different forms to find the practice that allows you to find that deeper sense of connection to yourself and allows you to drop into the present moment. Each meditation journey is different and not one size fits all. Maybe seated meditation just isn’t your thing. Try a walking meditation instead where you can take a walk outside in nature, focus on your breath with each step, and fully take in your surroundings. Or let your next meal time be a meditative moment. Prepare each ingredient with full presence and concentration. Eat your meal in silence and free from any distractions. Chew slowly and mindfully as you meditate on the different senses being activated by your meal.
4. Start small.
For those of you who claim to be “too busy” to meditate, your excuse ends here. Start with five minutes first thing in the morning. Before you get out bed, check your phone and jump headfirst into your day, start with just five minutes of deep breathing, mindfulness, and presence. How to meditation does not have to take up hours of your day.
5. Set your space.
Now that you downloaded your meditation app and are ready to go, make sure that you set yourself up well. Find a peaceful space. Set the lighting. Get a cushion so you can sit comfortably with a straight spine. You can also meditate in a chair or lying down. Find the position that feels best for you with no discomfort. Maybe light some incense or a candle. Create a soothing sanctuary for yourself so that your mind is at ease when you close your eyes and tune into your breath.
6. Practice. Practice. Practice.
We can talk about mediation all day long, but nothing compares to the actual practice of doing it. Find regularity in your practice and show up, even if for only five minutes a day. A one-time meditation session is not going to be a quick fix or the cure-all. But commit to five or ten minutes for a few weeks straight, and you may start to feel more at peace in your day to day life and less reactive. The more consistent you are, the more heightened sense of self-awareness you will feel. When it comes to how to meditation (for beginners), consistency truly is key.
7. Go easy on yourself.
Most, if not all of us, will have moments during meditation when our mind will start to drift off in thought. Many come to meditation looking to completely turn off their thoughts and become easily frustrated when their “monkey mind” comes out to play or if they do not feel an immediate sense of bliss. Thoughts will come and go and this is nothing to be frustrated with. Notice when your mind starts to wander and gently bring yourself back to your breath and the present moment. Choose to not get involved with the myriad of thoughts and simply let them pass through you. Over time and with consistent practice, the mind chatter will soften.
A regular meditation practice can be transformative, maybe even life-changing. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself as you begin your meditation journey. Step away from the chaos of everyday life and give your mind the chance to recalibrate. In time you are sure to reap the countless benefits and get to know yourself on a deeper level.
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