Have you been wanting to meditate but don’t know where to start?
If you’re new to meditation, then you’ve probably found it challenging to know just where to begin. In this article, we lay down some basic instructions on how to meditate for beginners. We also address some common concerns beginners may have. This guide will focus on mindfulness meditation, which means, well, becoming mindful. You’ll become aware of your breathing and aware of your body as well as more aware of the present moment.
Some tips on how to meditate for beginners
Here’s some advice from the conscious life:
- Choose a conducive environment. Find a nice, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for fifteen minutes or longer. Sit down, relax and rest your hands on your lap. You can sit on the floor cross-legged with the support of a meditation cushion. Or you can sit on any type of chair with your feet resting on the ground. It’s not necessary to force yourself into a lotus position if you’re not used to it.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. Close your eyes softly. Begin by taking a few slow and deep breaths — inhaling with your nose and exhaling from your mouth.
- Be aware. When you are breathing deeply, you’ll begin to feel calmer and more relaxed. That’s a good sign. Now, focus your attention on your breathing. Be aware of each breath that you take in through your nose. Be mindful of each breath that you exhale with your mouth.
- If you find your attention straying away from your breaths, just gently bring it back. It may happen many times. Don’t be disheartened. What’s important is to realize that you’ve wandered and bring your attention back to where it should be.
- Ending the session. When you are ready to end the session, open your eyes and stand up slowly.
And here are some more tips on how to meditate for beginners, adapted from The Seekers Guide by Elizabeth Lesser from Oprah.com:
Set aside a certain amount of time when you can be alone and undisturbed. Five to 10 minutes is a good amount of time for those who are just beginning meditation practice. Eventually you may settle on 20 or 30 minutes. Sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Feel a sense of balance and alertness in your posture. Rest your hands on your thighs or knees, and close your eyes.
Now, bring your attention to your breath. Take a deep inhalation and release it with a sigh. Relax your shoulders, your jaw, and your belly. Release anything you are holding on to. Give yourself permission to take these few minutes for yourself.
Staying alert yet relaxed, bring your attention to your breathing. Observe your natural inhalations and exhalations. Witness each in-breath as it enters your body and fills it with energy. Witness each out-breath as it leaves your body and dissipates into space. Then start again, bringing your alertness to each breath.
In less than one minute your mind will probably be flooded with thoughts. You may become aware of pain in your body. Perhaps you will feel restless, anxious, or bored. You will begin to tell yourself stories about your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Congratulations! You are meditating.
The purpose of meditation is to become aware of your thoughts without judging or fighting them. Your goal is not to get rid of your thoughts, but rather to witness each thought as it comes and goes, like clouds passing in the sky. In this way, you begin to identify less with your thoughts—the “voice in your head”—and more with the still and alert Presence that is your essence.
According to the conscious life, you should meditate once a day, more if you wish. Meditation should become a life-long habit and you will learn to look forward to it everyday. Aim for 15 minute sessions or more each time. If you find it hard to concentrate or sit still during meditation, read these tips on how to quiet your mind during meditation.