Meditation for a beginner is daunting and confusing. How on earth do you get started and what do you do? Well this step-by-step guide is as simple as they come. Follow this guide and soon you’ll be teaching the Dalai Lama how to meditate like a pro (ok maybe I’m getting a little excited…).
1. Your Special Place
Choose a place where you will enjoy meditating. It could be a quiet room in your house, or it may be outside in nature. Whatever you decide on, make sure that this place is peaceful and somewhere that you can return every time you wish to meditate.
How it helps: Overtime, your subconscious will associate your special place with meditation and the vibration in the space will be spiritually heightened.
2. No Distractions
Pick a time in which you can fully dedicate yourself to your meditation. Turn the phone off, make sure the children aren’t home and clear your busy schedule.
How it helps: Don’t give your mind any extra reasons to put thoughts in your head whilst trying to meditate. You want to be able to fully let go of all worries and be at peace during your meditation.
3. Meditation Position
You can lie down to meditate but, especially if you are a beginner, you might fall asleep! So best to meditate whilst sitting down, in any of the positions shown in the image on the right. The most important thing is to:-
- Keep your spine straight (no slouching!)
- Pull your chin slightly back (like a soldier)
- Be comfortable
How it helps: A straight back aligns and centres you. It allows your life force energy to flow freely through you and it allows you to receive the energy of the expansive Universe.
4. Create Your Ritual
Follow a routine that marks the beginning of your meditation. For example you could light incense, put on relaxing meditation music, light a candle or gong your singing bowl.
How it helps: A ritual helps to tell your subconscious that it is time to quieten the mind, and it honours your spiritual practice.
5. Relax Your Body
I believe that not doing this is the reason that so many beginners struggle with meditation. So please do follow this step.
- Inhale sharply through your nose
- Hold the breath and tense the body as hard as you can for 5 seconds
- Release the breath and the tension
- Repeat a few times
How it helps: When we relax the body, we are able to be more present in the mind. By throwing tension out from the body, we also throw tension out of the mind.
6. Keep Your Body Still
The body will try and stop you from calming your mind, so you might feel itchy sensations and feel the need to move. That is very normal. Try and allow the sensations to pass on their own; eventually they will.
How it helps: A cup of dirty water will become clear if we allow it to still for long enough. The same is true of our minds.
7. Follow Your Breath
There are many different meditation techniques that you can use, including listening to Guided Meditations, but I like to keep meditation simple by adopting a ‘follow your breath’ practice.
- Breathe through your nose. If you like you can inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Whatever feels more peaceful for you.
- Imagine yourself as an ‘observer’ – observe the breath as it flows into your body and observe it as it flows out.
- Don’t try and change your breath. Just allow it to be as it is.
- As you observe the rotation of breath – in and out of your body – notice how you feel slightly independent of you, your thoughts and your body. As a great meditation teacher once told me now your are ‘finding the space between your breath’.
- If you get distracted, don’t worry. Thoughts will arise in your mind. When you notice them, just return to observing your breath.
- Watch my video below if you need a little help.
How it helps: Following your breath is meditation at its most simple. Once you get have practiced this a few times, you will have a solid foundation for meditation and will be able to build on it from there.
8. Don’t Worry
Meditation is a practice and it gets easier the more you do it. At the beginning though, your mind is loud with thoughts and you can sometimes sit for 30+ minutes before managing to quiet the mind. Don’t worry! Eventually that time will become 20 minutes, 10 minutes and then 5 minutes….
How it helps: The more you worry, the more you hinder your practice. Worry is just another thought after all! Allow it to pass and return to observing the breath.
9. Finish in Gratitude
End your meditation with a moment of ‘thanks’, for any time during your practice that flowed.
Allow yourself to absorb all the peace, sense of centredness and more of the incredible benefits of meditation.
How it helps: Noticing a reason to give thanks keeps us returning for more.
10. Enjoy Your Practice
The more you enjoy your meditation practice, the more you will meditate. The more you meditate, the easier it becomes and the more enjoyable it becomes. Notice the loop here?
How it helps: Meditation is a gift to yourself. Noone else – just to you. It is time for you and is not about ‘getting it right’ for anyone else. So no matter how much of a ‘success’ your practice is, just let go and really enjoy it!
Can you add any tips or advice for those new to meditation?
Check out these useful articles to support you on your path to becoming a meditation pro!