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Learning how to meditate can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re a beginner wanting to improve your meditation skills, then this blog post is for you!
I’ll guide you through how to meditate step by step, offer a freebie to help you out, and share nine meditation tips geared towards beginners.
Meditation is an ancient mental discipline that teaches us to take responsibility for our state of mind. It is a means of transforming the mind!*
Meditation is about learning to let go of needless suffering by releasing attachment to thoughts. It is the act of living in the here and now, and letting everything about the here and now be exactly as it is.
Meditation is easy enough to understand, but can be tricky to practice as a beginner. Below is a simple step by step beginner meditation practice you can do anywhere, any time of day, at any age.
Physically Prepare Yourself
Find a safe, comfortable place. Scan for tension from head to toe, allowing muscles to relax. Keep your back straight, not stiff. Rest your arms in your lap, loosen your hands. Soften your facial muscles. Unclench your teeth. Gently close your eyes.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Leave behind what’s already happened today, put aside thoughts of what will happen later. Do not give any attention to thoughts or emotions that arise. Release judgments and opinions. Set an intention for your practice.
Follow Your Breath
Fully exhale all the air in your lungs; empty them entirely. Slowly breathe in fresh, clean air through your nose, until your lungs are completely full. At the top of the breath, pause for just a moment. Then slowly exhale all the air again through your nose.
Check In and Repeat
Practice deep breathing, ideally for 20 minutes. If you catch yourself lost in thought, simply redirect your attention back to your breath. You will likely need to do this several times during your practice. Now is a time for relaxation, not deep thinking.
Close with Gratitude
Take one last deep breath and smile. Thank yourself for taking this time to meditate. Gradually bring awareness back into your body. Resist the temptation to label your session as “good,” or “bad.” Be proud of yourself for making the effort.
Practice Again Tomorrow
Go about your activities with a renewed sense of peace and happiness. Become aware of the impact of your thoughts and judgments. Commit to showing up for your meditation practice again tomorrow. And the next day.
How to Meditate Properly
When I first began to meditate in my early twenties, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to be doing. Or, not doing? Even though I had read more than a few books and blogs on how to meditate, I wasn’t convinced I was actually doing the meditation thing “correctly.”
I would sit down, focus on my breathing, and then….that was it. I wasn’t sure if I was missing something, or if I misunderstood what I was “supposed” to be doing during meditation.
It all seemed very mysterious! But in the best kind of way. I proceeded practicing despite being completely clueless.
Several years of practicing meditation regularly have passed, and I’ve gained a MUCH better understanding of what it really means to meditate. And now I want to help other beginners who want to learn how to meditate, but are feeling stuck like I was.
So if you’re wondering how to meditate properly, I would suggest simply following the the steps for a beginner meditation practice outlined in this post as best you can. If you do, you’ll be meditating “properly.”
At first I felt like I was just pretending to meditate. Can you relate? When I look back I can see how I actually was meditating, I was just second-guessing myself and over-complicating it.
And recently, I’ve realized that almost everyone over-complicates meditation at first. It seems to be the most common roadblock to mindfulness. We’re all very concerned with “meditating properly,” so we end up counter-acting the teachings of meditation by constantly evaluating our performance and progress.
But what I’ve learned by meditating “improperly” is that doing it correctly isn’t really the point. And there isn’t only one way to meditate. Everyone’s take on the practice will be personal and different.
What matters more is how the practice betters our lives and ourselves. Over time, you will develop your own unique style of meditation—and that’s part of what makes it so enjoyable.
9 Meditation Tips
I really want to encourage you to not give up on your meditation journey! There is no limit to the wonderful things meditation can do for you.
And if you’re reading this, I assume you are dedicated to your own personal growth, and you’re looking for some helpful hints. Below are nine simple meditation tips for when you’re just learning how to meditate:
1. Consistency is Key
Decide on a specific time of day and space you will practice meditation. Forming a new habit is so much easier if you create a schedule and stick to it.
Give yourself a decent amount of time of consistent practice to reap the benefits. Experiment with what time of day works best for you. Pick a comfortable space at home you can always return to at that time. Set yourself up for success.
2. Don’t Have a Goal or Expectation
Instead of having a “goal” to reach in meditation, have a reason why you started. And remember that reason whenever you’re tempted to abandon your meditation practice.
Related Article — What is the Goal of Meditation?
Allow whatever will happen to naturally unfold. Be open minded about the experience! Let feelings and experiences come and go. Take note of what comes up. With a relaxed mind, transformation occurs.
3. Pick Something to Focus On
When you’re first starting to learn how to meditate, it can seem boring or even impossible. It’s very helpful to have something to focus your attention on during meditation to help keep boredom and anxiety at bay.
You can recite affirmations aloud or to yourself, you can visualize yourself surrounded by white Divine light, you can pay really close attention to your inhales and exhales, or you can try simple meditation music or binaural beats.
4. Go Easy On Yourself
Meditation may be referred to as a “discipline,” but there is no room for harsh judgment in the practice. Nothing good will ever come of you being overly critical of yourself. If you are giving your best effort, you deserve some grace.
If you miss a day (or a few) days of practice, lovingly forgive yourself and simply begin practicing again. When you catch yourself lost in thought during your practice, lovingly forgive yourself and simply return to your breath. There’s no need to belittle yourself for slipping up. We all do it!
5. Pay Attention, but Let it Be
The trickiest part of meditation is learning how this whole “not engaging in your own thoughts” business actually works. It’s a concept that is VERY difficult to explain with the limitations of language. The best way to figure it out is to just dive in and start!
While meditating, thoughts and emotions will pop into your head, seemingly out of “nowhere.” When they do (and they always will), recognize what the thought or emotion entails. But don’t give it any control or authority. Simply realize what the thought is, and let it rest.
6. Journal Afterwards About The Experience
Sometimes people are shocked by what comes up when they are learning how to meditate. They may not have realized they were still holding onto anger, or always feeling put down, or anything else from deep within. A quiet mind makes way for our emotions to surface, even the deeply repressed ones.
Meditation is the gateway to personal growth, and journaling can be the key that opens it up.
Journaling as soon as you can after meditation makes it SO much easier to work through these feelings. Handwriting your thoughts and feelings gives you a unique opportunity to really understand where they are coming from and how to digest them.
Related Article — Spiritual Bullet Journal Ideas
7. Relaxation is the Result, Not the Act
There’s a common meditation myth that says meditation is the act of relaxing the mind and body. Actually, that isn’t quite true. Although I totally understand where the confusion would come in.
Related Article — 5 Meditation Myths Debunked
Meditation is the act of becoming more self aware mentally and physically. We notice the tense sensations we are feeling in our bodies, and we let it go with love. Hopefully resulting in physical relaxation.
We do the same thing with the thoughts in our head, which also results in relaxation. Relaxation is the result of meditation, but not necessarily the act of meditation.
8. Practice a Variety of Techniques
There are so many different ways to meditate, and yet they all include simply being present in the here and now. Because “here and now” could look like anything! And we can be fully there to experience it when we aren’t stuck in our own heads.
Here are a few different avenues you can take to add more variety to your practice: attending live classes, listening to recorded guided meditations, practicing at home with trial and error, walking/movement meditation, pranayama, reiki or other types of energy work, reciting affirmations, and shower/bath meditation. Get creative!
Related Article — 5 Crystals For Meditation
9. It’s Never Too Late to Meditate
Meditation happens right here, right now. And again right here, right now. In every single moment you have the choice to be fully present within it and nowhere else. Regardless of how old you are or what your life situation is, it is NEVER too late to learn to be mindful.
It’s also never too EARLY to learn to meditate. If you’re a young teenager, young adult, or have young children of your own, they too can learn to meditate. The earlier you start meditating, the more benefits you’ll feel. But at any point in life you can develop the skill and reap the benefits.
Thank you so much for reading “How to Meditate!” I hope you’ll be able to use this information to improve your meditation skills. Namaste!