Are you planning to start meditating so you can improve your physical and mental well-being? Are you a beginner, and you are wondering where to start? Do you feel stuck because you don’t know how meditation works or the results to expect from practicing meditation?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then we’ve got you covered. It is usual for your mind to wander, mainly if you are a beginner. This article will help you gain insights into everything you need to know about beginner’s meditation and take charge of your mind.
A proper Meditation technique involves silencing our mind. It is not an intellectual activity. Think of it as a tool to relax your whole self, and also for better health. It also can be a valuable tool to discover one’s self. The core of meditation is to focus and eventually quiet your mind. As you get better at it, you will find that you can meditate anywhere, anytime. However, for beginners, doing it is not as easy as saying it.
Before you Start - The Basics of Meditation
You’ve probably seen people sit on the floor in silence with their legs crossed and their heads facing down or up. Some people also tend to lie down when meditating. If you’re a beginner, a meditation habit like sitting in silence may seem complicated, but that makes meditation rewarding.
The practice of meditation can be traced back to 3000 years ago, but most people still feel meditation is hard. In other words, meditation abilities are not well developed in most people by the time they begin meditation practice.
Many people still struggle to cultivate a daily meditation practice that sticks. That said, it is normal for you to work with the concept of quieting your mind. Getting yourself to begin meditation as a beginner can be stressful in and of itself, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Meditation is an excellent practice for anxiety and stress reduction. Meditation can help you feel inspired and less burdened with what is going on in your life. You can also use mindful meditation to change unwanted habits like alcohol consumption, smoking, or even nail-biting.
Perhaps you want to meditate so you can get rid of unwanted thoughts and habits. Maybe you want to meditate so you can experience physical or emotional healing, raise your self-awareness, or boost your focus and creativity. Whatever it is we have covered all aspects of meditation for beginners in this article.
“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Training your mind to meditate is essential because you can quiet the noise inside your head. Meditation makes you more conscious of what is happening around you. It allows you to tame your mind and stop firing back at every little demand your mind creates.
Consequently, a new mindful awareness will begin to permeate every aspect of your life. Meditation also acts in motivation. No matter why you want to incorporate meditation in your life, you can only reap the benefits if you get yourself to meditate.
Your reactive and untamed mind is likely to wander, but deciding to start meditating is the first step towards calming it. You shouldn’t feel ashamed that you are struggling to start meditating. Just start small.
Learning to meditate is simple and straightforward. Let us delve deeper into some of the critical things you need to know about beginners’ meditation practice. Please keep reading.
How Meditation Works
During your initial session of meditation for beginners, your mind is likely to wander, get anxious, and distracted as you close your eyes. Whether you’re using sound recordings for guided meditation or doing in-person meditation, it is normal for your mind to wander.
An excellent example of how meditation works is like enjoying a journey. Too much focus on gears, accelerator, speed, mirror will take the fun out of the journey. If you cultivate a daily habit, you will undoubtedly, be able to hone your meditation skills.
Can Meditation Cure illness?
Meditation can have significant effects on your well-being, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. However, it is essential to note that it is not a quick fix to all your life’s problems. It is not a cure for all your mental health problems.
Even with meditation, you will still experience problems now and then and feel unhappy. Meditation addresses the root cause of your questions. It helps you to adjust to what is happening to you. It does not erase or transform your problems. That said, meditation enables you to reflect upon your life in a calm and caring manner. It allows you to be there for yourself and to focus on your thoughts and feelings non-judgmentally.
It teaches you to focus on your breath while letting go of whatever is troubling you. In other words, the role of meditation is to help you gain full awareness. It enables you to recognize every second of your existence, whether positive or negative.
Mindful meditation is an excellent coping mechanism. However, it intends to make your life more meaningful. With continuous practice, commitment, and dedication, you can reap the real benefits of meditation.
How to Start Meditation as a Beginner
Choose a suitable time and place to meditate.
In meditation for beginners, consistency is critical. Telling yourself that you will practice when you get time can make you fail. Therefore, before you begin meditation sessions, you need to find a good time and place.
When planning your week, set aside 10 to 15 minutes every day. That way, you will be more committed to meditating. Early morning before you begin your day’s activities would be perfect. However, a time that works best for you would help you to be more consistent.
It would help if you also had a special and meaningful place where you can meditate regularly. Putting meditation mantras on the wall and lighting candles can be a great way of creating a calm and peaceful environment for meditation.
Remember to practice at the same time and place every other day. You can set the alarm to make sure you don’t forget.
How to Dress for meditation ?
You can wear whatever you like as long as it makes you feel relaxed. Most preferably, wear a loose, comfortable outfit that will allow you to move freely. An outfit that will enable you to sit cross-legged would be ideal.
It would help if you loosened your tie, scarf, and belt. Be sure to remove your shoes for even greater comfort and relaxation.
How to Sit for Meditation?
A good sitting position is one that makes you feel alive and energetic. You can opt to sit up straight on a cushion, floor, chair, or even a meditation bench. To boost your alertness, ensure your spine is straight.
Hunching over can make you tired and restless. If sitting upright is uncomfortable, you can consider leaning against a wall or any form of support. If sitting on the floor makes you feel uneasy, seated on a chair would still be an excellent place to begin meditation.
You can try different positions to find the one you connect with. Remember sticking to one place or technique can help you build consistency.
How Long to Meditate?
It is always good practice to decide on the length of your sessions before you begin meditation. If you are a beginner, you should start with short sessions. Scheduling a one-hour meditation session can demotivate you.
With that in mind, a 10 to 15 minutes guided session of meditation for beginners would be a good starting point. You can increase the length of your sessions as your confidence grows. Remember, consistency is more important than the duration.
Create an Intention on Why you want to Meditate
Do you know why you want to start guided meditation for beginners? If you’re going to reap the benefits of meditation, it is essential to understand why you want to meditate. There are various reasons why people choose to meditate.
Your reasons for joining beginner’s meditation sessions may be valid. However, understanding the reason behind your desire to meditate can keep you connected to your purpose.
Understanding your motivation can help you remain focused and boost your self-knowledge. You will also be able to ascertain whether you are making progress or not. It prevents you from losing momentum by motivating you to practice consistently.
Meditation is not a short-term fix. Beginner’s meditation is a life-long commitment. It would help if you practiced it consistently and patiently so you can start seeing the results. Positive results are all the motivation you need to keep going.
That said, you must prioritize meditation practice by incorporating it into your day-to-day life. It is also important to note that meditation is a skill, and you will slowly get better at it with practice.
Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners:
” The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulnes.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
How to Stay Mindful All the Time
One of the biggest challenges you are likely to deal with when you begin meditation sessions is knowing how to stay mindful all day. When you practice mindful meditation, you become mindful. However, the chances are that you will lose that mindfulness after your beginner’s meditation session.
Your ability to stay mindful all day can undoubtedly boost your happiness and make your life much better. There are various ways of staying mindful daily, including practicing mindful habits, setting mindful reminders, or even using meditation apps. It would help if you also learned to carry your awareness from one activity to another.
Consciously paying attention to your body, thoughts, and feelings without judgment enables your mind to shift attention to the present moment. Meditation for beginners is much of a learning process.
What is Body Scan in Meditation?
One meditation technique that you will find useful when you begin meditation sessions is the body scan meditation technique. Body scan meditation is unique because, in other meditation techniques, you will only be required to focus on one thing.
For instance, when practicing breathing and relaxation exercises, your beginner’s meditation teacher will only require you to focus on your breathing. However,
Body Scan Meditation is designed to help us keep track of our bodies, to check in with all the parts. Don’t worry about any anomalies. All you have to do is notice. The mind will try to trick you into worrying and judging and generally drifting to other things, notice it and stop with kindness.
A Simple Body Scan Meditation process:
- First, sitting or standing, with or without shoes, feel the pulse of your feet on the ground. Then start scanning your body from the sole of your feet to the toes, ankles, calves, every bit of you until you reach the head.
- Concentrate on different parts of the body. You can pick any area of your choosing and focus on it. It could be the legs – sole of the feet, toes, calves, ankles. Then your pelvis, abdomen, spine, upper back, chest, neck, shoulders, fingers, parts of the face. While you are concentrating, pause on each part and take note of the sensations swirling through that area, this is what it is to meditate.
- The second you realize that the mind has drifted from the scanning, whip it back to the last part of the body you remember scanning.
- There is a tendency to fall asleep or doze while this meditation is going on, and that is alright. If you catch yourself dozing, draw a deep breath. This will reawaken your mind then take another position. Once you feel bright-eyed again, return to the last body area you remember.
Each scan should last at least 20 seconds. If you get distracted in the process, gently and patiently refocus your attention to the area of the body you scanned last.
What is Loving Kindness Meditation?
It is important to remember that you cannot will the mind to love yourself and others. The best you can do is to remind yourself that you deserve love, kindness and respect, and other positive reinforcements. While you do this, that positivity will radiate from you towards others around you.
What this meditation entails is the silent repetition of positive sentences that uplift not just you but your family, friends, and colleagues. It reminds you to be kind to yourself and to others.
You can start in the following ways:
- Remind yourself of the good times, memories that make you smile, times you exhibited kindheartedness no matter how minute. Think of them, celebrate and revel in the memories of the goodness that is present in you and all of us.
- There are sentences that encompass all that humans worry about on daily basis. Think of them and recite silently anytime you remember. Some of them are, may I have physical happiness and freedom from bad health and pain, may I have peace and joy, may I enjoy the peace and may I live in safety.
- Create a memorably pleasing rhythm by making sure the sentence has space and silence in between. As you recite, focus on that particular sentence wholly at that time.
- Do not disparage yourself when you realize that your mind has drifted from the mantra. It was bound to happen, let the thoughts go, rein your mind back with kindness, and continue the practice.
- For this bit, you have to employ the internal visual senses. Picture yourself within the circle of two people who have inspired you with their kindness and love. Their acts have, in some way, affected your life or how you see it. It could be family or friends or someone on TV. Once you’ve done that, place yourself at the receiving end of their attention and love. Feel it coursing through you within that circle. Now, repeat those words of kindness and love, gently and firmly to yourself.
- In order to close the session, slowly ease yourself out of the visualization while repeating the phrases. Continue to shower yourself with those words of love for another five to ten minutes. This will help you let go of the old and hurt version of yourself and usher you to the light, healthy version maintained by kindness.
Finally, you may have decided to join this train of meditation and now you have the answer to ‘what is meditation’ your next question may be, how many times should I meditate?
As we have learned, meditation is a powerful tool that can be both difficult and simple. All you need to do is be consistent even of it for five or ten minutes every day. With those few seconds, you will realize that your body and mind has undergone enormous positive changes. The only sacrifice is the discipline to get down and actually do it.
What are the common difficulties in Meditation for Beginners?
Meditation for beginners is not without its challenges. When you begin meditation sessions, you might find it hard to meditate. Common difficulties may include restlessness, disappointment, lack of patience, lack of motivation, lack of time, or even unwanted thoughts.
No matter how you feel about your beginner’s meditation journey, it is essential to note that things will get more comfortable with time. Let us look at the most common obstacles and what you can do to make meditation easier.
Lack of Time
One of the biggest obstacles to beginner’s meditation practice is time. Time could be a challenge because you probably have a busy lifestyle. It could also be that you do not have the discipline to stop what you’re doing and focus on meditation.
No matter the reason for failing to meditate, it is essential that you find time to meditate. It would help if you created time by prioritizing meditation in your daily schedule. That way, you will be able to commit to meditation no matter what other activities you may have. Try to spare at least 15 minutes of your day to practice meditation.
Meditation aims to increase your alertness and awareness. If you have been falling asleep during your meditation for beginner’s practice, the chances are that you have not had adequate sleep.
With that in mind, you must prioritize self-care by ensuring you have an adequate sleep. If possible, try to practice meditation early in the morning before you begin your day’s activities.
You might also be sleeping because you cannot find a perfect balance between focus and relaxation. To reduce the likelihood of sleeping, try to sit upright instead of lying down. You can also keep your eyes open during meditation. Be sure to open the window to let some fresh air into your meditation space.
If you are new to meditation, you might find it ideal to meditate in a quiet environment. However, being distracted during meditation for beginners sessions is a common occurrence and part of the learning process.
Practicing in a quiet and peaceful place creates a more conducive environment for you to learn how to quiet your mind. However, learning to meditate in a noisy place can provide a much-needed break from your surroundings’ suffocating chaos.
Meditating in a noisy place can also enhance the meditation practice you do in silence. Try to stay focused and relaxed, even amid distractions. You can again try noise-canceling headphones.
Remember, the most important thing in Meditation is your belief in the process – as it is you who have decided to change, to care about your own self and others, do something good for your own sake and trying to achieve it and make it happen.
Debunking Myths About Meditation
Meditation is widely practiced in business corporations, sports, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and many other areas. However, there are many misconceptions and so much stigma towards meditation.
Telling your close friends and family that you practice meditation as a beginner can change their perception of you.
Misconceptions About Meditation
Meditation is a religious practice
Meditation may have its roots in spiritual and religious traditions, but it is not necessarily a religious practice. Meditation practice involves focusing on your breath and achieving awareness in the present moment. That said, you will agree with me that there is nothing religious about meditation.
Some meditation techniques, such as Buddhist mantra meditation and transcendental meditation, may involve reciting some religious words. However, most meditation practices are non-religious. Meditation practice is merely a tool for self-development.
Meditation involves sitting in a lotus position.
During meditation, Buddhists usually sit on the floor in a variety of cross-legged positions. The lotus position is one of the most common positions. On the other hand, people from the west usually sit on chairs.
It is rare to see someone from the west in a lotus position during meditation. With that in mind, people from all over the world have varying preferences for meditation positions.
Therefore, the sitting position shouldn’t inhibit you from practicing meditation. You are free to practice beginner’s meditation while standing up, kneeling, sitting on a chair, stool, or even lying down.
The most important thing is that you find a posture that works best for you. Comfort is paramount.
You have to be good at it to reap the benefits.
It is important to note that there is no right or wrong way of practicing meditation for beginners. The benefits of meditation are similar for professional and newbie meditators. The only difference is that professional meditators have been doing it for a long, meaning they have honed their skills.
Otherwise, never feel disadvantaged just because you are a beginner. With practice, dedication, and consistency, you can also learn to sustain attention just like long-term meditators.
How to Stick to Your Meditation Routine
If you want to reap the benefits of meditation, it is essential to create motivation to meditate, even when you don’t feel like it. It would help if you prioritized reflection when making your daily schedule.
Be that as it may, not many people can stick to a meditation routine despite creating one. Your motivation to meditate will wane from time to time. One of the reasons why your motivation may wane is expecting quick results. This is one of the major pitfalls in meditation for beginners.
As mentioned earlier, training your brain to be mindful takes time, patience, and commitment. It is also important to note that meditation will not cure your illness. Instead, meditation aims to help you adjust to what is happening to you.
Learn to consciously focus on your thoughts, feelings, and body without judging yourself. The purpose of meditation is to help you redirect your thoughts and feelings so that your mind can calm down.
That said, you can make meditation a daily habit by meditating at the same time every other day, preferably in the morning. Start small, and don’t judge yourself.
Acknowledge that you are not perfect, and enjoy your beginners’ meditation journey to the fullest.
Final thoughts on Meditation for Beginners
We hope this article has answered all your pertinent questions about meditation for beginners. It is important to note that meditation is a life-long journey. It requires a lot of practice, commitment, and consistency.
If you have been planning to begin meditation sessions, now is the time. Meditation has benefits for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Apart from helping you cope with stress, anxiety, pain, meditation can also boost your happiness, focus, and self-awareness.
That said, be sure to make time for daily meditation as you create your monthly or weekly schedule. Remember, you do not have to be perfect to practice meditation. Choose a position that works well for you, and stick to it until you gain confidence.