Just as everyone does, I have had challenges in my life, the biggest of which might sound a little crazy. My biggest challenge has been really getting in touch with who I am. Meditation has been the single most impactful change I have made as a means toward this end. It was a challenge in itself in the beginning so I want to share some easy meditation techniques beginners can use.
I am a simple guy and I make no claims that this will make you and expert in meditation but it can help you get going. We hear meditation referred to as “practice” all the time, and there is a reason for that. You can improve your practice over time by trying some of these easy meditation techniques.
There is nothing that says you have do try them all and you most certainly don’t have to do them all at once. Take it slow and start small, then build on what feels right to you. You will begin to find what works well rather quickly and you can expand or add to the techniques.
11 Tips for Beginners
Forget what you think you know about meditation.
In the beginning, many of us have this notion that meditation is a “clearing of the mind”. Partly because that is what is most commonly depicted in television and film. The practice of meditation can lead you to that place at times but that is not what meditation is. Meditation is more about practicing focus and concentration than clear thoughts from your mind.
Take it slow and start small.
Don’t allow the idea that meditation has to be a long process to work for you. Try sitting quietly and practicing the techniques for 5 minutes in the morning when you wake up. Do it before you get going on your regular morning routine. You can stay in bed if that works for you or find a quiet, comfortable spot to sit. Give it a week or so and see how you are feeling. Then try to extend it by a few minute or try adding a second 5-minute session just before bed.
Take note of how you feel.
When you begin, sit quietly, close your eyes and pay attention to how your body feels. You will have an overall sense of how you feel, physically. From there break it down to specific areas of the body. Note how your face feels, is your jaw relaxed? Now your brow and so on. Don’t worry about how it feels are doing anything about how you feel just take note.
Add Relaxation to the how you feel process.
As you practice taking note of how you feel start to add concentration on relaxing the body one area at a time. Breathe slowly and recognize how your face feels on the in-breath. Concentrate on relaxing your face on the out-breath. Move to your neck and shoulders, then your arms and hands, your chest and abdomen, your back and then your legs and feet.
Be the observer of your thoughts.
We all have a lot going on in there but many times we are just going with the flow. During your meditation practice try to mere be the observer of your thoughts. That whole clearing your mind thing is not like to happen right away and that is fine. Just try to watch your thoughts float by without latching onto them. We all have thoughts and you aren’t going to stop them, you don’t have to.
Incorporate focus and concentration targets.
Learn to focus your concentration on a specific target and then when your focus drifts, gently bring it back to your target. Many people will simply focus on their breath. Other easy meditation techniques include focusing on a particular spot in your field of vision, like a spot on the wall. Walking meditation is the practice of walking very slowing and focusing on your feet. Some use a candle and focus on the flame. What you focus on doesn’t matter the practice is maintaining focus and returning it when it drifts. Your focus will drift, don’t worry about that and don’t quit, just bring it back to your target.
Use Guided Meditations.
The internet has thousands of sources for guided meditation so take advantage of that. Listening to a guide walk you through a process can help you reduce anxiety over whether you are doing it right are not doing it right. Just be careful not to get too caught up in guided meditation that is telling to see a certain image or color in your mind. We all have different minds and different imaginations, don’t be concerned that you see things differently. Just accept what comes to you and relax.
Mantra meditation can also help.
The use a mantra, a set of words repeated over and over can aid you in developing your focus, as well. Sanskrit mantra is very popular but it can be any mantra you feel works. You could just say, “I am meditating” out loud or to yourself, over and over. “I am” statements are very powerful and can be used throughout your day to help keep you connected to who you are. Be aware of negative I am statements, too. Try not to say things that will pull you down. Like, “I am fat” or “I am old” or even “I am sick”.
Using meditation music is a great way to help you stay relaxed and to help you stay focused. I live in a busy home and it is never possible to be in total silence here. I use music most of the time when I meditate and it helps my practice immensely. Personally, I really like Tibetan flute music and singing bowls but I listen to nature sounds and other music. Try a few different things and see what feels good to you.
Learn the use of mudras.
Mudras are specific hand position that you can use during your meditation practice. You are probably familiar with some of them even if you didn’t know them as mudras. Again, I caution you not to get too involved in whether are not you are doing it exactly right. That goes for the use of mudras and all of the previous meditation techniques discussed.
Get outside in nature
Yes, I realize in the beginning I recommended you do this first thing in the morning and then just before bedtime. As you progress in your meditation practice and the use of these easy meditation techniques, try to get outside. Being in nature and in touch with the earth is wonderful for your feeling of connectedness. Find a big tree to sit under or some cool grass. Maybe you have a spot near some running water.
These are meditation techniques beginners can use to get started. Pick and choose what works for you and what doesn’t. Forget about the “how to” part of it and just go for it. The most important part is to do what feels right to you, get to know yourself and maybe a little more about what is going own in there. Accept what comes up without judgment of whether it is good or bad.
Relax and enjoy. Namaste!