Meditation can seem like a daunting concept. If you’ve never meditated before, you might not know how to start and which meditation technique to use. To help you get your feet wet, I wrote this short guide on how to meditate for beginners. And trust me, it’s everything but daunting. By the end of this post, you’ll understand what meditation is exactly and which common types of meditation exist. And you’ll know how you can meditate for the first time.
Let’s dive in!
What is meditation?
Meditation is an exercise for your mind. People use different meditation techniques to reach a certain state of the mind. I can best describe this state as being “mentally clear”, focused, but calm, and more peaceful.
Is meditation a religious practice?
While meditation has been used for many spiritual practices, it certainly does not have to be religious. On the contrary. First and foremost, it is an exercise. When you work out your body, you want to become fitter, stronger, healthier. When you meditate, you want the same for your mind.
Sure, you can then use your mind for spiritual practices. But you can also use the effects of meditation for very pragmatic things, like, for example, your time management skills.
The benefits of meditation
To give you a better idea on how awesome meditation is, let’s quickly look at some benefits of meditation. And yes, science did research on this! These benefits are real and tested.
- lowers blood pressure
- strengthens the immune system
- helps in regulating metabolism
- decreases inflammation
- grows brain areas related to
- regulating hormones
- ability to pay attention
- being happy
- reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
- improves your memory
- increases creativity
There are more benefits to meditating regularly, but that is not the focus of this post. Just know that whatever made you look up how to meditate – it was a great idea to do this!
How to meditate
So now let’s finally get to the heart of this! How can you meditate? And what do you need to get started?
What do I need for meditating?
For your first meditation practice, all you need is a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes, yourself, and a timer. I usually use my phone’s built-in timer for this. Yes, a dedicated meditation space, pretty meditation cushions, and a zen-like meditation chime are great. But none of these things are necessary.
How do you meditate for the first time?
Once you’ve found your quiet space, follow these steps:
- Sit down comfortably. No need for a cross-legged position. You can also sit on a chair with your feet on the ground. Just make sure that you can sit in this position for a few minutes without needing to move.
- Set your timer for 5 minutes and close your eyes.
- Now start focussing on your breath. What does it feel like? Is it slow or fast? Deep or flat breathing? Notice how your chest and belly are rising and falling with your breath.
- Keep experiencing every breath fully, without trying to control it. When you notice your thoughts wandering away, gently bring them back to your breath. Do this until your timer goes off.
As you start getting more familiar with this, slowly make the meditation intervals longer. A good time to aim for is a 20-minute meditation session.
What are good Meditation techniques for beginners?
The meditation technique described above is the most simple, yet very powerful method. It’s simply called the “Breathing meditation” and I would recommend for every beginner to start with that one.
Another meditation technique that is very good for beginners is the “Mindfulness meditation“. It starts in the same way as the breathing meditation, up to and including step 3. But then you also allow yourself to become aware of other sensations in your body. You notice what you can feel, hear and smell, too. For example, what the fabric on your skin feels like or how you are sitting. Again, you are not trying to evaluate or control anything. This exercise is simply to become aware and observe.
Both of these meditation techniques will have tremendous benefits on your mind. And eventually your life.
I once did a 40-day training program, meditating every morning and everyone around me noticed how I changed for the better during that time. The benefits of meditation are real. Try it!