If you're new to meditation, it's normal to wonder how to do it properly. After all, there are so many different ways to meditate, and it's not always clear which one is best for beginners.
What is meditation?
Meditation is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation, mindfulness, and self-awareness. There are many different types of meditation, but the basic premise is always the same: you focus your attention on something (usually your breath), and then let go of all other thoughts.
What are the benefits of meditation?
The benefits of meditation are well-documented and revered by many who practice regularly. Meditation is suitable for people of all ages and can be done anywhere, at any time.
Benefits of meditation include:
-Reduced stress and anxiety
-Increased focus and concentration
What is the difference between meditation and mindfulness?
Meditation is a subset of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment. This means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without becoming overly attached to them.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways, including through meditation, but it also extends to other areas of your life such as how you eat, exercise, and work.
Tools to get ready before you begin
Meditation is a practice you can do at any time with no equipment. But if you want to do it in comfort, there are a few things you might want to have on hand:
- A comfortable place to sit or recline in (e.g a yoga mat) If sitting, make sure your back is straight but not tense. You can sit on the floor, in a chair, or on a cushion.
- Loose, comfortable clothing
- A timer (optional)
- Calming music for the background (optional)
- A candle to help you relax (optional)
- How to meditate properly for beginners
The most important thing to remember when learning how to meditate is that there is no "right" way to do it. The goal is simply to focus your attention on something (usually your breath) and then let go of all other thoughts.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down. You don't need to be in a special position to meditate, but it should be comfortable so that you can relax your body and focus on your breath.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. This will help you begin to relax and focus on the present moment.
- Start paying attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of the air moving in and out of your lungs. Don't try to control your breath, just let it flow naturally.
- If your mind starts to wander, simply redirect your attention back to your breath. This is normal, and it's not a sign that you're doing something wrong. Just keep coming back to the present moment.
- When you're ready to finish, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then gently get up and go about your day.
Breathing tips for meditation
One of the most important things to focus on when you're meditating is your breath. The breath is a natural anchor that can help you stay present in the moment, and it's also a great way to release tension from the body.
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your breath during meditation:
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth. This will help you slow down your breathing and make it more relaxed.
- Focus on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your lungs. Try and fill your belly with your breath.
- Place your hands on your ribcage lightly to ensure you’re getting the maximum oxygen in.
Should I use guided meditation?
There is no one "right" way to meditate, and it's up to you whether or not you want to use guided meditation. Guided meditation can be helpful for beginners, as it provides a structure and can keep your mind from wandering. However, some people find that it distracts them from the meditation process, so it's ultimately up to you whether or not you want to use it.
There are plenty of resources available if you do want to try guided meditation, including apps, websites, and YouTube videos. Once you've tried it a few times, you may find that you don't need the guidance and can meditate on your own.
Mindfulness meditation is a type of mindfulness practice that can be done both with and without guidance. It takes the basics we addressed above and adds a mental health and wellbeing intention to it.
In mindfulness meditation, you focus your attention on the present moment and observe your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Rather than holding onto and dwelling over these thoughts, you simply allow them to drift through, keeping your attention focused on your body.
This means that you observe your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. One of the benefits of mindfulness meditation is that it can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, which can lead to greater self-acceptance and peace. It can also help you learn how to better manage stress and anxiety.
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness meditation, but one of the most popular is the body scan. This is where you focus your attention on each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. As you focus on each part of your body, you pay attention to any sensations or emotions you're feeling.
Start your meditation journey
If you're new to mindfulness meditation, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. There are apps, books, and websites that can provide guidance and support. Once you get the hang of it, you may find that you can meditate without any guidance at all.
Meditation is a simple practice, but it can be challenging at first. Just keep at it and eventually it will become easier and more natural. Remember, there's no right or wrong way to meditate, so just do what feels best for you.