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Are you thinking about starting a meditation practice but you’re not quite sure how to go about it? Want some tips on meditation for beginners?
Fear not… this article is going to answer your questions.
We’re going to cover what’s important to know when starting out.
Like what meditation is, how it can help, and also where to start.
By the time we’re done, you’ll be more motivated, consistent, and ready to expand your practice to infinity and beyond.
…No, I’m not crazy, I just like Toy Story references.
We’re also going to touch on a few other aspects of meditation just to give you the most complete perspective I can.
The better you understand the whys and the hows, the more motivated you’ll be to meditate and build a consistent practice.
Check out the video I made for this post…
So, without further ado, let’s get into our Meditation for Beginners: The Basics.
What Actually is Meditation?
The best explanation that I’ve found is from Giovanni Dienstmann from liveanddare.com.
He says that…
Meditation is a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus, and awareness. Meditation is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
The mind is a powerful tool and learning to really use it has so many advantages.
A trained mind that is relaxed, focused and aware helps to create a world that’s abundant in every way.
Sounds pretty good, right?
So, we’ve defined meditation as a mental exercise.
Now, it’s on to deciding what that would look like for you.
There’s so many different ways to meditate and we’ll get into some of those, too.
But no matter the type of practice you choose, the foundations of meditation are:
- it’s usually done by yourself (but can be done with others)
- without distraction
- in a sitting position
- with your eyes closed
- using your breath to help you relax and focus
That’s some really simple and basic information to start us off…
There are definitely other ways to meditate but we’re starting out with the basic foundations.
You want to find a nice, comfortable pose that works for you and just sit with your eyes closed.
It’s not necessary to go to a temple, you don’t need to be a contortionist and master the Lotus position…
You don’t need anything.
Just sit quietly, keep your spine nice and straight, and focus on your breath…
You’re off to a good start.
Note… Some Common Misconceptions About Meditation
We need to take a little break here and talk about some common misconceptions about meditation.
The number one misconception is that you’re meant to basically sit there and stop your thoughts altogether.
That’s not going to happen, and it doesn’t need to.
All you need to do is calm yourself by focusing on your object (breath, mantra, physical object, etc).
Then, as soon as a thought comes, just acknowledge it, and let it go by focusing back on your object.
The best way you can manage them is by becoming aware and learning to see them for what they are…
Just thoughts passing through your mind.
They don’t define you, they don’t affect you (unless you let them) and you can separate yourself from them.
With practice, this becomes easier.
Meditation allows you to relax, take a break from all the noise in your head, and just calmly observe.
The second misconception is that if your mind just keeps on wandering off even after you’ve been practicing for a while then you can’t meditate.
This is not the case.
If you can breathe, then you can meditate.
The key is to stay consistent with your meditation practice, even when you think you’re not progressing.
After a while, you’ll be able to look back and notice the progress you’ve made.
A lot of the time we may spend our time meditating just thinking about the most random things.
Like, the perfect comeback line from an argument the day before…
Or a memory from when you were walking home from school and a dog bit your friend on the ass.
Just work on catching your mind as soon as it wanders off and gently bring back your focus.
Meditation won’t make all those thoughts go away.
It will, however, make you accept them and say “Hey crazy mind, I see what you’re doing but I’m going to ignore you for a while” or “Hey anxiety haven’t seen you in a while… it’s been good actually”.
Meditation allows you to experience these feelings without giving in to them.
So, once you’re distracted (and you will be), just bring back your focus.
Treat it as just another rep that you would do in the gym when working out.
There are other misconceptions out there, but we’ll talk about them in more detail some other time.
Let’s get back into it!
Meditation Styles, Tools, and Techniques –
There are a lot of different styles of meditation.
Some of them are Vipassana, transcendental meditation, Zen meditation…The list goes on and on.
Then, we’ve got all the apps like Calm, Headspace, and a lot of other ones.
The best tip I can give you about meditation and starting out is… just don’t overthink it!
Meditation is a very simple practice, let’s keep it that way.
There are definitely a lot of different tools and techniques that help with meditation.
But, when you’re starting out, it’s important to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the excess of different styles, opinions, and techniques.
In the beginning of your meditation practice, it’s all about setting that foundation of being able to simply sit there, calm yourself, and focus on your breath.
To start your practice use methods like taking 6 long, slow and deep breathes in through your nose and out your mouth.
Aim for just 2 to 5 minutes a day, it’s enough for the beginning.
Don’t set yourself up for failure trying too much too early.
A few of the benefits of meditation-
Over the years, a lot of different scientific studies have shown the benefits of meditation.
A few of them are:
- it helps manage stress and anxiety
- promotes emotional health
- improves self-awareness
- reduces age-related memory loss
- helps fight addiction
- improves sleep
- controls pain
- decreases blood pressure
I could go on and on about the benefits of meditation.
To learn more check out this video I made…
Make Your Meditation Practice Your Own
When I first got started in meditation.
I learned a little bit about the basics and decided to sit down and just go for it.
The first thing I did was I started focusing in on my breath.
The reason why I keep recommending this is because it worked for me.
Breathing is a great way to control your emotions, so it does wonders for improving your ability to just sit quietly.
After a month or so, I wanted to learn more and try new things.
That’s when I tried experimenting with different styles and also started leaning towards guided meditations.
I used guided meditations on Youtube and meditation apps.
They’re great and I learned a lot.
But after maybe a couple of months, I got to the point where I felt like I was not enjoying being led.
What I wanted, was to be able to focus my own mind.
So, having someone tell me how to do it made me feel it wasn’t the right path for me.
I felt I’d reached a plateau with guided meditations so I moved on.
I wanted to keep growing, keep developing my practice in other directions.
From there, I discovered different ways to improve my practice, like creating my own meditation space complete with Tibetan singing bowls and meditation cushions.
Everyone’s different and you’ve got to figure out what works for you.
Why Do You Want to Meditate?
To help you figure out what works best for you…
I’ll let you in on a little known fact about meditation.
Of all the meditation styles, they basically fall under 2 categories…
Calming meditation and Insight meditation
When you’re just starting out, it’s very useful to ask yourself what you want out of meditation.
It’ll help you build consistency and stay committed.
Because you’ll have that focus and motivation always in your mind.
If what you want to work on is your feelings of anxiety and maybe fear or uncertainty, look into calming meditation techniques.
That’s basically when you’re focusing on an object.
Whether that object might be something physical, like a candle, a tree, something like that, or you’re focusing in on our breath or even a mantra.
All these fall under the category of calming styles of meditation.
The second one, insight meditation, is any technique where you set an intention for your meditation practice and focus on developing that certain quality.
It can be knowledge, compassion, empathy, whatever you want to tap into, or improve on.
When you’re just starting out, I think it’s good to have an understanding of this.
Understanding the benefits, different techniques, and common misconception gives you an advantage.
But, at the same time, keep in mind that meditation is a very simple practice.
You don’t really need anything.
You don’t need to download an app or really do anything at all.
Just keep in mind you can, if you think it might help.
But, you definitely don’t have to!
So, when you’re just starting out with your meditation practice, don’t complicate it.
Don’t overthink it.
Keep it short and enjoyable.
In the beginning, it’s all about creating that consistent daily habit.
From there, you can gradually increase the amount of time or try different styles.
But, remember that it’s all about enjoying the process.
My Take on Starting a Meditation Practice
Ok, so let me also talk a little bit about my “why”.
Why am I writing these posts and why am I so eager to help you start and build your meditation practice?
The main reason I started this blog is when I started to meditate (around six years ago) everything I could find on meditation was just the spiritual fluffy side of meditation.
That’s something I’ve always struggled to connect with!
I’m a more direct, to-the-point, no-bullshit kind of guy.
So, I wanted to create some helpful information for the modern-day meditator.
With the ‘anti-fluff’ approach to meditation.
I really struggled in the beginning with not being able to focus.
But, I eventually survived through the hard times and overcame all of those initial hurdles.
I’m now able to say that meditation has changed my life.
For the better, of course.
I’m not a meditation teacher but someone who has improved myself a lot from practicing it.
So, now I’m on a mission to help you with your meditation practice.
For more even more information, download our FREE guide…
A pleasure as always!
Co-founder of Lamajo
Leave a comment below with your experience with meditation so far…
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