Meditation is a hot topic that’s trending in self-help and productivity spheres these days. Your favorite podcasters might have talked about how meditation helps them keep calm and collected throughout the day. Learning how to meditate for beginners is essential to reap the benefits of this excellent practice.
We have all heard of meditation. Some of us may have dismissed it as an Eastern spiritual practice. But with the rise of studies and research-backed evidence on the benefits of meditation, many people are getting interested in learning to meditate.
In this article, we shall tackle relevant information on learning how to meditate for beginners. We’ll start with what meditation is, along with 6 methods you can choose from to find the style that works best for you. Let’s get started.
What is meditation, and how do you do it?
Meditation is an ancient practice that is aimed at clearing the mind and bringing peace to a person. There are many different ways to practice meditation. However, most of the time, people will meditate by sitting in a comfortable area, legs crossed in a lotus position, eyes closed, and breathing deeply.
There are various ways to meditate. Some people find it hard to “ignore their thoughts” and “think about nothing“. But those are not the only ways to meditate. You need to experiment and find a method of meditation that works for you. In the next section, we shall explore 6 meditation methods to bring you peace and clarity.
6 Meditation Methods for Beginners
Here are 6 ways to learn how to meditate for beginners. You can try out each of them and decide which one is easiest for you. Meditation should be calming and relaxing. If you are more disturbed than calm at the end of the session, you might need to find another way to meditate.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
One of the best ways to clear your mind of stressful thoughts is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of yourself and your surroundings. It can include focusing on the senses of sight, smell, hearing, and touch. Mindfulness takes your attention away from the incessant chatter of your thoughts to a neutral headspace. Mindfulness meditation can reduce anger and anxiety.
To perform mindfulness meditation, find a comfortable location or set up your meditation cushion on the floor. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. You can place your palms facing down on your knees. Breathe in deep and focus on what you can hear and feel. Mindfulness grounds you to reality, and in this way, it can eliminate anxiety.
Breathwork is another technique in learning how to meditate for beginners. In breathwork meditation, you have to intentionally change your breathing pattern to promote awareness, relaxation, and focus. This type of meditation helps you divert your mind from stressful thoughts by bringing your attention to your breathing. When you focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply, your worries melt away.
There are different types of breathing exercises that you can perform during breathwork. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
4-7-8 breathing: This is a breathing pattern based on a yogic technique called pranayama. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7, and exhale for 8 seconds. 4-7-8 breathing relaxes the body and can help with falling asleep.
Alternate nostril breathing: This breathing pattern has roots in ancient India. Press your thumb over one nostril, inhale, and then cover the alternating nostril with your index finger and exhale. This allows you to take deeper breaths and feel more relaxed.
Diaphragmatic breathing: This is a great breathing exercise when learning how to meditate for beginners. It is also called belly breathing or abdominal breathing. In this type of breathing, breathe deep and expand your stomach outwards while keeping your chest still.
3. Yoga Meditation
Not everyone can sit still for long. If you are one of these people, you can practice yoga meditation which will give you similar results. Yoga meditation is about moving your body through a series of poses and stretches that help your mind to focus on the feeling of movement. As you concentrate on moving your body, your stressing thoughts will melt away.
To do yoga, you can lay out your yoga mat and perform some common yoga poses for beginners. Here are some beginner yoga poses:
Mountain pose: To do this pose, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your back straight. Lift your hands above your heads and bring your palms together. Breathe deep while you do this pose. Bring your awareness to how your body feels.
Chair pose: To transition from the mountain pose to the chair pose, simply bend your knees and bring your hands to your chest. Inhale deeply while doing so.
Cat-cow pose: Kneel down on your hands and legs for this pose. To do the cow pose, breathe in and dip your spine inwards while bringing your head up and looking forward. Transition to the cat pose by exhaling deeply and arching your back outwards and dropping your head down.
Child’s pose: For the child’s pose, kneel down and sit on your calves. Then, lift your hands above your head and bend your back until your forehead rests gently on the ground.
Cobra pose: To get into the cobra pose, lie down on your belly with your hands next to your body. Then, use your hands to lift your torso with your face facing upwards.
These are just some of the yoga poses that you can perform to calm down and relax your body.\
4. Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation is an effective form of meditation that monks have used in Eastern civilizations for a long time. A mantra is a word or phrase that you repeat over and over again. It is perfect for people who have trouble focusing or getting into the mood for meditation. Examples of mantras may include “Om,” “So Hum,” “Shanti,” or phrases in a language you understand, for example, “I am calm,” or “I feel peace.”
To practice mantra meditation, seat yourself on a meditation cushion or lie down on your bed. Close your eyes and begin to hum or recite your mantra. You can say it out loud or just mouth it. Coordinate your breathing with your mantra recitation. Mantra meditation may get you into a trance-like state which can help you to relax.
5. Visualization Meditation
Visualization meditation is another excellent method of meditation. It involves focusing on a memory or imagining an object or situation that inspires feelings of joy and happiness in your mind. Visualization is also a great mindfulness tool that you can use while meditating to improve focus and concentration. There are several methods of visualization meditation that you can try out. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
Guided imagery: Guided imagery is a meditation technique where you bring up a memory from your mind or imagine scenes that can make you relax and feel happy. They may help you to cope with stress and anxiety by releasing dopamine in the brain.
Visualizing goals: Many people get excited by their goals. According to Science Daily, the brain does not distinguish between reality and imaginations. When you visualize achieving your goals, this may make you feel happy and positive.
Progressive muscle relaxation: This is a relaxation technique that helps with relaxation and falling asleep. Lie down or sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on actively relaxing your muscles one by one, starting from your toes to your head.
6. Guided Meditation
If you feel like meditation has never worked out for you, consider trying out guided meditation. Guided meditation is a type of meditation where you listen to audio that provides gentle prompts on how to clear your mind while meditating. There are tons of free guided meditation videos on YouTube that offer scripts to follow when meditating.
To perform guided meditation, find a YouTube video or an app that has a great guided meditation. Sit in a comfortable position or lie down and follow the prompts from the guided meditation. These guides will take you through some breathing exercises and visualization prompts to help you achieve complete relaxation.
Check out this video on guided meditation:
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation has many benefits, even for beginners. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Reduces anxiety and depression.
- Improves focus and attention.
- Increases self-awareness and esteem.
- May help in fighting addiction.
- Improves sleep.
Additional Meditation Tips
Meditation helps you to focus on the present and reduces stress and anxiety. However, some extra tips may help with learning how to meditate for beginners. Let’s dive into some additional meditation tips:
Choose a suitable time for meditation
Meditation becomes more manageable if you have a dedicated time of the day to meditate. Choose to meditate in the morning, at night before bed, or whenever you feel stressed. You can also set reminders on your phone to take time out of your day to meditate.
Play some calm meditation music
There is music for every type of meditator. Some people enjoy calm lo-fi beats and others like nature sounds. No matter what you prefer, music can help set the mood for meditation.
Meditate before bed for a more peaceful sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep, you can try out meditation. In this post on how to meditate for beginners, we have looked at some meditation methods, and guided meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are ideal for falling asleep.
Walking is a form of meditation
Walking is an excellent form of meditation. It combines mindfulness and visualization, helping you calm your racing thoughts and feel relaxed. The next time you need to meditate at work, you can just take a walking break, which will help you get in some meditation time.
Validate your thoughts as they come
If you have a problem with getting rid of your thoughts while meditating, consider accepting and validating your thoughts as they come. Sometimes, our thoughts want to be heard in order to leave. See them and accept them without dismissing them and watch how easier meditation becomes.
Recommended Meditation Products
When learning how to meditate for beginners, you might need a little help from some meditation products. This is a list of products that are excellent during meditation.
1. HIGOGOGO Solid Square Seat Cushion for Meditation
A meditation cushion will provide a soft and comfortable location for you to practice your meditation. This HIGOGOGO floor pillow is made using skin-friendly corduroy fabric, and it has a bouncy rebound effect so it won’t sink to the floor, which helps keep your hips free of pain.
Lay this floor pillow in a cozy corner and light up some incense sticks to get into the mood for meditation and relaxation. Lower yourself into a lotus position with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and practice breathwork meditation. You can also use this meditation cushion in your reading nook when pouring over books.
2. BalanceFrom GoYoga Mat
If you like to perform yoga meditation, then you need a no-slip yoga mat. The BalanceFrom GoYoga mat is made using a high-density foam material that will cushion your spine, hips, and knees while you transition through different yoga poses.
You can also use this yoga mat when meditating while lying down on your back. Its half-inch thickness provides the perfect cushioning from the cold hard floor.
3. Tibetan Singing Bowl Set
If you have never heard of Tibetan singing bowls before, you might want to look it up. There are tons of YouTube videos that illustrate how to use these bowls. When you touch the striker to the bowl and run it over the edges of the bowl, it produces a beautiful calming sound. This Tibetan singing bowl is perfect for learning how to meditate for beginners.
4. Dancing Bear Healing Crystals Chakra Balance Kit
Dancing Bear provides a set of hand-sorted high-quality gemstones that are purported to have spiritual healing properties. This set comes with 7 tumbled stones, including amethyst, sodalite, aventurine, carnelian, citrine, clear quartz, red jasper, and 7 rough stones, including amethyst, apatite, aventurine, carnelian, clear quartz, orange calcite, and red jasper.
It also comes with a palo santo stick for smudging and getting rid of negative energy in your meditation space. All these crystals are essential for balancing out the chakras in your body. You can also lie down on your back and place the crystals on your chakras to regularly keep energy (chi) flowing. Learning how to meditate for beginners will be so much more exciting with this crystal set.
5. Nag Champa Incense Sticks
Incense sticks are synonymous with meditating in many cultures. They are a source of aromatherapy because the scents they produce inspire relaxation and calming. Scents like lavender and sandalwood have been proven to reduce anxiety in people.
Light up a few incense sticks to help you set the mood for meditation. Allow the calming smells to relax you and help you to get into a better state of mind. This Nag Champa incense stick set comes with 12 different scents to help you get the most out of your meditation session.
Answering frequently asked questions on meditation
In this section, we shall answer some of the most frequently asked questions on meditation.
How long should a beginner meditate?
Learning how to meditate for beginners might prove a little difficult initially. If you are a beginner, start with 5 minutes of meditation. Turn on a count-down timer on your phone and lie down or get into a comfortable seated position, then begin to meditate.
How long does it take for meditation to change the brain?
According to one Harvard neuroscientist, meditation can change the brain in as little as 8 weeks.
What happens to your body when you meditate?
According to this study, meditation causes reduced heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, and increased alpha activity in the electroencephalogram.
What are you supposed to do while meditating?
There are many things you can do while meditating. It all depends on what works for you. You can focus on the sights and sounds around you, you can focus on your breathing, or you can listen to a guided meditation video on YouTube.
Is it okay to fall asleep when meditating?
It is perfectly fine to fall asleep while meditating. It just means you got so relaxed that your body drifted off to sleep. Meditation usually involves staying in one position for long, which can lead to sleep.