There are hundreds of different ways to meditate. As I sit and write this, all kinds of instructions from meditation sessions are popping into my head…
Focus on the breath, sit down cross legged, relax, repeat a mantra, focus on the third eye, breathe, count to ten, close your right nostril, breathe through the left nostril, focus on the heart chakra, sit down in a chair, visualise, focus on the tip of your nose, imagine breathing out a white light…
You get the picture. Every meditation for beginners class I’ve been to has taught me to do something different. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that there are so many different techniques, but it can be unconstructive when people say that a particular way is the only way to successfully meditate.
This definitely isn’t the case. Meditation isn’t about following a rule book — everyone is different, so always treat meditation instructions as guidelines for you to adapt to suit you.
Meditation for beginners — before you start
- Don’t meditate on a full stomach.
- Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be easily disturbed.
- You can meditate in any position providing your back is straight. Sitting cross legged or on a chair with your feet flat is fine.
- In the beginning it’s probably best not to meditate lying down as it’s easier to fall asleep.
10 minute meditation
Once you’ve found somewhere quiet to meditate and you’re comfortable, close your eyes and start to focus on your breath.
The idea is not to stop your thoughts — if your mind is very active, just watch your thoughts play out like a film, but don’t pay them attention. Instead, focus on your breath.
Some people also find that repeating a mantra or a word can help to focus and relax the mind and calm the chatter going on in their head.
On top of this, focusing on a particular area of your body will also help. You could start by focusing on the area between your eyebrows or your heart chakra, or your stomach rising and falling with each breath.
Hopefully this hasn’t complicated things. When you start to practise meditation, play around with your focus to see which part of your body it feels most natural to focus on.
Then after a couple of experimental ten minute sessions in the beginning, try to stick to one technique and practise every day for just ten minutes.
Be patient — with time, you’ll notice how easier it is to still the mind and remain in the present. Once you feel comfortable meditating for ten minutes, you can then extend the time until you gradually build up to one hour or longer in meditation.
If you are new to meditation, there’s a great book called Inside Meditation by. It’s split up into bite size chunks that are easy to digest and explains everything from the history of meditation to what happens when people meditate.