A Beginners Guide to Meditation
What is Meditation?
Put simply, meditation is an attention skill, a skill that makes it possible for us to take responsibility for our own states of mind, and change them for the better.
There are many forms of meditation that encourage concentration, clarity, emotional positivity and a sense of calm. By practising meditation, you are able to better understand the habits of your mind and where needed, you are able to create more positive habits in their place.
Benefits of Meditation
Below are some of the mental and physical benefits that result from a regular meditation practice.
- The stress chemicals in the body are proven to drop
- Meditation can offer a way for people to manage feelings of anxiety and depression
- Reduced blood pressure
- Enhanced concentration, memory, and focus
- Meditation teaches you patience
- Pain relief
- Improved awareness, helping us to respond in less reactive ways to stressful events
How to Meditate
In a way that is relaxed but upright, the point is to focus not to switch off. We recommend sitting on a cushion, cross-legged. If that is not easy for you, you can be kneeling or sitting in a chair. Keep the spine elongated.
Close your eyes
Make sure to relax. This step is about tuning in to how you are feeling, so we recommend for beginners to take a moment to slow down and relax before beginning meditation.
Make no effort to control your breath. Allow your breath to flow in and out of your body as it normally would.
Focus your attention on your breath.
Focus on how your body moves when you are breathing in and out. Notice your belly, ribcage, chest, and shoulders move with each breath.
It is impossible to completely silence your mind of thought, so be easy on yourself, thoughts are not the enemy of meditation.
Aim for 2-3 minutes
is a good place to start. There are lots of resources on apps, Youtube videos and more that offer guided meditations to help you as a beginner.
Do’s and Don’t’s of Meditation
Don’t judge yourself for thinking during meditation.
Many people think that they ‘can’t’ meditate because they can’t ‘clear their mind’. It is a big misconception that meditation is about silencing the mind. The mind thinks involuntarily.
Do make use of resources or attend classes.
As a beginner, meditation can feel a bit awkward or silly or even impossible. Don’t go into meditation thinking you know how to do it, accept help from guided meditations online or from teachers in yoga/meditation classes.
Don’t label meditations good or bad.
You are meditating not to be good at meditation. You are meditating to improve your way of being in life.
Do celebrate your successes.
None of us will do anything for long if we are feeling like we are failing, so don’t strive for perfection. Be proud of yourself for simply having a go and trying to better yourself.
Do make it regular.
Your brain is a muscle, and when you meditate you are exercising that muscle. Like any other of our muscles, your brain needs consistency to get stronger.
How often should I meditate?
When you are starting out as a beginner, it is recommended meditating anywhere from 2-3 or 5-10 minutes per day. Meditation is a daily practice!
The most important thing is to start and the next most important thing is to be consistent. No matter how busy we are, we can all find 2-3 spare minutes in our day for ourselves.
Like anything, the more practice you invest, the more results you are going to see.
However, remember to be patient with yourself and with results. We are all different. Instead of putting pressure on your meditations, notice how you are performing in your everyday life, notice how you feel after each meditation.
Celebrate your successes and keep going!