Meditation guide. I thought it was time to write an epic, down-to-earth meditation guide for beginners. I mean…
Whole books have been written on the topic, but when it comes down to it, how do you get started?
Do you just sit down and think about your breath? Are you supposed to have a certain pillow or chair? Is there an app for that?
Never fear! You’ll learn everything you need to know in this step-by-step meditation guide.
What is Meditation?
Simply put, meditation is the act of bringing awareness to your thoughts, breath and self.
The whole point of this practice is to clear your mind and enjoy its many benefits. This helps you to feel calmer and raises your vibration (which is a whole other bucket of awesomeness!)
Other benefits of meditation include:
- Connecting you with your Higher Self (the spiritual part of you that understands your life purpose)
- Cleansing your aura
- Helping you manifest your dream life
- Grounding you
- Getting rid of negative energy
- Improving journaling insight
- Connecting you to your Spirit Guides
- Reducing stress
- Strengthening your intuition
- Bringing you ever-needed perspective
Meditation brings awareness to what goes on in your mind and allows you to become an observer of your thoughts.
Your mind is like a jam-packed freeway
Picture your mind as a jam-packed freeway — I’m talking L.A. traffic, here!
Each car is a thought, and normally you’re hopping all over the freeway, trying to catch the thoughts (cars), only to end up feeling exhausted and confused.
Meditating pulls you out of the traffic and puts you on the side of the road.
It allows you to observe the thoughts that are flying by, but NOT chase them down and wear yourself out.
In a nutshell, it makes it easier to stay objective in situations and find clarity in your feelings and reactions.
If you get only one thing out of this meditation guide, let it be this: There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
At the end of the day, meditating is deeply personal and relative to the situation.
How to do Meditation: Step-by-Step
It’s easy to get started with meditation.
Many people make it more difficult than it needs to be, but it’s easy with these steps:
- Step 1: Find a good time. Anytime is a good time to meditate, but most people have a favorite — a time when they are most alert or don’t feel rushed. Some prefer the morning, when they know they won’t fall asleep; others prefer midday or bedtime. The best time to do meditation is the time that’s right for you!
- Step 2: Choose a place. It should be a quiet area where you can relax and not be disturbed.
- Step 3: Find the right amount of time. People learning how to do meditation often ask, “How long should I meditate?” There’s no set amount of time that is best; it’s up to you! If you want to start with 5 minutes, great. Then, gradually move up to 10-15 minutes, or more.
- Step 4: Sit comfortably. Sit with your spine straight and head up with your shoulders back, but relaxed. Slightly part your lips (which sounds weird, but helps).
- Step 5: Be mindful of your breath. Feel your belly expand as you breathe in, and contract as you breathe out. If you prefer, focus on the sensation of breath coming in and out of your nostrils.
- Step 6: Notice thoughts and feelings. Your mind will wander at first… What am I going to make for dinner? Did I mail the car payment? There’s no way to totally stop thinking, so let that idea go. Instead, notice what thoughts, feelings and sensations come up, but don’t try to change them… Just notice them, like a cloud floating by, then bring your mind back to your breath. I’ll think about everything later. Breathe…
Many people use mantras — a repeated word or phrase — to help them focus. Buddhist monk and spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh, recommends:
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
- Step 7: Ending the meditation. When you are done, enjoy the positive energy for the rest of the day!
Other Types of Meditation
Best news ever? There are different ways you can do meditation!
Many people enjoy using guided meditations or binaural beats, especially when they are first starting. These are both fab ways to get your mind used to focusing for a period of time.
Guided meditations are a good place to start. They allow you the freedom to explore your mind but also provide structure and help you focus.
During a guided meditation, a recording will ‘guide’ you through the process with phrases like, “Relax your shoulders…”
All this means is to focus on that part of your body and allow it to relax, releasing tension.
You may also be asked to do a ‘body scan’, which is easy.
All you need to do is be aware of your body, and notice where you feel tension. Are your shoulders tensed up? Is your stomach clenched? Are you pursing your lips? Now, try and relax the spots you find tension in.
Beginner Meditation Tools
First things first, all of these tools are optional. Meditating is personal, and a lot of people like a lot of different things!
But, from a 10-year meditation veteran, these are some things you might like to try:
Guided Meditation App or Track
If you choose to try guided meditation, you’ll notice there are a lot to choose from out there! Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of different ones or fall in love with just one.
- I’ve used Headspace for awhile now and I love it
- There is also Calm and Mindfulness
- Meditations can also be found on YouTube
- You can also grab a copy of the guided meditation that I created
Meditation Beads (Mala Beads)
If you are going to pick up any of the tools in this meditation guide, I would go for a mala.
Malas are gorgeous strings of beads that you hold during meditation to help you stay focused, or keep track of how many times you’ve recited a mantra (if you choose to use one).
To use mala beads and mantras:
- As you meditate, rub each bead and repeat your mantra of choice. I often meditate on the phrase, “It is well with my soul,” because it immediately calms me.
- Another tip is to think of a feeling that you want to have right now, like peace or clarity. Repeat that word in your mind as you rub each bead.
- Om is an excellent mantra for meditation beginners because it holds a very high vibration.
Om has many meanings. I was taught that it means oneness, and is intended to unite us (the human race) as a group. Spiritual folks define it as a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of a lot of Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts.
Salt lamps are all the rage right now and you might have wondered what all the fuss is about.
Basically, positive ions (which actually leak negative energy) are created in different ways, including electromagnetic (EM) radiation from our electronic devices. (Note to self: stop sleeping with cell phone.)
These ions sap our energy, leaving us feeling drained.
Salt is a natural conduit and grabs ahold of these positive ions and changes them into negative ions, which emit positive energy.
So, you can see why I’m recommending a salt lamp in this meditation guide!
Essential Oils and a Diffuser
I love diffusing oils while I meditate. Something relaxing (like lavender) can set the tone for an amazing meditation.
Bonus: Many essential oils also help dispel negative energy!
Comfortable Chair or Meditation Mat
It can be tough to quiet your mind when your knees are crying out for a position change.
That’s why you should get creative in your space so you enjoy being there (for me, a fuzzy blanket is a must). It will improve your meditation and lift your energy.
- Some people like to sit on the ground during meditation because it connects them to the earth.
- Others like to sit in a chair and plant their feet on the ground like roots. (This is the recommended method for beginners.)
The choice is up to you! Plus, you can switch it up based on your meditation selection (if you’re choosing guided ones) or your mood.
Journal and Pen
Since meditating focuses on clearing your mind, it’s likely you will get some really good thoughts and ideas coming to you.
You don’t want to interrupt your flow to hunt for a pen in your “misc. drawer,” so keep a pen and journal near you and let those ideas flow!
I mention a timer in this meditation guide so that you’re not checking the clock every few minutes. Set your timer for whatever amount of time you choose and you’re good to go!
Meditating should never feel like a chore; it should be something that you look forward to, that helps clear your mind. It’s a rejuvenation for your body, mind and spirit!
If you’ve gotten this far in the meditation guide and still aren’t jazzed up about clearing your mind, it’s okay!
It should never be a chore, and there are plenty of meditation alternatives such as:
- Going for a walk in the park (nature is awesome for clearing minds)
Once you’ve tried these alternative methods, you may feel ready to give it another go. Start out with walking in the park or on the beach, then, work your way up to a guided meditation.
Meditation Guide Takeaways
- Meditation is a deeply personal, non-judgmental task.
- There’s no way you can mess up learning how to do meditation — and one of the great benefits is that perfection becomes less important. (Letting go is kind of the point.)
- It can be easy to lose focus at first — so don’t give up or lose heart if that happens! Remember, your brain is wired to keep you active and productive.
- Most people find meditation so relaxing and rewarding that they want to spend more time doing it, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment by starting at 20 minutes. It’s better to start slow and build up time as you practice.
- Meditating brings us back to the present and promotes inner peace. It connects us to our Higher Self and increases our spiritual health, which helps us find purpose and insight.
- If traditional meditation isn’t your jam, you have other options! So really, there’s no reason to not dust off your cozy chair and get started.