Meditation has a ton of health benefits. It can not only help improve your mental health by reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and facilitating weight loss, but it can also help you recenter and refocus on what’s essential in life. When life turns stressful, or you feel like you need to take a pause, turn to this meditation guide for absolute beginners.
As a beginner or someone who’s never tried to meditate, it can feel intimidating. You might have many questions: How long should I meditate? How do I sit? Where do my hands go? Luckily, we have the answers! To get you going, we put together this meditation guide for absolute beginners. It’s simple, easy to follow, and will get you on the right track to refocus.
Before you start meditating, let’s address the answers to some common questions.
How long should I meditate?
As a beginner, ten minutes of meditation is an excellent start for the first week. Think about how involved your life is. When’s the last time you stood still for ten minutes? Taking this time for meditation will give you enough time to get comfortable within the initial prep time (about two to three minutes) before slowly starting to enjoy and embrace the calm for the remainder of the time.
The time will go by fast, but stick to a ten-minute session for the first week. This will help condition you into the transition. Over time, you’ll find that initial prep time will decrease, and you can add on more time as the weeks go by.
Where do my hands go, and how do I sit?
When most people think of meditation, they think of the standard pose of sitting on the floor, legs crossed, and both thumbs are touching any of the other four fingers (commonly known as lotus pose). As a beginner, meditation from the comfort of your own home is ideal. There’s no one specific way to position yourself for meditation; simply find a position that feels comfortable for you. Yes, there are specific ways to meditate, but the goal is to find calm, peace, and re-balance. So why not start with what works for you?
Lie down on a yoga mat, sit in a chair, or fill a bath with hot water. Whatever you want to do is fine. As a beginner, the goal should be to find comfort in your own space and body. As you transition, be open to more traditional meditation poses. Lotus pose can be challenging for beginners, and that’s why ten-minute sessions are ideal. It conditions you to get used to the position and helps strengthen and loosen your muscles.
Want to Try the Lotus Pose? Here’s How to Do It!
Meditation Guide for Absolute Beginners
1. Set aside ten minutes a day
Make meditation a part of your daily routine. Dedicate ten minutes every day to meditation. You don’t have to choose the same time every day, but always set aside the time to make it happen. Try ten minutes to start the day, get you through the mid-day hump, or to end the day before bed.
2. Find a quiet spot
Any space where you can be uninterrupted and find momentary silence is an excellent place to meditate. Find somewhere where you will have no interruptions. This means putting your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” If you feel like you need a bit of background music or plan to use headphones, keep your phone on but still turn on “Do Not Disturb.”
Try any of these meditation songs to get you into a peaceful space.
3. Close your eyes
Closing your eyes is tricky yet essential. Consciously staring into the darkness can be humbling and revealing. You’re awake and aware, but you’re staring into the abyss and letting your thoughts flow.
As a beginner, keeping your eyes closed during meditation can be challenging. You’ll have the natural urge to peek. Don’t beat yourself up if your eyes crack open a bit. Being awake and keeping your eyes closed takes time and practice. Just be mindful and fight the urge to open your eyes as you go.
4. Focus on your breath
Breathe in through your nose, breathe out through your mouth, and feel your breath as it moves through your body. If it helps, you can mentally say, “inhale, exhale,” or “in, out.” You can even try “expand, release.” Your mind will wander, and that’s okay! When it does, just bring your attention back to your breath.
5. Think whatever it is you think
Another misconception about meditating is that you have to follow thought guidelines. Meditation is your time to be free and alone with your thoughts. Sometimes, I meditate with intent. This is helpful when there’s something on your mind that needs your attention. Meditation gives you time to focus and unravel the different layers of a specific issue or idea that’s been on your mind.
Other times, I just let my mind flow. Sometimes it’s helpful to just enjoy the abyss and let your mind flow wherever it wants. This form of meditation is freeing and can help open yourself up to new thoughts and ideas.
4. Try guided meditation
If you don’t want to be in control, or you need some support on your early meditation journey, try a guided meditation. Guided meditation is a great option that allows you to let go and put an expert in the drivers seat. Guided meditation features a soothing voice and mellow music or sounds that take you on a journey to peace and re-balancing.
Many yoga classes offer it, and there are even meditation apps! Try Headspace if you want a guide.
You’ve enjoyed our meditation guide for absolute beginners, now balance the peace with a fun butt-kicking No-Gym Beginner’s Fat-Blasting Workout.
Originally published on December 12th, 2017.