Beginning meditation the right way
Beginning meditation can be a difficult task. Some meditation beginners let the long, uncomfortable time spent sitting prevent them from meditating, or they find another excuse why meditation is not for them. This should be over now. In this article you will learn everything you need to know to start meditating immediately and stick with it.
What’s the definition of meditation?
If you had to describe meditation with only one sentence, then with this one: Meditation is about bringing the mind to rest by directing it towards a meditation object.
Many people believe that meditation is about stopping their thoughts. In reality, our aim is to divert the thoughts and bring them to rest. We take advantage of the fact that our mind can only be occupied with one thing at a time.
We often have the feeling that all our thoughts and emotions are raining down on us at the same time. They come so quickly one after the other that it seems like a whirlwind of negative thoughts.
So, in order to escape this whirlwind and prevent the mind from jumping back and forth, we focus our attention on a single object. This object can be either a physical object, a mantra, an image, our body or our breath.
The benefits of meditation
Scientific studies have found that meditation leads to a healthier and more fulfilling life on many levels.
Meditation helps to:
- strengthen the immune system
- reduce stress
- increase creativity
- improve memory and concentration
- increase mental strength
- enhance your self-perception
- improve your handling of emotions
- ease pain
- prevent burnout
- alleviate depression
As you can see, meditation is a great way to improve the quality of your life.
Meditation techniques for beginners
Even though mindfulness meditation has its origins in Buddhism, you don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice it. The beauty of mindfulness meditation is its simplicity and non-religious character.
Both of these features make it one of the beginner meditation techniques par excellence. You can learn the basics of mindfulness meditation in a very short time, even without a meditation guide.
Mindfulness means an open and accepting attitude towards everything that is happening around you. While most people live their lives on autopilot, mindful people perceive every moment, no matter how small.
Many people think of the classic “Om” when they hear the word meditation. This short Sanskrit syllable, which by the way symbolizes past, present and future, is also a mantra that can help you meditate. However, there are many other mantras that you can choose from.
In principle, every syllable, every word and every sentence is suitable for a mantra. The important thing is that you associate the mantra with something positive.
So obviously in a mantra meditation the object of your meditation is your self-chosen mantra. While you meditate, you try to breathe calmly and concentrate on your mantra. You can say it when you exhale or just recite it in your head.
If your thoughts tend to wander during this process, you can imagine a beautiful place in front of you with your eyes closed. For example, think back to a situation in your life where you felt comfortable. Freeze that moment and relive it from different angles.
Transcendental Meditation is one of the most popular and effective relaxation techniques of all, which can be learned by beginners within a few sessions. If you begin with Transcendental Meditation today, you will experience a noticeable difference within a few days.
Transcendental meditation differs from other meditation techniques in that you will not learn to control your mind through concentration. Rather, the point of this meditation technique is to initiate a natural process in which your mind turns to a state of inner silence by itself. All of this should happen without any effort.
How to start meditation
“How can I start meditation as a beginner?” I hear you ask. Well, the best way to start as a beginner is to be guided by meditation teachers, videos or apps. So that you know which of these three ways is the right one for you, we will introduce you to all three methods.
Guided meditation courses for beginners
What are the benefits of guided meditation?
You don’t need any skills: If you have no experience with meditation, guided meditations are the easiest way to beginning meditation. All you need to do is sit down and listen. Your meditation teacher will teach you the meditation step by step and provide you with immediate helpful tips if you encounter any difficulties.
You are not alone: When meditating under the guidance of an experienced meditation instructor, you do not have to constantly think about what you want to focus on next and let yourself fall more easily. You put the responsibility for your relaxation into the hands of someone else and give up control almost completely – a truly liberating feeling.
Afterwards you will also have the opportunity to share your meditation experience with other participants. This can be incredibly motivating.
It is easier to find your way back to your focus: At the beginning it is completely normal that your thoughts start to wander. As a beginner, however, you will often find it difficult to remember what you actually wanted to focus on. This is different with guided meditation.
In guided meditation the teacher will constantly remind you what you should focus on. The more you meditate, the more often you may fade out the teacher’s voice of the teacher. This is a good sign, because you listen more to yourself and gradually shield the outside world.
What speaks against guided meditation?
Little room for personal exploration: In a guided meditation you are bound to the tempo of the teacher and cannot let your intuition guide you freely. In some moments you will feel disturbed in your experience by the teacher, because you would like to concentrate on a certain object for a little longer.
Your attention remains in the outside world: guided meditation often prevents you from completely exploring yourself, as you are constantly receiving new impulses from outside. You are always with one leg in the physical world waiting for new instructions. In this way it can be difficult to dive deeper into meditation.
Tip: If you feel the need to listen deep inside yourself, you should find a quiet place without teachers and other people around you.
Disrupting factors: There are countless meditation guides with different voices and speech patterns that all perform their meditation differently. Some use music, others rely on natural sounds, some play on the singing bowl during meditation or try to create complete silence. If just one of these factors disturbs you, it can complicate the whole meditation.
Tip: Before you decide on a meditation course, you should definitely have tested different meditation schools.
Beginning meditation with videos
Another form of guided meditation for beginners are meditation videos. On video platforms like YouTube you can find countless guided meditations in video form. For you, we have put together a list of the largest meditation channels:
|Meditation channels for guided meditation|
|The Honest Guys|
|Rising Higher Meditation|
|PowerThoughts Meditation Club|
|Infinite Love Meditation Club|
Beginning meditation with apps
|Calm||iOS / Android||Mindfulness meditation, breathing techniques, sleep stories, mindful walking|
|Headspace||iOS / Android||Mindfulness meditation, sleep music, nature sounds|
|Stop, Breathe & Think||iOS / Android||Mindfulness meditation, yoga videos, acupressure videos, mood journal|
|The Mindfulness App||iOS / Android||Mindfulness meditation, personalized meditation, statistics|
|Sattva||iOS / Android||Mantra meditation, meditation journal|
Meditation tips for beginner
Don’t worry about posture
Here is some good news: Your posture does not play a major role in meditation.
While an upright posture is good for allowing your breath to flow freely, it is not necessary for diving into the mind. It is only important that you feel good and enjoy meditating so that you do it regularly and don’t give up after the first few minutes.
Can I meditate in bed?
Now that you know that the posture doesn’t matter, you surely ask yourself whether you can meditate lying down just before going to bed. The answer is yes, you can, but you shouldn’t.
Don’t get us wrong. If it helps you relax, you can lie down to meditate, but your bed should be reserved for sleeping only. So find a place in your apartment where you do nothing but meditate. You can still listen to sleep stories in bed if they help you relax though.
How long should I meditate?
The duration of your meditation is a very individual decision. There are monks who do nothing else all day long. Of course, as a busy person you have to find time for other things, so 20 minutes should suffice for beginning meditation. This amount of time is enough to come to rest and to return to the physical world very gently.
If you feel stressed in the course of the day, you can also take a few short meditation sessions. 3-5 minutes of conscious breathing can already work wonders. Basically, meditate as often and as long as it feels right for you.
When do I need a meditation guide?
If you meditate for a while, eventually you will reach a point where self-exploration cannot go any deeper. At that point, the time has come to enroll in a meditation course and seek advice from an experienced meditation teacher.
Beginning meditation with a book
Did you like our meditation tips for beginners? If so, download our free “Meditation for Relaxation” e-book. Here you will find some additional information about meditation poses and advanced techniques that will take your meditation to a new level.