Meditation Lessons for Beginners: Step-by-Step Tips on How to Meditate

The goal of meditation is to be able to focus and relax our minds, and manifest clear control of our self-consciousness and inner peace. But did you know that you can meditate anytime anywhere, no matter the hustle and bustle or ruckus around you? There is no wrong time or place where you can always find inner peace and tranquility for yourself. In this article, we want to introduce some beginner meditation tips to help lead you towards a path of inner peace.

 

Lesson 1 – Preparation
Find a quiet and peaceful place to meditate. Any place where you can concentrate and not be disturbed by external stimulation will do. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes or half an hour, most important for you is that you are not bothered during this period. This place can be your office or even a large closet, as long as it is a private space for just yourself.
  • For beginners, it is important to avoid not just people who might disturb you, but also external noises might interfere with your meditation. Turn off the TV, cellphones, and anything else that can make noises. If you’d like to have some music in the, listen to something soft and peaceful in the background so that it doesn’t disturb your inner voice. Some folks like the sound of running water. In this case, you can even open the faucet a bit and allow the continuous sound of that running water to calm you. 
  • A completely silent surrounding is not necessary. Hence, you don’t need to wear earplugs per se. The faraway humming of the lawnmower and the barking of the neighbor’s dogs are not things that can bother your meditation. As you improve, you will notice that you can more easily ignore such noises and concentrate on the meditation as those noises fade into the background of your consciousness. 
  • For many people, outdoor meditation is a perfectly good choice, as long as you don’t sit near busy roads or other noisy places. Find a spot to meditate, for instance under a tree, on your lawn, or in your garden.
When preparing to begin meditation, one crucial detail to keep in mind is mitigating any personal discomfort in order to maintain a calm mind. For instance, tight-fitting clothes, after a period of time, will only add to your discomfort. It is much better to wear loose, baggy clothes and remember to take off your shoes while you’re at it.
  • If the weather is cold, make sure to put on a pullover or cardigan. Constantly being reminded of how cold you feel will only make you exhausted and bring your session to an early end. 
  • If you are in an office or some place where changing your clothes is not an option, then make sure you are as comfortable as possible. If possible, you can still take off your shoes and jacket, unbutton the shirt and loosen that belt.
Before you start your meditation, it’s a good idea to plan how long you want to meditate. For beginners, start with 5 minutes a day and increase the length of time in small increments as you become more focused and comfortable with the process. For folks who are more experienced, try shooting for two 20-minute meditation sessions a day. 
  • Your meditation should take place at the same time each day. It doesn’t matter whether you meditate for 15 minutes in the morning, or 5 minutes in the afternoon, but consistency is important when it comes to establishing meditation practice as part of your life. 
  • Once you have determined to meditate at a certain time, stick to it. Do not ever waver, make excuses, or give up because you don’t see the results. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep practicing and you will slowly start to see the results. Especially in the beginning, persistence and discipline is all you need.
  • Try not to look at the time in the middle of your session. You can set up a soft sounding alarm to let yourself know when. You could also time the end of your meditation with an event, such as when your partner wakes up, or perhaps when the sunlight reaches a specific spot on the floor. 
Since you will be sitting in a fixed position for an extended period of time while meditating, it would definitely behoove you to take a few minutes beforehand to stretch. This mini stretch session before you meditate will not only relax your body and joints, but also focus and calm your nerves. The last thing you want while in the middle of your session is to start feeling tightness in your joints, or soreness in other parts of your body. 
  • For folks who are used to sitting in front of their computers for a long time, remember to stretch your neck, shoulders, and lower back. If you meditate sitting in the lotus position (padmasana), be sure to relax and stretch your legs, especially inner thighs.
Speaking of sitting, meditation traditionally consists of sitting in either a lotus or half lotus position. Pick a position that is most comfortable for you. If you’re sitting on the floor, it may help to lay a yoga mat to sit on. Whatever position you choose, make sure you are not bending at the waist and sit up straight. Keep your back upright and your center of gravity upwards. 
  • It is not mandatory that you sit in some variation of the lotus position. You can sit in a chair or firm pillow, if you prefer. There are even chairs specifically designed for meditation. These meditation chairs are angled slightly forward, helping to keep your spine upright and centered between your pelvis. Of course not everyone has one of these chairs, so one way to have your own makeshift meditation chair is to put books underneath the back legs of your chair so that it leans forward by about half inch to an inch. 
  • You should be completely comfortable and relaxed, your body straight with your spine holding the weight of your upper body stemming from the waist.
  • When you are sitting, imagine every part, every segment of your spine, from the tail bone or perineum area of your pelvis up through your shoulders to your neck, all equally supporting and keeping your body upright. It might take a little practice to find that balance, but the goal is to be completely relaxed in this position. If you feel the tension in your muscles, or if you cannot feel relaxed when you straighten your back, check and see if there is a particular area of your body where you might need to do some extra stretching or if you were bending and weren’t aware of it. 
  • In traditional meditation practices, you have a couple options for where to position your hands. One way is to rest each hand on either knee with palms facing upward and fingers relaxed. Another way is to cup your right hand with your left. There are other variations and forms for experienced practitioners. For beginners, simply laying your hands on your knees naturally or down beside your body will suffice. 
People can meditate with eyes either opened or closed, but as a beginner, meditating with your eyes closed at first works best, as it will help block out external disturbances and help you focus. 
  • Once you become more experienced with meditation, you can try to meditate with your eyes open. This is particularly beneficial to those who tend to fall asleep when their eyes are closed, or those who end up concentrating too much on their internal struggles that it defeats the purpose of meditation. 
  • When meditating with your eyes open, you need to strive for a blank mind; that is, try not to concentrate on one specific thing. However, a blank mind is not absent of mind or unaware. Remember: the goal of meditation is to feel relaxed, awake, and aware.

 

Lesson 2 – Meditation
Breathing meditation is a basic form and very suitable for beginners. Imagine and choose a point just above your belly button, focus on your breath, and feel your breath’s motion along a line down to that point. Do not try to alter the tempo or do anything out of the ordinary with your breathing. Just relax and breathe as usual.
  • Try to concentrate on your breath. The only thing you need to do is to realize the simple existence of your breath. Try not to think too much about the way you breathe. For example, do not think of the fact that this breath is shorter than the last one.
  • If it helps, you can imagine a scene to help you breathe as you meditate. For instance, you can imagine a boat floating on calm waters, bobbing with the waves that follow with each breath. 
  • If your mind begins to wander, no need to worry. You’re just a beginner, and practice makes perfect! As long as you pull back on your thoughts and refocus your energy on your breathing, you’ll be fine. Put all your trivial thoughts away for now, and be one again with your mind and spirit. 
Mantra meditation is another common way to meditate. You repeat a single spell such as a word, phrase, or sentence during meditation until you feel you are diving into deeper meditation with a calm mind. Anything can be a spell as long as you can easily remember and recite it.
  • As a beginner, you can choose a word as a spell such as “one”, “quiet”, “peace”, and so on. If a traditional Sanskrit spell is your choice, the sound “Om” can be your spell, which means “everywhere.” Sat, Chit, and Ananda are the spells meaning “existence,” “consciousness,” and “joy” respectively.
  • In Sanskrit, mantra means the “instrument of thought.” This spell resonates with your thoughts, keeping you away from distracted thoughts to sink into deeper consciousness.
  • Repeating the spell is helpful for meditation. Let the word or sentence you recite silently immerse into your mind. If you lose it again, don’t worry. Just regain that balance in your mind and switch your attention back to the recitation of the spell.
  • Once you enter deep consciousness, repeating the spell is no longer necessary.
Just like reciting a meditation spell, staring at an object can also have the same effect. For practitioners of open-eyed meditation, this is what many of them do to enter deep consciousness. For some folks, they find it actually easier to get to that sweet spot of their deep consciousness than reciting spells. 
  • Stare at anything you like. Well, maybe not that stranger sitting one the other side of the cafe. That would be weird and rude. Many folks feel most comfortable when staring at the spark of a candle. Crystals, flowers, pictures or statues, such as a Buddha statue, are among the many things you stare at to focus.
  • Whatever object you are focusing on, place it at a height where your head and neck can sit fully relaxed upon your shoulders, and at a distance as if you are looking at it upon the horizon. Stare at it until it is the only thing you see and everything else becomes blurred or out of sight.
  • As you stare at this object with full concentration, you will slowly begin to realize your manifestation of a deep peace within your consciousness. 
Using your imagination is another way to have a productive meditation. Simulate a peaceful scene in your head and explore it until you acquire complete tranquility. This scene can be based on anything that suits your taste, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be based on reality. So construct a scene however you would like as long it provides relaxation and comfort.
  • A white sand beach, a flourishing meadow, tranquil forests, or a cozy living room with a fireplace. No matter what kind of scene you have in mind, this is your mind’s church and sacred ground.
  • Once you enter your “church”, explore it freely. You don’t have to “create” the surroundings from something that already exists in the real world. Allow your mind and thoughts to have total freedom here.
  • As you explore the surroundings in your mind, try to see, hear, and small the sights, sounds, and odors. Feel the blowing breeze, or the warmness from a fireplace. You can stay in this place as long as you like. Follow and explore your mind’s spontaneous construction, thus making it feel even more real. Once it’s time to leave the church, just take some deep breaths and slowly open your eyes.
  • Remember that you can always come back to this same place next time you meditate or try a whole new one.
When you meditate, you can try focusing your mind on each part of your body, kind of like giving yourself a CAT scan. Meditation body scanning is a way to pay attention and be mindful of the various parts of your body. When you consciously “scan” through your body, you are raising your awareness and mindfulness. It is a simple and effective way to fully relax your body as well as your mind.
  • Close your eyes and concentrate on any part of your body. For instance, you can direct your focus from one end, such as your toes, and work your way up. Focus and receive the feeling from your toes. Release all tension in your muscles. When your toes are fully relaxed, move your scanning up to your legs and repeat the relaxation steps.
  • Relax each part of the body with these steps from your feet to your calves, knees, thighs, butt, abdomen, chest, back, shoulder, arms, palms, fingers, neck, face, ears, and head. The time duration for the relaxation process depends on you.
  • When every part of your body is relaxed, focus on your whole body and enjoy the joy of complete peace and relaxation. In the end, take a few minutes to rest along with your breath, and then end the meditation.
The heart chakra is one of the 7 chakras, also known as energy centers. It’s located in the center of the chest, and corresponds to love, empathy, peace, and tolerance. Heart chakra meditation can help you feel more in tune with those emotions and express them.
  • First of all, close your eyes and rub your palms together until you feel heat and energy being generated. Put your right hand at the heart chakra in front of the chest, and then your left hand on top of the right.
  • Take a deep breath and hum “Yom” when exhaling, which is a resonance syllable with the heart chakra. Imagine a glowing green energy ball springing out from your chest and entering your palms.
  • This green energy ball is love, life, and any other positive feelings you feel at this moment. When you’re ready, move your hands away from the chest and release the energy from your palms, delivering those feelings to anyone you love and the world.
  • Feel your body from the inside. Can you sense the energy field inside your body, especially that around your arms and legs? If not, it’s totally fine. But think about it, why can we move the different parts of our body? It’s all because there is an energy field flowing inside our bodies. Concentrating on the energy field inside our body can not only maintain your body condition at that moment but also make you feel the vitality flowing throughout your body.
Walking meditation is another popular meditation style. Practitioners of walking meditation do so in order to feel a close connection between their bodies and nature through walking. If you have been practicing sitting meditation for a while now, it can be a nice change of pace to switch to walking meditation for some variety.
  • Choose a proper place to practice your walking meditation. The less people and interference, the better. Small areas can suffice, but you should be able to walk straight for at least 70 paces without turning around. If possible, try taking your shoes off.
  • Keep your back straight, look straight ahead, and hold your hands right in front of you. Step forward on your right foot slowly and leisurely. Don’t pay any mind to the feelings coming from your feet; instead, pay full attention to your walking motion. Take the first step, rest for a second, and then take the second step, and so on and so forth. Don’t try to move both feet too quickly one right after the other. Your goal is not power walking. 
  • Walk to the end of the road, stop, and stand straight again. After that, move your right foot and turn back, walking the same path back. Likewise, walk slowly and leisurely.
  • During walking meditation, try your best to concentrate on the movement of your feet rather than other things, just like concentrating on your breathing during sitting meditation. Sweep trivial thoughts away and just feel the connections between your feet and the ground.

 

Lesson 3 – Make it a daily practice
Meditation is not limited to certain patterns; instead, you can practice meditation anytime in your daily life.
  • For instance, when you’re feeling too much stress, stop and focus on your breath for a couple of seconds to clear your negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Even when you’re dining, you can practice meditation. Concentrate on feeling the texture and taste of the food in your mouth and the eating experience.
  • In your daily life, whether it is sitting in front of the computer or sweeping the floor, be mindful and aware of your movements and the feelings that you sense through your body. This is daily meditation and can be practiced anytime anywhere. 
A healthy lifestyle increases the quality and effect of meditation.
  • Eat healthily, exercise properly, and get enough sleep each night. Watch less TV, and quit cigarettes and alcohol because these activities can actually dull your brain and senses, leading to the lack of sober consciousness that is required by a successful meditation.
Some people find that spiritual and religious books help them further understand meditation and obtain inner peace through attaining knowledge of spiritual matters.
  • If there is something you read, such as from classic texts, take a quote that really resonated with you and review it in your mind the next time you meditate.
If you have no idea how or simply cannot bring yourself to start meditation practice at home, joining a meditation class taught by experienced teachers can actually be very helpful. 
  • Even though you can learn most of the methods on your own, it may still benefit you to participate in a spiritual meditation trip to experience different ways to meditate and find one that is best for you.
Meditating every day at the same time plays a big role in helping you make it a part of your daily life to experience.
  • Meditating in the early morning is always a good choice because your brain is not yet occupied by daily stress and anxiety.
  • Do not meditate after meals. It is not just the food coma that might distract you, but you may also feel uncomfortable sitting in a fixed position on a full stomach. These discomforts will detract from your experience, preventing you from attaining the peace and mindfulness that you are seeking.
The goal of meditation is to purify your thoughts, calm your mind, and reach a higher level of the spiritual mind, which we call the realm of existence.
  • However, such lofty goals might take you decades to reach. To attain the knowledge and realize deep consciousness is what so many yogis and monks have devoted their lives to. So it is okay if you struggle, as long as you take those small steps and persist in your practice.
  • Meditation is a journey, just like mountain climbing. Every step you make takes you a little closer to the peak.
  • Once you have set off on your journey, don’t get too hung up on the meditation methods itself. As long as the meditation practice makes you feel more peaceful, joyful, and calm than before, then it should be considered a success.

 

Final Tips
1. Some folks feel the need to set an alarm. Remember to choose one that sounds soft and light. If the sound of the alarm is too loud and abrupt, the disturbance it causes will bring your session to a close on a very bothersome note. 
2. As you start to practice meditation, try to notice how you feel afterwards on the those days you practice. You should be feeling more calm, happy, and awake compared to the days when you don’t practice. 
3. Feel free to keep these lessons and tips in mind, but don’t feel the need to have to follow them strictly.
4. Taking a stroll, jogging, showering, or taking a bath can effectively relieve stress. Afterwards is usually a great time to start meditating.
5. As you focus on your breathing, you will become more aware of all the muscles involved in the respiratory process, from the muscles in your butt up to your neck. Although it might be difficult to notice in the beginning, all these muscles assist in the function of your diaphragm. If you start to notice it, then know that you’re in the right position. This position shouldn’t be difficult to maintain. In fact, it should almost feel like you’re floating on water. 
6. Everyone meditates for many different reasons. Some find that it’s the perfect time to ponder important decisions or explore their subconsciousness. Others may merely enjoy the opportunity to rest and calm their minds during meditation. For those who have religions, meditation is a way to communicate with a higher power or powers. 
7. Even if you do not attain your meditation goals, know that just the practice of meditation itself can bring you many benefits.
8. One person’s way of meditating may not be suitable for someone else. Try it out, but if it’s not your thing, don’t give up. Just relax and try something else.
9. You are not going to become a meditation master overnight. 
10. Some additional benefits of meditation: fall asleep more easily, improve an irritable temper, improve your mindset, improve memory and attention, relieve stress, a clear and sober consciousness, increase gray matter in your brain.
11. 1-2 minutes of fully concentrated meditation should be fairly easy for most beginners to achieve. If you find yourself easily maintaining a calm and peaceful state of mind, don’t just stop. Instead, try to lengthen that time for as long as you can. 

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