Maybe you’ve heard about meditation as a way to reduce stress, increase the quality of your sleep, and reduce the symptoms of certain diseases. Or, maybe you’ve tried meditation already, but you just can’t seem to get the hang of it.
If you’re new to meditation, this quick beginner’s guide will help you with a few tips that will have you getting more out of your efforts to meditate. Implement these suggestions, and you’ll find yourself reaping the benefits of meditation just like the millions of meditators before you did for thousands of years.
Getting Started with Meditation
Step 1: Create a calm, peaceful environment
One of the most important aspects of any meditation practice is the meditation environment. It’s important to have a dedicated space to meditate in—one that is free from distractions, loud noises, and other potential disruptions. For some, it helps to have some incense burning or some soft, calming music in the background.
Step 2: Get comfortable.
Before you begin meditating, get into a comfortable sitting or lying position. Try to find a position that creates the least amount of pressure on your joints and sit bones. During your meditation, it’s important to be able to remain as motionless as possible, giving your body ample opportunity to sink into a deep, restful place.
Don’t worry if it takes some time to find the right position for you. Not everyone meditates the same way, and no single meditation position is best for everyone.
Step 3: Focus on the breath.
As you begin your meditation, just focus on inhaling and exhaling naturally. Don’t try to force your breath; rather, just observe it and let it flow as it normally does. Take notice of how the air feels as it enters your lungs, receives heat from your body, and then leaves through your mouth and nostrils.
The cycle of the breath is an important motif for virtually all types of meditation. Learning to control the breath and using it as a tool for concentration will allow you to progress further into the deeper, more profound experiences that meditation can sometimes provide.
If you find that you’re unable to focus for long and that your thoughts keep wandering, that’s completely fine, and expected. When this happens, gently steer your concentration back to your breath. Before long, this will become second nature. Learning to meditate takes dedication and patience. With enough of both, you can become proficient at this ancient technique. Good luck, and happy meditating!