How to Meditate: 6 Easy Steps to Get Your Practice Started
Oct 27, 2022
By: Ashley Welch
The practice of meditation has been a mainstay in cultures around the world for thousands of years. With roots in ancient India, meditation in the most basic sense is the practice of focusing or clearing the mind in order to develop a deep awareness of the present moment.
The goal of meditation isn’t to completely shut off your thoughts or feelings, but to observe what’s going on internally without judgment. Ultimately, it is meant to induce deep relaxation and a tranquil mind.
You’ve likely heard that meditation comes with a number of benefits both for physical and mental health. These include stress relief, management of mood disorders like anxiety and depression, better concentration, improved sleep, and lowered blood pressure.
But how exactly do you get into a meditation practice to reap these benefits? While there are many different forms of meditation – from guided meditation to transcendental meditation to meditative movements like tai chi and some forms of yoga – perhaps the simplest one to begin with is mindful meditation.
You can practice mindful meditation anywhere at any time and do not need any special props or prompts. Below are six steps to get started with a simple mindfulness meditation practice.
1. Find a quiet space
While seasoned meditators will find they can practice almost anywhere from their bedrooms to a noisy train car during rush hour, it’s best to find a quiet place when you’re first starting out. This will minimize distractions so you can focus on your inner journey.
2. Get into a comfortable position
You’ll be better able to engage with mindful meditation if you’re comfortable but also alert. For most people this means getting into a seated position. For maximum comfort, consider the Float Meditation Cushion, which is ergonomically designed to help you find the proper posture for meditation, allowing you to focus better on your practice for a longer period of time.
You may also choose to practice meditation lying down, standing, or even walking.
3. Set a time limit
Especially when you're first starting out with meditation, it can be helpful to establish a time limit before you begin. This means you’ll come to a natural end of your practice and won’t be distracted wondering when you should stop.
Novice meditators may want to first try five or 10 minutes. You can set a timer on your mobile phone or an old fashioned alarm clock.
4. Close your eyes and begin to notice your body
Many people choose to close their eyes while meditating, but you can also keep a soft gaze directly in front of you. Begin to notice your body, for example, how your feet feel against the hard floor or your back against the cushion.
5. Pay attention to your breath
Start focusing on your breathing. Pay attention to your inhales and exhales, as well as the rise and fall of your abdomen and expansion and contraction of your chest. Notice the sounds of your breaths in and breaths out. Choose one of these aspects of breathing to hone your focus on.
6. Gently guide wandering thoughts back to the present
When your thoughts start to drift away (because undoubtedly they will!) don’t be hard on yourself. Simply observe that this has happened without judgment and return your focus to your breath. Continue doing this until your alarm goes off.
That’s all there is to it!
Congratulations, you’ve completed your first meditation. Aim to do this practice every day to start reaping the benefits. With time, you might increase the length of time you meditate and experiment with different forms. However, there is no need to put pressure on yourself to become a perfect meditator because there is no such thing. Simply relax, try to enjoy yourself, and remember to breathe!