I talk to people everyday who are interested in mindfulness or meditation but don’t really know where to begin. Unfortunately there is still a lot of mysticism around meditation and questions like “What exactly is meditation?” or “How do I begin meditating?” come up regularly.

If you are interested in learning how to meditate without going too deep down the rabbit hole, then keep reading as this is a minimalist guide to meditation.

What is Meditation?

Meditation has been defined by the almighty wikipedia as “a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.”

Meditation is not a panacea.  That said people have used meditation for centuries with the goal of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and increasing peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being.  There are countless scientific studies showing meditation can help improve in all of these areas and more.

According to Swami Rama from Yoga International… “Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.”

Benefits of Meditation:

How Do I Begin Meditating?

  1. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down. (BONUS): If seated, sit on a cushion or pillow (idea is to raise your hips a little higher than your legs).  If not possible, no biggie.  Do not let that deter you from meditating.
  2. Close your eyes and start to relax.
  3. Once relaxed, focus your attention on your breath.
  4. Focus on the sensation of your breath within your body (how it feels when you inhale, how it feels when you exhale).
  5. Notice when the mind/focus drifts away from your breathing and subtly bring it back to your breath.
  6. Set a timer for 5 minutes to start per session, increasing by 5 minutes after a couple of weeks of regular, daily practice until you get to 30+ minutes as your body adapts.

Meditation Tips

  • Create an intention for your meditation practice.  This can’t be emphasized enough.  Basically, why are you exploring meditation?  This will also help in determining what types of meditation you should be experimenting with.
  • Try to create a special place within your home or in nature that you use for meditation.  Make that your happy place.
  • Meditations will vary, but in most cases breathe through your nose on the inhale as a means to purify and slow down the breathe.
  • Experiment with various meditation postures, cushions and positions to find what works for you.
  • As you progress with your practice, experiment with different types of meditations such as mindful meditation, concentration meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, visualization, counting meditation, guided imagery, breathing meditations or other breathwork practices such as the Wim Hof Method
  • Put  any cellular/wireless/bluetooth device in airplane mode or turn off if possible.  EMF exposure can make it hard for your body to relax on a cellular level by disrupting the mitochondrial function.  The cellular will affect your cellular!
  • Set a timer to hold yourself accountable with your session.  Let your mind go until you hear the timer and try to refrain from checking the timer until you hear the times up alert.

3 Easy Meditations for Beginners

Beginner Meditation #1: Follow Your Breath Mindful Meditation:
  1. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit.  Ideally sitting on a cushion/mat so your hips are raised above your legs.
  2. Close your eyes and start to relax.
  3. Once relaxed, focus your attention on your breath.
  4. Focus your mind on how it feels when you are breathing in through your nose… focus on how it feels when you are breathing out through your nose.
  5. Allow a complete inbreath by noticing/sensing the breath go into your nose, into your abdomen, into your middle chest/lungs, into your upper chest/lungs.
  6. Notice when the mind/focus drifts away from your breathing and its sensations and subtly bring it back to your breath and the feeling going through your body like a wave.
  7. Set a timer for 5 minutes to start per session, increasing by 5 minutes after a couple of weeks of regular, daily practice until you get to 30+ minutes as your body adapts.
Beginner Meditation #2: Smile Meditation
  1. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down.
  2. Bring attention to your breath.
  3. As you begin to focus on your breathe, bring a big smile to your face.  Not one of those half-ass forced smiles… I’m talking best day ever grins. 🙂
  4. Focus on how good it feels to smile for a moment.
  5. As your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathe and how good it feels to genuinely smile.
    1. Variation: As your mind wanders, focus your attention on all of the incredible things you have to be thankful for in your life as you are smiling and breathing.  Be detailed and take nothing for granted!
  6. Set a timer for 5 minutes to start per session, increasing by 5 minutes after a couple of weeks of regular, daily practice until you get to 30+ minutes as your body adapts.
Beginner Meditation #3: 3-6-9 Breathing Meditation
  1. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down.
  2. Once relaxed, let go of the air in your lungs with a full exhale.
  3. Inhale for a count of 3.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of 6.
  5. Exhale for a count of 9.
  6. Repeat.
  7. When the mind drifts, bring it back to your count on wherever you are in the breathing exercise: the inhale (3 seconds), inhale retention (6 seconds), or your exhale (9 seconds).
  8. Repeat for 5 minutes to start per session, increasing by 5 minutes after a couple of weeks of regular, daily practice until you get to 30+ minutes as your body adapts.

There are countless types of meditation and ways to meditate.  Different meditations are like different doors that all lead to the same room.  Experiment and find something that works and resonates with your mind and body.  They are tools to be used for transcendence.  Enjoy the journey!