The Meditation Guide for Beginners
Meditation can help you grow, flower, and understand what is currently unclear. That is what famous Osho said. If you feel like drowning in this crazy and merciless stream of daily routine, maybe it is a high time for you to learn how to meditate. Many people who felt unhappy, tired all the time, stressed, overwhelmed, or, on the contrary, empty and numb managed to find the inner peace by learning how to meditate properly day after day. And the best thing is that you can learn to meditate without spending your vacation money for an expensive meditation retreat or buying complicate meditation books.
The benefits of meditation for beginners
Meditation can be your simple, effective and convenient way of calming yourself in this busy and noisy world. Many people who have never learned enough about meditation that only people who have been practicing it for a few years managed to achieve a sort of “enlightenment” and peace. In fact, you can get the benefits from mediation since the first days of practicing it. The benefits of meditation for rookies include:
- An enormous calming effect. Your brain activity can increase a few times during meditation – it is a science-backed fact;
- Meditation can help you “re-charge” for having more energy to meet a new day or simply go through a very bad one;
- The meditation practice can increase the blood flow to your brain and, according to Zen and Bran book, rewire the circuits in the brain;
- If you learn even the beginner’s meditation, you can expect that your brain will need less sleep and its gray matter increases. As you probably know, gray matter provides the proper muscle control, hearing, seeing, emotions, speech, and memory functions;
- Many people learn how to meditate in order to become more concentrated and achieve the feeling of being fully immersed in something;
- Meditation can stimulate your brain on multiple levels and prevent its procrastination.
The necessary meditation supplies for beginners
People who want to know how to meditate for beginners may start from checking the necessary supplies for this practice. Most meditation classes and guides recommend the newcomers getting 2 basic things:
- Something to sit on like a meditation pillow or cushion (called zafu). Those people who have back or leg problems can use a meditation bench or chair;
- Use your smartphone as a timer. Or install a special meditation app that can help you focus on each session with the relaxing background music and some useful tips. Optionally, you can use a physical, meditation timer for your practices.
Top 8 meditation techniques for beginners
According to the basics of the buddhist’s meditation, those people who have only started to explore this mind rejuvenating and body relaxing practice can use 8 simple techniques for achieving the first success:
- You need to sit tall during the whole session. Use a special pillow, chair or just floor. Try a cross-legged position for the better convenience. To sit in a right way, imagine that there is a thread extending from the head’s top through your back and neck straight towards the ceiling. That is how you learn to sit tall;
- Completely relax your body. Don’t be afraid if you can’t relax for the first time. Just keep trying. You may try such technique for relaxation – close your eyes tight and mentally “scan” your body. During “scanning” you have to relax each body part one by one. Start with your toes, then feet and ankles, knees and thighs, until reaching the head. Keep in mind that you need to relax shoulders, eyes, neck, face, jaw, and tongue separately because they are commonly the most tensed parts of your body.
- Try sitting still and remain silence. Now, when you sit tall and relaxed, try to freeze for a few minutes. Just sit and be aware of your body and the sounds surrounding you. Don’t try to fidget.
- Deep and silent breathing is essential. You need to engage your diaphragm and lungs completely. However, the forced breathing is not your aim. Just slowly and deeply breathe in and breathe out, making sure that your throat, nose, chest and belly are “feeling” each breath.
- Find your mantra. This can be a sound, catchphrase or work that you need to repeat all the way through your practice. Mantras can help you focus. You may speak them loudly or to yourself. The simplest mantra for beginners is repeating something like “I am breathing in, I am breathing out” with each breath.
- Try calming your mind. As soon as you start relaxing and repeating the mantra, your mind will begin calming down. The thoughts will probably continue to appear but you need to simply acknowledge them, then set aside and return the focus to your breaths and mantra. It is okay if during the first sessions your mind will be filled with “inner monolog”.
- The recommended time of 1 meditation session for beginners is 5 to 10 minutes. As you become more comfortable with meditations, you can slowly increase this time. That is why you need to use a timer.
- Consider ending your practice by slowly bringing down the attention back to the world surrounding you. It is time to acknowledge your presence in this world again. Don’t stand up abruptly. Start from gently wiggling your toes and fingers. Then move hands, arms, and legs. And only afterward open your eyes. Take your time when getting up.
The expert tips for daily meditation
Most meditation books that claim to teach you how to start meditating, in fact, contain the same tips and guides for beginners. These tips are very simple and easy to fulfill even if you have a zero experience at meditation:
- Daily short meditations are better than weekly long sessions. Many experts agree that 10-minute meditation repeated daily is better than 70-minute practice once a week;
- Start with baby steps. If you begin meditating for 30 minutes, such approach may quickly irritate you. That is why try sitting tall and relaxed, at least, for 5 minutes during your first weeks. It is harder than you may think;
- Set up a gentle alarm. The loud timer can distract your attention while meditating;
- Try choosing a quiet place for meditation where no one or nothing can disturb you. In such way, you will be able to relax and concentrate better – your meditation can turn to be more productive;
- It is easier to lose focus when breathing out. Try concentrating only on mantra during your out-breaths;
- Don’t be too strict with yourself if your mind wanders instead of relaxing. Just calmly try focusing on your mantra again;
- Those people who can’t concentrate may try counting. You can count your own breaths until reaching 5 and then start all over again.
Learning the basics of meditation can anyone whose mind is open to the possibility of being relaxed and focused. Just prepare yourself that, like with any other skill, you need to practice a few times before grasping the idea of how to relax and concentrate during meditations.