You may have read my blog Simple meditation techniques for beginners – it doesn’t have to be hard! where I outlined 4 techniques including a guided meditation with quite a bit of detail and explanation.
This time, I’m going to list 5 basic meditation techniques for beginners to simplify your meditation experience even more and I have included what I consider to be the best one of all too.
5 Basic Meditation Techniques for Beginners
1. Lay down or sit
Lay down on your back or sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor (use meditation cushions – behind your back, under your bottom or under your feet, a meditation bench (I love these and in a future post I will let you know what meditation benches I think are the best) or supports where needed).
If you choose to sit, the idea is to have your knees below your pelvis in a slight downward slant. This will alleviate any pressure on the lower back.
2. Breathe naturally
Breathe as naturally as possible. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth is good (your mouth should remain slightly open), but if you find this difficult just breathe in a way that is comfortable.
3. Resist nothing
Resist nothing – this includes your thoughts and any physical discomfort you may experience. What you resist persists, so just watch your thoughts and let them gently go. You can visualize them dropping off the end of a conveyer-belt – but something else may work for you.
And…come back to the breath.
When you begin to really notice your thoughts you will see how prolific they are and how they can snowball from one thing to the next and how these thoughts can generate emotions (and not always the feel-good ones). This is in part why we meditate in the first place – to start to realise the nature of the mind and the chaos it can cause.
If you feel niggles of pain or discomfort throughout your body, just gently direct your breath through these areas (without attaching thought to the pain e.g. my knee hurts, I shouldn’t have tried to surf etc etc) and see how these may dissipate.
Tip: “Accept” the thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations and just watch them.
4. Focus on something other than the breath
Believe it or not, focusing on the breath can be difficult for some – myself included at times.
So, an alternative to this is to focus on your heartbeat. This can be difficult to find or feel too. Why is this? We have become so totally detached from ourselves that often we can’t feel what’s going on inside.
Secondly, try sensing your body on the inside e.g. your hands – without touching each hand.
Finally, simply scan your body slowly from your toes to the top of your head and back again.
Focusing on your inner body will overtime become easier and you will start to become more greatly in tune with what’s going on inside and in fact will feel the wonderful aliveness of your body. You will even notice where certain emotions sit in your body and will be able to work on allowing that emotion to dissipate.
As with Basic Meditation Technique 4 – if you become distracted, just come back to focusing on your heartbeat or bodily sensations. Choose the point of focus that works best and is the easiest for you.
AND….INTRODUCING THE BEST ONE OF ALL (DRUM ROLL PLEASE….)
5. Stop Trying!
Yes, that’s right, shock horror – just stop trying so hard.
We are told constantly (regardless of what it is) to try, try, try and never stop – keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up, push through, no pain, no gain – I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Society tells us that you can never stop, well I’m here to tell you that sometimes that is the very thing we need to do.
One of the main obstacles to meditating is that sometimes we can try so hard that we put an unreasonable amount of pressure on ourselves to achieve some state during our meditation, force ourselves to spend a particular amount of time meditating or even try to assume the lotus position despite it being painful because apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Is it no wonder our resistance to meditation builds? Of course not.
If you find yourself becoming increasingly uncomfortable (of course, we can take measures to minimize this – which I will touch on in a later post), fidgety, frustrated or any other negative emotion or thought crops up (and these will increase the more you resist but also will appear to increase as you actually become more in tune and notice what’s going on inside) then forcing yourself to meditate for longer becomes in my opinion counter-productive.
So, in those cases, just stop! We very rarely, if ever, give ourselves permission to stop and it is unlikely that anyone else is ever going to give you permission to stop (except me of course). So, give yourself permission to stop, if you can’t, say to yourself “Martine said I could stop”. For me, this was an enormous relief (not just in meditating).
You will become better over time in managing your thoughts and the discomforts that arise, but to force yourself takes you further away from where you actually want to be or the benefits you wish to experience.
Meditation is about being present. To think about where you want to be is projecting into the future and takes us away from the present. This is what evokes our mental anguish and suffering generally (including thinking about the past too by the way, but that’s a topic for discussion at a later date).
To find out about the benefits of meditating read my article What are the benefits of meditating? Here’s 4 plus 1 more BIGGY!
Being guided can definitely help particularly when we are a beginner but sometimes even when we’re not. I’ve been taught and continue to be taught and expand my practise.
To help you on your way here are my Top 5 Best Value for Money Guided Meditations
I hope that this blog proves helpful to you. Please let me know what you think?
If you have any questions about this article or would like to know more about a particular topic that I haven’t yet covered, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below. Your feedback is appreciated.
Remember to go forth with ease and just be! Martine