Simple meditation techniques for beginners – it doesn’t have to be hard!

Whether you are new to meditating or have been “trying” to meditate for some time, my intention here is to provide you with some simple meditation techniques for beginners from the start to the end of your meditation session.

I also want to dispel some of the misunderstandings around meditation (though I will elaborate much more fully in subsequent posts) in order to alleviate some of the resistance that is built up around meditation and that subsequently prevents many from even starting and in some cases continuing.

For me, it’s all about ease and I hope to pass this sense of ease on to you so that you are more likely to want to meditate and reap the wonderful benefits of meditation.

So, let’s start!

Simple meditation techniques

Technique One – Loosen Up

Prior to meditating it can be useful to loosen up the body a little. I’m not talking about a major workout session here – a couple of minutes is all that you need.

You might just have a little stretch e.g. circling the hands and feet to loosen the wrist and ankle joints, lengthening the arms and legs etc through some simple stretches or jumping on the spot gently letting everything just flop. If you can do this – great, if you are not inclined to or for some reason can’t, that is fine.

Remember it’s all about ease and anything that creates anxiety, aversion or a reason not to meditate can easily be let go. Simple Meditation Technique Two is really about loosening up a little more but relates to the mind.

Technique Two – Mental Preparation – “I’m just going to sit”

Ok, so first of all I want you to spend a few moments preparing your mindset by letting go of any thoughts around meditation being “hard”, or that you are about to “try” to meditate or practise meditating (with the accompanying groan and panic). When we use certain language, this can for some people generate resistance to even making a start.

Instead, approach meditation in a way that shakes up any pre-existing opinions that you may have or have heard that creates resistance and instead create the language that speaks to you in a more positive or neutral way and that you feel is appropriate for you.

For example, you might think to yourself that this is a time just for you, time out, a healthy pursuit, good for your mind and body etc. One approach that I think is really useful is to say “I’m just going to sit” – no pressure.

“I’M JUST GOING TO SIT”

Remember that what you resist persists. Use whatever works for you.

As you will do during meditation, during preparation just watch your thoughts, don’t resist them or try to push them out, just watch them and then change your internal dialogue to prepare as mentioned previously with the use of “I’m just going to sit” or an alternative that works for you.

You may or may not be surprised to also know that many people are actually “scared” to meditate
though they may not be conscious of this.

Many people can’t bear to be alone, let alone quiet and still for this is where thoughts can get noisier for them and (subconsciously) they don’t know whether they will be able to handle what comes up.  Others are constantly distracting themselves in order to avoid the very thing that can bring them peace, greater insight and absolute joy – they just don’t know it.

Essentially most of us are filled with fear.  But, the beauty of meditation is that over time the gaps in our thought processes lengthen and within the space created is where we connect to our true selves and that will result in greater connection with others and life at the purest and deepest of levels.

Most importantly for your mental preparation is to just go with ease and don’t think too much about what you are about to do.

Technique Three – Find a quiet space and sit or lay down!

Over time, you can and will be able to meditate anywhere at any time but for now just find a quiet and comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed (a little unavoidable background noise is still ok for these days it can be difficult to find an absolutely quiet space, but again, we want to make it as easy as possible).

Sometimes that may mean not staying home to meditate, or if you are able, tell others within your home that you would like not to be disturbed for a short time.

There are schools of thought that suggest one has to be slightly uncomfortable in order to remain alert whilst meditating, however, certainly as a beginner I wouldn’t advise this.

Contrary to what is generally understood about meditation, meditation is actually about being relaxed but alert. Following meditation, one can actually become quite energised (but relaxed with it) as opposed to tired and lethargic.

Meditation position options:

1. Sit on a Chair

Sit on a chair with your feet placed on the floor about shoulder width apart.

Lengthen your back, relax the shoulders, extend the neck, rock your head gently from side to side and let your head come to stillness naturally, drop the chin to create a slight downward tilt.

Your hands may rest in your lap (with the back of the right-hand resting in the palm of the left) or on your thighs (palm up or palm down), rest gently in your lap or with palms placed facing up or down on your thighs.

If your feet don’t touch the floor (like mine..haha) place a cushion underneath them or behind your back (or both).  You don’t of course need to worry about putting cushions under chair legs.

2.  Sit on the floor, ground or a rock (sounds humorous – but rocks work wonderfully well!)

Sit on the floor with your legs crossed either with or without a meditation cushion or meditation stool (otherwise known as a bench). The meditation cushion or meditation stool is to assist with any discomfort or back pain as

sociated with sitting in this position and creates a downward slant in your position.

Ideally, your knees should be below your hips (this is where the cushion on comes in handy) in a slightly slanted downward direction (this alleviates strain on the lower back as your spine is more extended and will minimise discomfort and pain that may be experienced) and it is generally advised to sit on the floor with legs crossed, however, if this leads to pain or resistance to meditating don’t.

Please don’t worry about assuming the lotus position at this stage i.e. where the feet essentially sit on top of your thighs – it’s not necessary at this stage, if ever.

Lengthen your back, relax the shoulders, extend the neck, rock your head gently from side to side and let your head come to stillness naturally, drop the chin to create a slight downward tilt.

Your hands may rest in your lap (with the back of the right-hand resting in the palm of the left) or on your thighs (palm up or palm down), rest gently in your lap or with palms facing up or down on your thighs.

Tip: With all my suggestions, please do what works best for you.  We don’t want any one thing preventing you from meditating.

3.  Lay on your back

Lay down on your back, with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms slightly way from your body with your palms facing up. The downside to laying down is that you are more likely to fall asleep.

In a perfect meditation world….

What do I do with my eyes? If sitting, open or close your eyes. Ideally open your eyes and hold a gentle downward gaze on a spot on the floor approximately 1 metre in front of you.

What do I do with my mouth? Adopt a very slight and gentle smile and place your tongue gently behind your teeth. This helps with swallowing.

How do I breathe? Breathe normally in through your nose and out through your mouth if you can. Otherwise, do what works for you.

I want you to remember or imagine what it is like to watch a baby breathe. When they breathe in their stomach extends and when they breathe out their stomach contracts. So, breathe like a baby.

As we get older, we forget how to breathe and with the stress of daily life and our multitude of anxieties we begin to contract as we breathe in, only breathe in as far as the chest and actually hold our breath without knowing it.

Technique Four – Guided Meditation

There are many methods to meditating and I am going to share just one here.

Before we start, a common question is “how long should I meditate for?”. If you read my “About Us” page you will have noticed that I am not a fan of “should” because I think it prevents people from doing many things including meditation and is actually demotivating.

So, my advice is for you to meditate for as long as you can. One minute is better than nothing. You could aim for 10 minutes a day to start and work your way up. You may meditate in the morning and the evening or a moment here and there throughout the day.

It can be as simple as just watching the breath for 10 counts.

Let me assure you that over time, you will develop a strong desire to meditate and will miss it when you don’t.

PREFER A VERBALLY GUIDED MEDITATION

CLICK HERE FOR MY TOP 5!

Let’s begin your guided meditation

  1. Set an intention (e.g. to sit in stillness) and your timer for 5 minutes (if you think this is too long, let it go – remember to meditate only for as long as you can). If you start to think or finish with “I’m never going to do that again” or “I can’t do it” you’ve either “tried for too long and become annoyed” or have put pressure on yourself;
  2. Choose your position;
  3. Close or open your eyes as outlined above;
  4. Relax your mouth (soft smile), face and jaw and place your tongue gently behind your teeth;
  5. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth 3 times;
  6. Continue to breathe normally as you listen for sounds around you. Listen for sounds as far out as you can (the birds, traffic, people talking). Listen just to the sounds, try not to label them or engage in thoughts around them e.g. that sounds like a magpie or a truck;
  7. Move your focus closer to the room you are in or your immediate surrounds. Listen to the sounds as per point 5;
  8. Now move your focus to your inner body and feel the sensations in your body (without touch). You may start at your toes and work your way up your body. Continue to breathe. Notice points of pain or those parts of your body that feel good or neutral. Over time, you will notice how alive your body actually is i.e. you will feel your inner body as you never have before;
  9. Continue to breathe and now watch your breath. Watching the breath merely means to feel the breath as it enters the nostrils (feel the coolness), as it travels down your throat, through your lungs to your stomach and back up and out through your mouth (feel the warmth of the breath).
  10. You may count silently to yourself e.g. Breathing in one, breathing out, breathing in two, breathing out and so on all the way up to 10 and then backwards. This can be an anchor and can be helpful in focusing.

Continue on with your chosen approach for as long as you are able.

If you are distracted by thoughts or find yourself wandering off, that is quite normal. You can follow the thoughts (just try not to engage with it i.e. keep them going) and watch the thought drop off and just gently bring yourself back to your breath.

11. To bring your meditation to an end, start to reorient yourself to your immediate surrounds, listen to the sounds around you and gently bring yourself back into the room/surrounds.

If your eyes are closed, gently open them. Gently wake up the body by moving your fingers and toes.

Stand when you feel ready to do so and continue your day.

Be Guided

We all need a little guidance from time to time and especially when we are starting out.

So, check out my Top 5 Best Value for Money Guided Meditation or  Affordable Mindfulness Meditation Online Course Picks

These courses are definitely affordable with some being only $2.50 to $6.00 per day.

Alternatively, you can’t go wrong with Essential Meditations with the Master Eckhart Tolle.

I hope you have found this article of some help.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article or meditation generally or suggestions for future topics, I would be more than happy to receive them.

Go forth with ease and just be!

 

4 Comments

  • Enrique

    Hi, Martine,

    Thanks for the excellent recommendations. I’ve always wanted to try meditation, but for x or y reason I haven’t done it. I think it has a lot of benefits for the mind and soul. Every now and then it’s important to “disconnect” ourselves from the world and daily stress. I will definitely put into practice what you recommend.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Dan

    Indeed motivational medication is something that we all can learn just to loosen up. Some of which I was exposed to the concept but often don’t practice but reminder here not just the the method it is to do this and so easy in theory but difficult in practice or so we think. So thanks for the motivation but not only that but the technique and the reason to try with this easy straightforward article of just some techniques for doing that very thing.

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