Welcome to the World of Meditation: A Guide for Beginners
by Olivia Whiteman
If you are new to the world of meditation, welcome! Meditation has proven to be a knight and shining armor. Studies have shown that even a single minute of deep breathing works to calm the mind and body.
Most people turn to meditation because too much is going on in their heads. If you find you struggle with stress, anxiety and negative thinking, sometimes or constantly, it is hard for you to easily slow down your thoughts and relax or fall asleep at night, or when you notice your mind wandering off to thoughts of people, places and things in our past, present or future, and you want to how to shift your focus to something that will allow you to be still and at peace, meditation is a great tool for you. Your mind is always working, from keeping all your organs functioning, to thinking about your day. You are never going to stop your mind from thinking, but there are ways to improve the quality of your day and slow things down so that clarity and increased tranquility is part of it. There are several tools that you can use. The one I want to focus on is meditation.
Before, I share the steps to take for meditating, here is one bit of advice for you. Make time to meditate. The same time we all use to scroll our lives away on social media can be used to practice a simple minute of deep breathing. Frequent one-minute deep breathing sessions throughout your day can work wonders. There are 24 hours in a day. Use them to your advantage.
Here are the seven steps to meditating:
Step One: Your environment
Make sure you’re comfortable and that the temperature of the room is comfortable. If you need to put on a sweater or a blanket, that’s fine. Make sure you have one easily available. Some people find they get colder when meditating.
Step Two: Your position. Do what works best for you!
Sit in a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor, as this helps ground you. Focus on lengthening your spine to avoid slouching.
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed.
Stand up, if you prefer.
Lie down. This is my favorite! I personally meditate lying down as it is the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to sleep.
Step Three: Your eyes
Close your eyes.
Or keep them open, but lower your gaze downward.
Step Four: Your hands
Place your hands on your lap with your palms facing up.
OR place your hands on your belly so you can focus on how your belly expands and contracts with each breath and when you notice your mind wandering away to other thoughts, it will be easier to bring it back to your belly and your breath.
Step Five: Your breath
Take a deep breath. Breathe in from your nose, hold your breath, and release, exhaling from your mouth.
Do this several times.
Don’t force the breath.
If you prefer to breathe only from your mouth or nose, do so. Do what works for you.
When you first begin you may notice your breath may be somewhat shallow. As you take more breaths, your lungs will fill up with increasing capacity and your breaths will become deeper.
Step Six: Your Mind
Be mindful of where your mind wanders during meditation. When you catch yourself wandering, bring your thoughts back to your breath.
Allow any sounds or thoughts that interrupt your meditation to enter without judgment.
Everyone meditates differently, and that is completely OK. If you feel like you can’t meditate in silence, put on music. Choose the type of music that works best for you to feel relaxed. If you can’t sit in silence or with music, then look at a vase of flowers, and focus your attention on the color, the petals, the beauty. If none of the above allows you to slow your mind down, perhaps a coloring book will. People have found that using colored pencils and a coloring book is very de-stressing. There are all kinds of coloring books. Mandala coloring books seem to be a favorite.
Step Seven: When ending the meditation
When ending your meditation session take one last breath in and release.
When you open your eyes also wiggle your fingers and toes or do some ankle pumps.
Now you are ready to rise and continue your day in a calmer and more relaxed state of being or ease.
I love meditating and my passion is to guide people on their meditative journeys. If you’d like to have private one-to-one guided meditations, or to participate in duo (couples, sisters, best friends) or group sessions, you can make arrangements by contacting me at email@example.com. No matter where you live, you can utilize Facetime, Skype, Zoom and other opportunities to connect and meditate. Currently people, as far away as Australia and Ireland, or nearby in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, take advantage of my guidance, I’d love to meet some of you too.
Enjoy your meditation practice. If you keep up a daily practice, you too will soon be saying, “I meditate and I love it.”