Learn Meditation: Ultimate Guide For Beginners
Updated: Apr 28
Buddha did it, Jesus did it and all the great yogis are known for it. Learning to meditate can bring some wonderful benefits and really nourish and enhance your journey with your physical Yoga practice at the same time. In this article I share details for any beginners wanted to become familiar with the practice of meditation.
“Your goal is not to battle with the mind, but to witness the mind.”– Swami Muktananda
How do Beginners Meditate At Home?
Meditating at home can be just as effective, if not more effective, than meditating in a class environment; I prefer to meditate alone, but everyone is different. The power of a group meditation can be so beautiful and supportive.
How do beginners meditate at home? Well, just the same as they would if they were in a class environment, but they are along. You can choose a specific place that you would like to meditate; some of my students have sacred Yoga spaces where they practice Yoga and any meditation that we practice in class. But truthfully, you can meditate anywhere you like; sitting at the kitchen table, on the lounge floor, sitting in bed!
You then decided on the time of day or night you will meditate? Will you do your yoga practice first, then meditate? Will it be in the morning first thing when the world is quiet. Maybe you will meditate before you go to bed, or will you grab a moment when you can? You get to choose unless you are joining a group class.
You find a time when you know you won't be disturbed or where you know you can focus for the length of time you have allocated to your meditation. I highly recommend having a routine and a dedicated time; this way you are scheduling it in, and it can become part of your routine.
How Do You Start Meditation For Beginners?
When you are ready to start meditating, all you need is yourself, a quiet space, a comfortable seat and some dedicated time that you can spend with yourself.
It is recommended not to eat a heavy meal before meditation, have at least 2/3 hour before you begin to meditate after a heavy meal. You don't want your body focusing on digesting. Yogapedia goes into more detail on the subject, but here is a quote from their site explaining more reasoning behind no food before meditating.
"Meditating on an empty stomach allows for less distraction. Foods affect our moods. Foods affect our minds. When you’re empty in the mind (and tummy) as you naturally are first thing in the morning, I believe meditation comes more naturally. You’re not distracted by your body’s digestive juices working their magic. If you’ve just eaten one of your three main meals for the day, you’re more likely to be distracted by a gurgling stomach." https://www.yogapedia.com/
Suppose you can cleanse before your meditation with a bath or shower. In that case, this is always a beautiful ritual you can do so your energy is lovely and clean before arriving into meditation. You might choose to light some candles or burn some incents in your space; you may even sage the area to cleanse the room (all optional).
Settle yourself into your seat and make sure you are warm enough. When you are ready to start your meditation, you can close your eyes or gently rest them on a point in front of you. It is your choice. Eyes open or closed, there is no right or wrong. It is your choice. I prefer closing my eyes as I feel it draws my attention and awareness inwards if the eyes are closed.
The most tricky part of all of this is when you come to sit down and settle into your meditation practice. For the outside looking in, meditation seems simple and easy but as you will soon find out is extremely difficult; During meditation, your goal is to keeps the mind focused on the point of attention.
"When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgment." https://www.mindful.org/
The mind tends to be busy; it has lots to think about, sounds to hear, tasks to complete, and our attention can be drawn away quickly. Below I share the steps on how to meditate as a beginner. If you would like more guidance and hand-hold on your journey with meditation, join my guided 7 part "Yoga AUDIO Meditation Course" that you can download below.
How long should I meditate for the first time?
Whether a beginner to meditation or coming back to meditation, don't overwhelm yourself with too long a sitting. Starting with 3 minutes EVERY DAY would be perfect and add to that over time. Staring with 30 minutes doing it once and not meditating again for another month is not effective. Over time try to build from 3 minutes to 5 minutes and even up to an hour if you are keen to do more meditating.
"Some great new data collected from users of the Lift goal-tracking app* shows that most beginner meditators started with three to five minutes. Even three minutes can feel like a darn long time when you first start meditating, so you could even start smaller." https://www.psychologytoday.com/us
What to think about while meditating?
When we begin meditating, the mind can think of many things; the aim is to have a focus where the mind can settle and rest. Even when the mind is focusing on one point, many thoughts will arrive; it is normal. When you become aware that your mind has drifted from the point of attention, be gentle to guide it back.
A starting point for new beginners would be exploring meditation with a focus on the breath; this is called a 'focus meditation', a much simpler meditation for beginners. There are many different types of meditation which I will share in another article.
"Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses.
For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention." https://www.healthline.com/
Meditation for the Beginners
Find a quiet space and quiet time.
Find a comfortable seat (spine long and vertical).
Place the Thumb and first finger together (chin mudra).
Close the eyes gently down of softening on a focus point.
Become aware of how your body feels the sensation.
Tune into the natural breath.
Follow the breath as it comes in and as it goes out.
Try not to alter the breath; watch it.
Follow the Chest rising and falling with the breath.
When you notice the mind has wandered, gently guide it back.
The mind is thinking, observing and deciding many things throughout the day, so when we are new to meditating and finally ask it to be quiet, it can take a lot of time to get the mind used to being calm and finding focus.
It seems relatively simple, but we have good days, and we have bad days; patience is the key when it comes to Meditation, patience and a lot of dedication. It can makes it easier and more enriching as a beginner to meditation to follow a teacher's guidance to support, guide, and have someone to share the experience with.
How do I know if I am meditating correctly?
When you start meditating, you may begin to wonder whether you are meditating correctly? Meditating correctly does depend on what meditation you are doing. If you do the focus meditation above alone, then to do it correctly, all you have to do is keep your attention on the focus point. The mind will wander; the body may take your attention, but when you become aware that you are elsewhere other than your focus point, you guide your attention back to the point of focus.
Below I share a guided meditation for beginners. You can follow the voice's guidance, and you can get familiar with meditation before doing one alone, this way you know you are meditating correctly because you are being guided and supported towards your focus point.
Guided Meditation for Beginners