Meditation 101: How to Get Started
Meditation seems a bit “out there” when you first consider it but the benefits have been scientifically proven . . . repeatedly. And it’s really not as strange as you think. Most forms are simply directed relaxation achieved through structured thought—you consciously teach your brain to calm down.
There are numerous types of meditation—from transcendental and trance-based to Qi gong—but one of the easiest types to grasp (and most immediately beneficial) is Mindfulness. It’s a powerful technique that teaches you to concentrate on the here and now instead of worrying about what was or what might be.
But how do you start meditating mindfully?
Six Steps to Mindfulness: Meditation for Everyone
1) Start Once a Day
You don’t have to meditate for hours. One session per day is perfect for beginners. Each time you’ll get a little more comfortable easing into a mindful meditative state and each session will become more productive than the last. (Many people find right before breakfast to be the perfect time—you’re hopefully rested and the world has yet to intrude.)
2) Comfortable Clothes Make Meditation Easier
Don’t hit up Victoria’s Secret for yoga pants or eBay for a Zen monk’s kasaya. You can practice mindfulness in just about anything—no special dress code required. The key is being comfortable. If your clothes are a distraction, they will make it difficult to center yourself. If the belt is too tight or those shoes are pinching your toes, slip them off for the few minutes you need.
3) Sit Quietly in a Quiet Space
Can’t get quiet time at work or when the kids are home? Simply adjusting your atmosphere can change everything. Log on to Calm.com, choose your selection, and set the timer. The soothing sounds and hypnotic images ease you into that quiet space in your head whether you’re behind a desk, knee deep in toys, or buried under the laundry.
4) Breathe Naturally
There’s no set breathing pattern for Mindfulness meditation. In fact, if you try to find one, you’re missing the point. Your breathing should be natural. In and out . . . just let it happen.
5) Get Back on Track When Your Mind Wanders
It’s hard to be mentally still—even for five or ten minutes. The world we live in has trained us to be on the go 24/7. It’s no surprise that your first few meditative sessions are going to be punctuated by mental distractions. When you expect them, they come as less of a shock. Don’t waste time beating yourself up. Simply let go of the distraction ease back into your calm.
6) 10 Minutes Tops
While you may want to expand your meditations as time passes, 10 minutes is the perfect place to start. It’s long enough to get the benefits without cutting into your routine.