Basic meditation for beginners guide – Techniques and FAQ’s

When I first started meditating I had no clue what I was doing and how it should be done. In this basic meditation for beginners guide,  I am focusing on this problem. As a beginner, we have a lot of questions around it. What is it and why should I do it? Is it about clearing your mind? Is it about stopping your thoughts? Is it about not thinking anything?

I have met a lot of people holding several misconceptions about meditation. Some would consider it as a Hindu or Buddhist tradition. Some people even tell me that they don’t want to wash out all their memories. Others are sceptical about confronting their own demons. Some even say that it’s useless.

Whatever the case be, you have come to the right place. We will discuss all these things in detail in this basic meditation for beginners guide. I always tell people to experiment with things before driving an inference.

What is meditation?

If you Google the term what is meditation, a massive search result appears in front of you. You will find a lot about meditation from people who claim to be the experts or people who have tried it or some wonderful teachers. The dictionary meaning of meditation according to Google is,

basic_meditation_guide_for_beginners_meaning_image

The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study and to practice.

There are some very specific definitions as well,

Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.”

People across the world have tried to define meditation in different words. For spiritual people, meditation is the medium which connects them to the source (the universe)For religious beings, meditation is praying. Praying to God makes them feel connected to supreme power. 

As a beginner, one might get overwhelmed by all these definitions. I too was immensely confused when I was starting my journey and would often refer to articles on Google to guide me. In the basic meditation for beginners guide, I have tried to simplify the definition of meditation. We can typically say,

“Meditation is the act of being calm and not letting your inner peace be affected by petty things.”

basic meditation for beginners meditation definition

Basic meditation for beginners

In this basic meditation for beginners guide, I have given two very simple meditation techniques that can be done anytime and anywhere. It can be done even if you have a very busy lifestyle and can’t seem to find time for a longer session.

Meditation works like magic and helps you alleviate stress instantly but remember it will not fix your life overnight. Meditation works on the root of the problem and takes some time and effort.  Consider meditation like a sport, you have to train your muscles to become a professional, similarly, you have to train your mind to be able to feel the results of meditation.

Breathing meditation for beginners

1. Sit in a comfortable position, cross-legged (preferred), on a stool or on a chair with a straight back.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Start deep inhalation and exhalation and feel your belly rising and sinking.

4. Count till 100. If you get distracted and forget the count, start all over again.

5. After completing 100 breaths in a row, sit in silence for 10 mins.

6. Gently open your eyes and try to stay in the silent state for a while.

Chanting meditation for beginners

1. Sit in a comfortable position, cross-legged (preferred), on a stool or on a chair with a straight back.

2. Close your eyes.

3. Inhale deeply and chant “AUM” with an exhalation.

4. Repeat the process for 50 chants. 

5. After completing 50 chants, sit in silence for 10 mins.

6. Gently open your eyes and try to stay in the silent state for a while.

Why should I meditate?

If you are new to meditation, you might find yourself asking why do you need it in the first place?

Meditation is an age-old science and the earliest of scriptures found were 5000 yr old.  There has been more interest in meditation lately due to research on the impact of meditation in the West. Meditative practices are now being offered in clinics, workplaces, colleges, and schools as a tool for improving health and quality of life.  

Apart from basic meditation for beginners techniques, we have also listed basic reasons to convince you to start meditation.

Seeking wisdom

If are on a spiritual journey already, have been reading about a lot on spirituality on the internet, you know about the law of attraction and associate some life events with it, you want to understand the purpose of life, you want some answers that even Google can’t answer.

Stress Management

If stress management is your reason to meditate, trust me you have chosen the right thing. We live in a world where we promote constant hustle and feel the burn-out quite often. The nervousness of a new interview, the grind of a startup, the palpitations before a public-speaking event are only a few examples of the stressors in our world. Meditation, when done regularly, can reduce the stress response to these situations up to 40% in a very short period of time.

basic meditation for beginners stress image

Source: http://www.mentalstillness.org/about-mental-stillness

Improving focus and productivity

If you are a student, an office worker, a housewife or maybe a business owner, distractions are just a click away. While electronics have made our lives simpler, they have also impaired our ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time. Meditation serves as a cure for the monkey mind and increases your ability to focus and avoid distractions.

Loving and fulfilling relationships

Experiencing difficulty handling loved ones or want more satisfaction in your present relationships, meditation can help you. Meditation helps you develop gratitude for small things in life and leave you unaffected by small tiffs with a loved one.

Battling trauma

Every person undergoes some trauma at a point in life. It is during these lows that people seek out for meditation. If you have experienced any trauma, a life-changing event or have suffered immense grief, meditation might help you cope from it. Meditation gives you a time to introspect and understand the dual nature of life when you have so many deep questions lingering.

Better skin

If you are suffering from acne and have tried everything already then meditation is your knight. Multiple studies have been performed in the past and few are ongoing programs in this field. There have been reports of up to 80% decrease in severe acne cases just by meditating over a good period of time. Even the disappearance of scars was faster compared to other subjects.  a study in 1998 of 37 psoriasis patients showed that those practising mindfulness meditation had more rapid clearing of their skin condition, with standard UV light treatment than the control subjects.

Other health benefits

Meditation creates a sense of balance in your thoughts and eventually your body. When you meditate, excessive secretion of the stress hormone cortisol is controlled.  Panic attacks, digestive issues like ulcers, gastritis, IBS have been clinically shown to improve in regular meditators. Meditation has long been recommended as a treatment for high blood pressure. Most studies show a reduction in blood pressure with meditation.

FAQ’s for meditation beginners

Is it a Hindu or a Buddhist religious tradition?

Meditation is not a religious tradition. It is a part of yogic science which holds a huge significance in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Meditation is a contemplative exercise and has been performed by monks from all religions to achieve moksha, nirvana or greater human powers. There is a mention of meditation even in Christianity.

How is it different from stress management methods?

Meditation is a more deep-rooted practice that not only helps in managing stress but also offers a deeper understanding of oneself. It will help a person become more joyful, peaceful and happy and attain a state of consciousness.

Do you need any Mantra for the practice?

A mantra is a word or a sequence of words in Sanskrit or Pali which is chanted during meditation. Meditation can be performed with or without a mantra. Usually, mantras were given by Guru (teacher) to their disciples in the initial stages of meditation to give them an instrument to focus on. Some people prefer doing it with a mantra like “AUM”. This is completely your choice.

Don’t try too hard to stop thinking

Having a control switch for the mind is one of the objectives of meditation, however, doing this from Day 1 is impossible. So don’t bother if you hear people telling you that it wasn’t a good meditation if you were not able to empty your mind. Meditation is like a training program and you have to be resilient to achieve the required state of mind.

Best time to practice meditation

There is no good or bad time to meditate. However, doing it in the morning can improve your concentration and efficiency throughout the day. Or if beautiful sleep is what you want you can do it before sleeping. Ideally practising meditation in the morning as well as before sleeping will be the best thing to do.

However, if you experience trouble sleeping or feel like your brain was thinking too much then you may want to stop meditating before sleeping initially. As mentioned above, meditation brings an influx of thoughts in the beginning and can sometimes become overwhelming. Try and find out what suits and stick with it initially for a few months.

Open vs closed eye meditation

Meditation can be performed both with open and closed eyes. However, for beginners, open-eyed meditations are very difficult and should stick only to closed eyes meditations. When the eyes are closed it is easier to focus on the inner being.

Where should you meditate?

Allot a little corner of your room to meditate or you can go out and meditate outdoors. You don’t need any fancy meditation mat or scented sticks to practice meditation. Don’t practice it on your bed otherwise, you will fall asleep. Try to practice at the same place every day. It will create a very conducive environment. If you have a meditation centre nearby you can try practising there. But then you will have to choose their suggested method of teaching.

What is the best posture for meditation?

There are several sitting postures for meditation. Give it a try and find the one you can sit in for a longer period of time without fidgeting. This is known as “Sukhasana” in Yoga, a posture in which you are at peace( Sukh=peace, asana=posture).

basic meditation for beginners postures

How long should the practice be?

Start with 10 mins initially once or twice a day (twice a day is better). You can stick with 10 mins or gradually increase the time as per your convenience. The greater the time you are in silence the better are the meditative benefits. But remember, there is no specific time frame to perform meditation.  

What will happen when you meditate?

During meditation, initially, the body and mind will release the trapped negative energies. The influx of the thoughts will be huge and it might be very difficult to keep up with it.  To experience the calm be ready to brave the storm.  

You might also experience some mood swings for several days initially. Some people might experience agitation, heightened anxiety or irritation. But every time you feel like giving up, keep in mind this is normal and happens to a lot of people.

However, some people might experience calm since the beginning. Don’t fret if you see your friend sitting there for an hour without moving while you are constantly fidgeting. Don’t let the articles fool you which says you will suddenly be transformed. Give yourself some time and trust the process.

Should it be done with or without a teacher?

Meditation can be performed with a teacher or on your own. It is important to find a teacher who possesses a proper knowledge of meditation and works towards your development wholeheartedly. If not, stick to self practice and read books and articles or guides like this basic meditation for beginners by trusted people to reap the benefits. You can also subscribe here if you like this article.

Music or no music?

Some people prefer to meditate with a slow and relaxing music. It is an individual choice, however, I don’t recommend to do it with music. Music is an external stimulus and hence has the potential to distract you. There are certain types of sound-based meditations as well but those are way too different than music-based meditations.  

Side effects

There are no reported side effects of meditation except happiness, calmness and positivity. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this basic meditation for beginners guide. Subscribe below for more such articles.

 

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