Meditation For Beginners – The Basics

If you’ve never meditated it can feel overwhelming to think – “you mean I have to sit in silence for 20 minutes and do nothing?”

Or this, “But I’m a Ferrari, I only have one speed, overdrive” (as one of my new Tweeps said to me recently) or “I don’t even have 20 minutes of free ME time to sit in silence”.

Meditation For Beginners

While all of the above are valid concerns – I urge you to give Meditation a try.

Let’s break it down – here’s the simplest definition.

ˈmedəˌtāt/

verb

1. 
Think deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

Ah yes, that sounds wonderful, right?  Here’s where the rub is for most of us – those two  words “in silence” can leave many of us feeling as if it’s an impossible mission.

How do we get “silent” in a world full of noise from the minute we rise to the moment we drop into our beds at night? There is stimulation coming at us from every outlet in every direction via our computers, our phones, our iPads, our TVs, our offices, our cars and our streets.

Overstimulated World

These silence stealers come at us in the form of emails, texts, IM’s, pings, pokes and winks, downloads, uploads, alerts, Rss’, sales pitches and vines – it’s enough to make you want to stick your head out of the window and scream “I’m not gonna take it anymore” – but then the moment passes and you lunge for your phone to see who’s followed you – who’s friended or pinned you – and on and on the cycle goes.

So how do we find a way to turn it off and get silent? Especially, when the vision in your mind may be of a room full of monks chanting OM and you feel that meditation is only for “them” not for me.

To me, meditation is personal, from the way you do it – to the length of time you do it, to whether you use music, a mantra, sit on a pillow or a chair – it’s personal and no one can really dictate the “right” way to meditate.

But what is key is to find what works for you and give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose but a few silent momentsJ That’s the worst case and the best case is that it calms you, de-stresses you, rejuvenates you and inspires you etc.

Got 10 minutes? Here are 9 easy steps to get started:

photo by Sebastien Wietz
photo by Sebastien Wietz

Location

Find a quiet place in your home or outdoors somewhere in nature, like a park, the head of a hiking trail, the beach etc.  Sit on a pillow or a blanket – make it a special “seat”.

Body Position

If you have the option – remove your shoes – get grounded!  Free those toes!

Sit with your legs crossed either in Indian style or in Lotus position.  It is important to sit up straight so you have good spinal alignment.  Nope, lying down isn’t an option – too easy to fall asleep.

Eyes

Eyes open or closed? Many people believe eyes open is best – others believe eyes closed is the ticket. I believe, whatever gets you into your quiet space is the way to start.  Relax your eyes – don’t clench them closed – think soft eyelids. When closed – focus energy on your third eye or sixth chakra area – middle of the forehead above your eyebrows.

Breath

There are books written on this aspect of meditation but don’t let the whole breathing aspect block you from getting started. From a physiological aspect  – deeper breaths relax us – while shorter breaths make us anxious and stressed.

So keep it simple at first, and focus on long breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Or long deep breaths in through the nose and out through the nose.  Use counting to 10 on the inhale – hold for a 1 count then exhale with a count of 10.

Mantra

The use of a mantra can be very helpful – when I first started meditating I did use mantras.  I started with the simple word OM and repeated it with each exhale.  Then I used mantras in my head, like repeating a very short gratitude affirmation or self- empowerment mantra. Some days doing my meditation with no mantra works best. Find what works for you.

Music

Many people (myself included) find using music with their meditation is best. Find what works for you. I love the sound of water flowing, Chinese bamboo flutes and chimes. To me these sounds work wonders for soothing my mind and spirit. Here are two great sources to start with to find great music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR3dM-GlZK8  and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrx1vyvtRLY

Try using music – if it distracts you – then abandon that concept and go only with the sound of your breath.

Candles

I have always found a candle and the flame from it to be an excellent way to ground me and help get me centered. I focus my gaze on the flame and from there I gently close my eyes to begin my meditation.  Also, candles create great ambiance.  Of course if you are doing a nature meditation candles aren’t always an option – instead use a flower or a tree leaf or the water to bring your focus inward.

Time

Don’t stress over how long you should meditate. You will find the right length of time varies from session to session.  In the beginning just start with small chunks of time from 3-5 minutes. Learning to meditate is like building any muscle, it takes time to grow and get stronger.  When you see the value of even just a few minutes of meditation you will eventually want to sit for longer sessions.

Goal

The only goal should be to clear your mind, calm your spirit and revitalize your soul.  This doesn’t mean that during your meditation you shouldn’t think of anything – thoughts will definitely creep in – give them some love and tell them – “not now” and get back to your breath or your mantra.  The goal is for you to give back to your spirit.

Sometimes the only way to get back to “good” is to take us out of the rat race – away from all the overstimulation to reconnect to ourselves.

If you want to read more about getting started on your Meditation journey here’s some great books to check out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/10/meditation-for-beginners-_n_4241372.html

Also Oprah and Deepak have teamed up for a fantastic series of guided 21-Day Meditations.  https://chopracentermeditation.com/home

I absolutely love both of them and together they have created a wonderful synergy and system for those new to meditation and even who are more seasoned.

The Deepak and Oprah Meditation Series allows you to experience meditation with a mantra, music and a facilitator to guide your journey as you dip your toes in the water.

There you have it – 9 easy steps to send you on your meditation journey. All you need to do now is choose a day and time for your first meditation session.  Choose it – and give it a go!  Remember all you have to lose is 10 minutes but you have so much to gain if you end up finding it helpful!

Tweet me @rebeccakordecki and tell me about your experience with Meditation.  Look forward to hearing from you!

Move More. Eat Better. Forgive Often.  It’s a Choice!

 

 

 

 

 

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