Everyone with a meditation practice was once a beginner, and, in the beginning, it probably felt … challenging. For most of us, our first attempts at learning how to meditate aren’t quite what we expect. Our minds don’t go blank. Some of us feel bored or frustrated or uncertain (and this still happens sometimes years into a practice!). It’s all part of the process.
The easiest way to learn any new skill is with support. Never before have there been so many meditation resources. You might find a meditation class or club local to you. If you learn best from reading, you could pick up a book at the library. Or, choose an app, because, there’s an app for that!
When starting out, it can be hard to know if you’re “doing it right.” On your own, you might think your wandering mind means you’ve messed up (not to worry — you haven’t) or that you’re not focusing enough or properly. You may not be sure how to even get started in meditation.
Listening to a guided meditation designed for beginners — a meditation where an instructor talks the listener through each step — can offer the direction, coaching, and encouragement that will reassure you that you are indeed doing it right.
Know that having a wandering mind is natural and is part of the process of meditating.
Find the right supports for you to build this new practice — a meditation class, a book, or a phone app like Calm are all good options.
Listen to guided meditations for gentle coaching, reassurance, and inspiration.
Explore different meditation techniques to find a practice that best suits you.
There are so many different ways a mindfulness meditation practice can look. Some of the differences in meditation technique can be subtle and yet the difference it makes can be significant. For instance, some people find it challenging to stay focused on the breath with attention alone, but if a guided meditation encourages them to begin by counting their breaths, it becomes much easier and they experience the benefits of meditation more quickly.
Here are 10 different meditation techniques:
Counting the Breath - Count “one” for an in-breath and “two” for an out-breath and continue.
Focus on the Breath - Give all your attention to your breath from inhalation to exhalation to inhalation again, and so on. When your mind wanders, gently return your attention to your breath.
Focusing on Physical Sensation - Focusing on sensation in the body can connect us to the present moment and create stillness within us. This could be combined with focus on the breath, feeling the rise of the rib cage, the belly, feeling in the nostrils, the throat …
Body Scan - Beginning with the top of your head and moving down the body, check in with each part and be present with whatever sensations arise.
Loving Kindness - This is an open-hearted practice of sending love to yourself, to another, and to the greater community.
Walking Meditation - Walking mindfully can be powerfully meditative. Pay close attention to each step.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation - Focusing on each body part, from head to sole, and then intending for it to relax is another way to meditate. (This can be part of a sleep meditation practice, too.)
Bell Meditation - Meditation that uses bell tones brings us back to the present. Ring a bell or chime or singing bowl and give your attention to the sound.
Gratitude - Quietly call to mind all the gratitude of the moment.
Mindful Movement - Gently stretch the body with deep attention on the movement and sensations.
Begin meditating today, right now even, with a 7-session guided meditation series in the Calm app. It’s called 7 Days of Calm, and it’s free. Each session is about 10 minutes and includes a simple mindfulness teaching from our Head of Mindfulness Tamara Levitt, as well as a guided meditation designed to help you feel more calm and to easily make a few minutes of mindfulness a daily habit.
If at first, your new mindfulness meditation habit doesn’t come easily, you’re not alone. As you’re able, allow that discomfort. Trust that it’s perfectly okay, and that it will shift. And continue to experiment with your practice.
Calm is free to download and includes a collections of meditations, Sleep Stories, mindfulness tools, nature scenes and music for focus, relaxation and sleep