I’ve been thinking what the best meditation tips for beginners are, and this brought me back to when I first tried to meditate.
It would’ve been about 14 years ago at least, and I think I was around 15.
My dad was the one who encouraged me to try it, because he has been meditating regularly each morning for a number of decades. And he would always speak of the benefits of it.
Meditation is something that has rocketed in popularity over the past five years, which has led to it becoming yet another thing that some people think they need to do each day, in order to feel “successful.”
But meditation doesn’t work that way. There are no instant results. There’s no instant gratification. And there’s no measure of external success.
And that’s one of the reasons why I love it.
Because it’s about internal success. It’s not about doing or getting, it’s about being.
Meditation makes no promises to solve all your problems, boost your bank balance, or make sure you live happily ever after. Because life is full of uncertainty, and who knows what tomorrow will bring.
But here’s what meditation can offer you.
Meditation can bring you a sense of calm, and inner peace. It can help you see your “problems” with a new perspective. And it can change how you relate and react to what happens to, and around you. Perhaps most importantly, meditation can change the way you feel about other people, and yourself. These changes will be ever so subtle and gradual, yet deeply profound.
But meditation requires you to be open. It requires you to be willing, and a little bit curious. And it requires you to show up for yourself consistently, every day.
Here’s our 12 best meditation tips for beginners
1. Get clear on why you want to meditate
Before you begin meditating, take some time to get clear on why you want to meditate.
What do you hope to gain from it?
Maybe you want to release stress or tension, and feel more relaxed. Maybe you want to get better at focusing your attention and ignoring distractions. Or maybe you just want to feel more grounded and centred. You might have heard of the many benefits of meditation, and simply be curious.
And all of these things are okay. There is no right or wrong.
But when you get clear on why you’re meditating, it will help you show up consistently and stay committed to your practice.
2. Meditate first thing in the morning
Meditation takes the number one spot on my morning ritual list. I’ve dabbled on and off with meditation for over 14 years. But over the past few years I begin each morning by sitting down to meditate. Even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes.
It’s a beautiful way to begin your day, with peace and stillness. Plus, it’s much easier to do it before you’ve begun work or the kids have woken up. There are far fewer distractions, which means you’re more likely to actually get around to doing it.
3. Get comfortable
Ignore everything you’ve heard or read about what you should be doing. The most important thing is to make sure you are comfy.
Do what feels good for you. That might mean sitting cross legged on your yoga mat on the floor. Sitting under a tree in your back garden. Sitting upright on a chair or your sofa. Or even sitting on the edge of your bed.
They say that sitting in an upright position where your spine is straight is most conducive for meditation. But I’ve had teachers who have told me the most important thing is that you’re comfortable. So if that means you’re lying down, then go ahead and lie down. Just be careful not to fall asleep!
I usually end up meditating in my kimono robe, or a dressing gown, on my sofa or bed.
You might feel comfy in whatever you’ve worn to bed, or you might want to change into some leggings or a loose t-shirt.
You don’t need any fancy props or clothing. All you need is you, and a cushion or yoga block for support (if you need it), and you’re ready to meditate.
4. Put some background music on
I usually use Spotify for this, because it’s so simple and easy. Just search for meditation music, and you’ll find a long list of playlists and albums at your finger tips. Calming nature sounds like the ocean or rain can be wonderful, or even a spa playlist.
I love meditating with some relaxing music on, and will rarely meditate in total silence. Just play around with this, and see what you prefer. There is no wrong way to do this!
5. Try and sit for five minutes
One of the best meditation tips for beginners I can give you is to do what you can. Meditation is not a competition. Monks and teachers may sit and meditate for hours, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
The best way to ease yourself into any habit is to start small. So try and sit and meditate for just five minutes each day. If that sounds too much, reduce it down to whatever number feels manageable for you. And begin there.
You may find you enjoy it so much that you carry on longer. And if you don’t, that’s okay too.
6. Bring your attention to your breath
One of the best ways to interrupt your flow of thoughts and enter a state of concentration is to bring your attention to your breath. Focus on inhaling fully, feeling the new air fill your lungs and belly; then focus on exhaling, emptying your chest, and feeling your belly compress towards your back.
Try and make your inhales and exhales longer than usual, and focus on deep breaths. This will help calm your mind and body. You might even want to silently count on each inhale and exhale, making both the same length.
7. Release judgement
I used to find myself trapped in a state of judgement while meditating, because my mind kept on wandering. But I’ve learned that this is natural. This is what the practice of meditation looks like. It’s not an easy state to achieve, and your thoughts will continue to come and go.
So I invite you to release any judgement when they do. Gently bring your focus back to your breath, and back to this moment. You are here, now.
8. Be the witness of your thoughts
Meditation is about realising that we are not our thoughts. And they don’t control us – unless we give them permission to.
So when you become aware of a thought during your practice, gently shift your perspective. Be the observer, the witness of that thought. And choose again. Choose to return back to your practice.
Remember, you always have a choice.
9. Scan your body
If focusing on your breath is challenging or unappealing to you, you might want to focus on the sensations in your body instead.
Begin from your feet, and slowly work your way up the body, until you get to the crown of your head. Scan every inch of every body part. Bring your awareness to your skin, your muscles, and any tension you might be holding.
And if you notice you’re tense in certain areas you can try and soften and relax that part of your body.
Remember not to judge anything that presents itself. Simply bring awareness to it.
10. Try a guided meditation
This is another option that tops the list when it comes to meditation tips for beginners.
Guided meditations are a brilliant way to ease yourself in to the practice of meditation. Because they’re much less daunting than sitting in silence for however long, and you don’t have to worry about choosing some music, or think about what you’ll focus on.
Just find a meditation, hit play, and allow yourself to be guided.
You can choose a short five minute one for the days where you have little time, or an hour long one when you’re seeking something deeper. You’ll also find specific meditations for releasing stress or tension, channelling creativity, the art of forgiveness, and returning to love.
11. Join a meditation group in your local community
Meditating can be easier, and often more powerful, when you do it as part of a group. This is because everyone’s energy joins together, and is focused on the same thing, which creates a strong vibration.
Group meditation can also help you stay committed to the practice, just like going to a yoga class can help you workout more. Other people help hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Plus, it can be a great source of support if you have any questions about meditation, or want any help deepening your practice.
Search and see if there are any meditation groups that meet regularly in your area. Find one that appeals to you, go along, and give it a go. If it’s not for you, there’s no pressure to go back.
12. Commit to your practice
Many beginners struggle with meditation at first, because it can feel like it’s not making any difference to you or your life. But this is because meditation is a life long journey.
The effects of it won’t be instantly noticeable, and they will run deep below your surface. Over time, you’ll look back and notice small or great shifts, in how you think, how you feel, and how you show up in your relationships.
So it’s important to commit to your practice. Show up for yourself every day – even just for a few minutes. And keep coming back, even when you’re wondering what the point is.
Because in time, all will become clear.