How to Meditate for Beginners

6 steps to get started with meditation

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to take a break from the distractions of daily life and calm your mind. If you're new to meditation, the following steps can help get you started on the road to a quieter mind and a refreshed spirit.

Step 1: Gather meditation supplies

To start, figure out if it's more comfortable for you to sit still on a cushion, the floor, a mat or a chair. Some people use multiple cushions, while others find that it's most comfortable to meditate while sitting on a chair.

Another helpful item for beginners is a meditation timer so you can forget about time and just focus on meditation.

And, lastly, many who meditate find that a focal to help draw their attention away from the outside world to be very useful. Examples include an altar, candles, a statue or photo of the Buddha or some other visual image.

Step 2: Block off time for your meditation practice

Start by making a commitment of 10-20 minutes at about the same time every day. If you’re a morning person, starting the day by quieting your mind might work best for you. For others, evening is better. Whatever time works for you is the right time.

Step 3: Create a meditation space

Find a space that’s uncluttered and private, away from outside noise — a room or just a corner — it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s quiet during your meditation session.

Step 4: Settle down in a posture

Whether you sit cross-legged on your cushions, kneel or sit in a chair, make sure the meditation position you settle into is free of pain and strain, and that you feel relaxed, balanced and connected to the Earth.

Step 5: Focus on your breathing

Once your body is relaxed, begin to focus in on your breathing. You can count breaths, or simply become conscious of your breathing. The goal is not to think about your breath but to quiet your mind and become aware of it. If you find that focusing on your breathing is tedious, try repeating a mantra, a word or phrase that means something to you, slowly and steadily in a soft, easy rhythm.

Step 6: Let thoughts flow through

The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, but that’s often easier said than done. If thoughts creep into your session, don’t panic. Let them come, acknowledge them, then let them go. Imagine you’re sitting by a lovely stream, and, when you have a thought, place it into a tiny boat and send it floating away.

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