How to Begin a Meditation Practice

One of the more common questions or curiosities I find among new yogis is the desire to learn how to meditate.

How to Begin a Meditation Practice

What most of us don’t realize, is that we are all already meditating every single day. What we need to UNlearn are habits of multi-tasking, busy-ness, and inattention.

Much of the time, our thoughts are either future-oriented or past-oriented, which is why we don’t necessarily feel in a calm, centered state. Our minds are made to think, so we’re not trying to ‘empty’ our minds, rather simply observe. Mindfulness meditation works best when our thoughts can focus on what’s happening right now, so naturally, our meditation practice begins by finding a way to notice just ONE moment at a time.

Below are a few useful suggestions to begin a meditation practice. Try a few and see what resonates with you most.

1.) Start with 3-5 minutes of gentle observation. Set a timer, sit comfortably and close your eyes, if that feels okay for you. Without any agenda, just see what you can notice here. You might pay attention to the way your body feels, to the feeling of your breath traveling in and out, or perhaps to a sound you can hear. Just try tapping in to your senses without any expectations. Even if it’s a challenge, be kind to yourself. Every moment of present observation is a success!

2.) Try an app. Though in many ways, technology is designed to interrupt and interfere with our train of thought, there are tons of useful meditation apps that can help you explore and establish a practice. I really enjoy the Breathe app guided meditations, but there’s lots to try.

3.) Use your voice with mantra meditation. The word mantra means ‘that which protects the mind.’ Mantras can be spoken out loud or repeated internally as a way to not only keep your mind focused, but to seal in the energy of the words you are repeating. If you’d like to use words to help you in your practice, check out this post with my suggestions on How to Create Mantras & Affirmations.

3.) Know your learning style. Are you a hands-on learner? Then a more physical style of meditation, such as gentle yoga, might be a great place for you to begin. Visual? Try a simple eye gazing meditation by watching something in nature, such as the wind in the trees or a moving stream. Creative? Consider mandala meditation, knitting, or the super popular adult coloring books! Know that a simple, quiet activity can be used as a powerful meditation.

4.) Seek a friend or mentor for accountability. As with any new habit, it can be challenging to start all on your own. There’s really something to be said for group energy and focus. Whether you are able to practice together or not, you can share your experience, seek suggestions, and surely learn something new together.

One thing I like to stress is to not try to force your meditation practice, especially at first. If your mind is already busy and bustling, it will probably be more useful to blow off some steam another way (taking a brisk walk, dancing, talking to a friend…etc) before trying to practice meditation.

Once Wholehearter is settled in Ligonier this year, I look forward to offering Meditation Circles in many capacities. Not only will it be a powerful way to establish the healing of our new space, but it will be a lovely way to create community and meet a new tribe of like-minded people. If you’d like to stay connected, watch here or on Facebook for upcoming events, or you may also subscribe to my events calendar.

Questions? Need more guidance or suggestions?