How to Start Meditating
By Shae LaPlace
Meditating can be a strangely intimidating concept. As with creating any new habit, when something is completely new to us, it can be overwhelming. Just the idea of getting started can scare us away. With meditation with have all of these ideas of “proper” mindfulness, and this level of spirituality, it can feel out of reach. But, if we can get past the ideas in our head of what the meditation is supposed to be, and a fear of doing it wrong, we can simply begin.
Meditation is not rigid. It is fluid, it is different every time, it has no specific way of needing to be. Meditation is a unifying of mind and body, and it does not always need to manifest the same way. For one person a twenty-minute, unguided meditation may come naturally, for others it’s something to work up to. There are so many forms of meditation, and these expectations become an imaginary obstacle.
We may need to sift through a few different forms of meditation to find the one that works best for us. For some it can simply start with a notion; a focusing thoughts and breath. No classes, no guides, no extras needed. Just controlled breathing. However, this can be abstract and not constructive enough for some of us.
Luckily, we carry tiny computers in our pockets everywhere we go. So, there’s got to be an app for that, right? Right. There are a plethora of apps to help us with meditation and mindfulness (See our favorite Meditation Apps here). Each offering different techniques and processes. However, if downloading yet another app doesn’t appeal to you, there are endless video/audio clips for guided meditation on YouTube. Or, if you’re more traditional and would like to separate your technology from your mindfulness, there are books with guided meditations you can read, and try out. If a book doesn’t sound like your thing, sign up for a Yoga class. Yoga is a flowing meditation, with many varieties, many of which you can try out for free (Find FREE Yoga classes here).
Meditation has many forms, and within each of these methods there is extensive variety. If one doesn’t work for you, on to the next. Meditation is a process, and it can look, feel, and work differently for all of us. Some of us need movement to find stillness, some of us need long periods of silence, some of us might prefer a guide, and some may not. Your meditation practice can cater to your individual needs. Allow yourself to give it a try without self judgement. Find the mindfulness and balance it can offer in your way, and your time.
If all this talk about meditation has you ready to give it a try, let the mindfulness begin…
Start by finding a comfortable place to sit or lay down. Preferably, a spot where your weight is evenly distributed.
Close your eyes.
Start to pay attention to your breathing and your thoughts. Try to slow your breath down. Focus your mind to your breath.
Breathe deeply into your belly through your nose. As slowly and controlled as you can, exhale back out through your nose. Without forcing it, try to inhale for 4 seconds.
Hold it in for 4 more seconds. And gently exhale it out, again as slowly and as controlled as you can for 4 seconds.
Try repeat this breathing technique for a little or as long as you like. About 5 minutes is usually a good place to start. Go forth and be mindful!