If you’re interested in learning how to meditate or curious about meditation, identifying the best technique for you is a terrific place to start.
Mindful breath awareness meditation
Many beginner meditators practice following the breath with awareness. The breath awareness technique is simple. All you need to do is sit or lie in a quiet place and focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. It helps to breathe at a slow pace, but you’ll find your breathing decelerates as you relax, so there’s no need to force yourself to inhale and exhale at a specific rate.
Challenges you might meet as a beginner
The urge to achieve a goal
When you meditate on your breath, you relax rather than strive to achieve a goal. You note your breath as it travels into your body and out again without struggling to change it. But many beginners to meditation are so used to striving to reach goals that it’s hard for them only to relax and breathe.
If you feel more comfortable beginning meditation by counting the seconds you inhale and exhale, that’s okay. After a few minutes, the urge to control your breath will go, and you can observe your breathing without effort.
Focusing on racing thoughts
When people first take up meditation, they often think they need to stamp out thoughts and empty their minds. They engage in a battle to challenge self-talk as though it’s an enemy.
But the idea isn’t to banish thoughts. You can’t stop your mind from working when you meditate. Rather, you let your thoughts stream, and instead of engaging with them, you observe them.
When observing your thoughts, you acknowledge they exist by noting their presence, but much like when a stranger walks by, you let them move out of sight without guiding them.
As you become more experienced at meditating, you’ll recognize your thoughts come and go, and most of them aren’t significant. You’ll learn there’s no need to interact with them and leave them alone. Detachment is one of the terrific benefits you can gain from meditation.
The urge to move the body
Shift your body into a comfortable position before you meditate. Otherwise, meditating will be hard because you’ll want to move. Loosen clothes, and address the urge to scratch, fiddle, or take care of any other physical needs, and you will be ready to meditate.
Some people aren’t used to staying still. They prefer to walk while they meditate. Walking meditation is a common practice. It suits individuals who want to be active or try a different mindful technique than breath awareness.
Walking meditation for beginners
The mind and body communicate, and gentle physical movement can support calmness. When you engage in mindful walking meditation, you move at a relaxed pace, noting the sensations involved in walking. So, you might notice your weight shift from one leg to the other, your muscles work, and other physical aspects of walking.
If thoughts arise, remember to observe them rather than interact. Let them come and go by themselves and return your focus to physical movement.
Other meditation techniques exist, but mindful observation and detachment are at their root. Some people practice only breath awareness for their lifetime. Although simple, it helps them detach from thoughts and is the basis of all meditation.
Once mastered, it will help you manage stressful challenges in life. You’ll be able to step back from critical self-talk and worries and observe your thoughts. Your peace of mind will reflect in all areas of your life and support personal growth, calmness, and awareness.
Links related to meditation
Mind Maps – Frequently asked Question (FAQ)