Meditation is the simplest thing … which is why it can be so tricky.
The following meditation tips will help you avoid some common pitfalls for beginners, and thus build a solid foundation for your practice.
When you’re ready to start, know that we offer several free guided meditations online.
Don’t have time to read everything at once?
Trying to jump straight from a stressful workday to a peaceful state of deep silence is being a little too optimistic.
Instead, taking time to prepare your meditation can give you/yourself the gift of more in-depth and more enjoyable experience.
Possibly the most essential part of our meditation ritual today – putting your phone in aeroplane mode. There is no better way to ruin a meditation than to leave your phone on and receive a call or text in the middle of practice. Then turn off your phone or put it in aeroplane mode as soon as you are ready to meditate. Do you still have a rooted phone? Take it off the hook!
Warm-up your body with yoga or light exercises
Before starting your meditation, do some warm-up or yoga exercises for beginners. This will help increase circulation, remove any inertia or restlessness, and make your body feel lighter. At the very least, take a walk around your home or office.
A short warm-up period before meditation will allow you to sit quietly for a more extended period.
Calm your mind with breathing exercises
You can also do a few cycles of a yogic breathing exercise, such as the Nadi Shodhan pranayama or Alternate Nose Breathing. Learning a simple breathing exercise like this can make meditation significantly more comfortable.
Why do you ask? Because breathing is also connected with our minds and emotions, and as you slow and stabilize your breathing rate, it quickly brings your mind into a peaceful, meditative state.
Why sit down?
Well, meditation is conscious relaxation. If you lie down, the mind tends to fall asleep. And if you stand or walk, she manages to stay active.
How to sit
- Sit comfortably in an upright posture.
- You can use chairs and cushions, as long as you don’t lean too far.
- Do not move – Once you are comfortable, do not adjust unless you feel pain, or the adjustment does not become a significant distraction. Because the mind and the body are connected, moving the body tends to make the reason move too. If you allow your body to be completely still, then you are halfway to a quiet mind.
Let your breathing become light and smooth
If you have practised any breathing exercise beforehand, you will probably find that your normal breathing has become very soft and light.
As you begin your meditation, allow this process to continue.
If you actively practise any breathing technique during meditation, you will be keeping your mind busy and will not be able to relax as deeply as you do when you let your breath relax.
Let your breathing be light and even
A powerful tip for more profound meditation is to allow your breathing to be softer and smoother without any effort. As the breath is also connected to your mind, a smooth and even breath helps to bring the sense to an even quieter place.
Increase the interval between breaths
You may have noticed that in a deep state of meditation, you hardly breathe.
You cannot force this state, or your next breath will be a sigh, but as your breathing becomes calm, start paying attention to the interval between your breaths. If you gently immerse yourself in this practice, you will discover that it is a very peaceful place to be.
Eyes and face
Keep your eyes closed
The eyes are directly connected to the brain. Keeping your eyes open makes you alert, as the brain is always “on” to notice any changes in the environment and assess whether this is a possible threat.
Keeping your eyes closed in meditation allows you to bring your attention within and relax completely.
Or start with your eyes almost closed
One technique to start meditating is to keep your eyes nearly secure. Sometimes, when you jump straight into closed eyes, your mind immediately skips. Instead, stare at a motionless spot on the floor to keep your mind still, and transition your eyes from the state of activity (open) to the state of relaxation (closed).
So when the mind is still, allow the eyes to close.
Allow yourself to smile
Keeping a gentle smile during your practice makes you relaxed, at peace and enhances your meditation experience. You will feel the difference.
Do not become attached to
You may be interested in or excited about some thoughts that arise during meditation. Before you know it, you may be planning the rest of your day or thinking about some sarcastic comment you should have said in an argument.
It’s okay if that happens. But as soon as you realize, you must leave that dispersion and return to the present moment.
Instead of clinging to your “important” thoughts, tell them, ” I’ll be back to you in a few minutes .” If the idea is essential, you will remember it later.
Don’t push them away
On the other hand, you may have all kinds of thoughts that you don’t want to have, but they keep coming on their own.
But it is not as simple as saying, ” OK, mind – stop thinking “.
See, there is a rule in mind: What you resist, persist.
Let’s try an experiment – for the next 30 seconds, whatever you do, don’t think about a purple elephant. Go ahead and try.
It didn’t work, did it?
If you go into meditation trying to have an empty mind, every little thought is a problem, and you feel like an instant failure. You start to punish yourself for thinking you are not good at this meditation thing.
Whatever you do, please don’t try to clear your mind. It will only be preparing for failure, in a self-destructive cycle of thinking about not thinking.
Let them be
Instead of fighting your thoughts, just let them come and go as if you are watching the clouds in the sky.
Here is another classic Zen illustration:
If you swim in a lake and raise a lot of dirt in the water, what do you do to make it clear again?
Nothing. You just let it be, and after a while, the lake clears itself. Anything you try to do to clean it up will only pick up the dirt again.
Letting your thoughts be, you are in harmony with them, you perceive them, and they do not bother you. You do not need to fear them, as soon as they come, so will they. You don’t have to identify with them or let them control you. You will see that you are not your thoughts – you are the space in which they arise.
Special moments for meditation
There are certain times of the day that are easier to meditate. Late morning and early afternoon are generally ideal for work. I realized that around 4 or 5 pm, my mind is tired from work and ready for a rest. Taking a break for meditation after work is a great way to recharge your batteries so you can enjoy the night with a clean, renewed mind. But don’t wait too long, or your stomach will say “hey, it’s time to eat!”
- At sunrise and sunset, natural transitions from night to day and vice versa. These are hours that are also ideal for meditation and spiritual reflection.
- Before sunrise, it is also a unique and significant time to meditate. The world outside is silent; the house/family is quiet, and so are you!
When is the best time to meditate?
This, of course, will vary from person to person, depending on your preferences and schedules. I like to meditate early in the morning after showering and before having breakfast. That way, I feel clean and refreshed, with a light stomach.
Choose a quiet time
Meditation is your time to relax and be present with yourself, so choose a time that fits your schedule well, when interruptions and distractions are unlikely. Thus, you will be free to enjoy your meditation.
Meditate daily at the same time
There is great power in the habit. Getting into a meditation routine daily at the same time eliminates several questions and doubts that might otherwise prevent you from practising meditation. ” Should I meditate this morning or later? ” Becomes ” I am about to have breakfast, so I will sit down and meditate first as I always do “.
Meditate on an almost empty stomach
To meditate properly, it is helpful to have an empty stomach. Meditation works best before meals, or after at least two hours after eating. When your stomach is full, you may be tired or even dispersed by indigestion!
On the other hand, it is better not to try to meditate when you are starving; otherwise, you may end up thinking about food all the time. This also does not improve meditation.
Choose a quiet place
The place you choose to practice your meditation techniques is as crucial as selecting the most suitable time. Consider opting for a site that is quiet and peaceful, a place where you feel comfortable. The stillness around you can help facilitate peace within you.
Create a special place
If you try to meditate in your office chair, or front of the television, you may find yourself doing other activities instead of meditating.
Booking a place in your home just for meditation helps in several ways:
- Your mind and body will associate that space with meditation.
- Serves as a visual reminder to meditate
- It is already assembled – keep all the accessories/tools you like to use to meditate in one place so that it will be comfortable to sit and start.
Chair or cushion (s)
As previously mentioned, sitting upright and comfortable is essential. Don’t be ashamed of sitting in a chair to meditate. It is one of the easiest ways to sit upright, stay still and be comfortable.
Blanket or shawl
The body temperature often drops when it enters a deep state of relaxation. So starting with a blanket or poncho is usually a good idea.
Also, if you are going to meditate outdoors, a light blanket or shawl can protect you from the wind or insects, as any of these can get your mind going.
If you have not yet learned a meditation technique, guided meditations are a good option. They will help you to meditate more easily. All you need to do is close your eyes, relax, and follow the instructions as you hear them. Guided meditations give your mind just enough to do so that it doesn’t wander on its own while helping to guide you through some simple techniques to find that quiet place.
- Free guided meditations online: The Art of Living offers a variety of free guided meditations for different moods.
- Best meditation app: Sattva is the first and most advanced meditation timer that allows you to follow your “path” with challenges, trophies and guided meditations to inspire you to meditate every day! It’s free on IOs, Android and the internet.
- Guided Meditation CDs: If you prefer a physical CD, we offer several of them in our online store.
Use a meditation timer
Has it been 10 minutes ?! At first, a timer can help you sit up during meditation without succumbing to the temptation to keep looking at your watch all the time.
When you learn to meditate well, a timer can help you not accidentally meditate any longer than you plan to, and end up being late for an appointment.
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End your meditation slowly
At the end of the meditation, try not to be in a hurry to open your eyes or start moving. Remain present in the stillness you have cultivated. Take a few moments to absorb this. So when you’re ready, gradually become more aware of your body and your surroundings. Finally, allow your eyes to open slowly.
How to learn
Learn from a qualified instructor
Trying to learn meditation from a book or even on youtube can be quite limited. Learning personally from an expert can give you the chance to share experiences, ask questions and get feedback on all the subtleties of practice.
Get a personalized mantra
Of all the things I learned about meditation, the most powerful was receiving a personal mantra. Despite having had many peaceful moments in guided meditations on youtube, or experiencing some meditation tips like the ones mentioned above, nothing can compare with the stillness and depth of peace that I feel when I use my mantra.
What is a mantra? It is a subtle sound – a vibration that takes you into yourself. But it’s not just any sound, and it’s not just about saying it in an old way. There is a tradition in India of instructors who give students personalized mantras, specific to them and their needs, and teaches them the delicate art of using the mantra to immerse themselves in silence.
You can get a personalized mantra in an authentic, honourable and ancient tradition and specialized training in our mantra meditation course called Sahaj Samadhi Meditation.
Meditate in a group
The mind is a field that extends beyond the body. Have you ever sat with someone who is feeling very strange, very shy or very angry? Even if they don’t say anything, you can tell.
So, if you sit in a group of people who are very calm and at peace within, it helps you to feel the same.