Meditation for beginners. Four practices to try.

The ancient practice of meditation seems to be having something of a moment in mainstream western wellness recently. Apps, podcasts, books like Jay Shetty's Think Like A Monk... are telling us peace, clarity and focus are all within reach if we just take a moment to pause, sit and breathe. 

A simple premise, the reality can be a lot more challenging and there are so many different ways to do it.

If you're wanting to try meditation but not quite sure where to start, here's 4 different techniques which all serve different purposes. 

Remember, like everything else, it takes practice. 

Choose the practice most relevant to you, find a quiet private space, set a timer for 1 minute to start with and slowly increase as you feel ready from there. 

FOCUSED ATTENTION

What it is..

This is the practice most of us are most familiar with. Creating focus and calm by paying attention to the breath. 

Perfect for...

Cultivating focus & attention and bringing awareness to the appearance of distraction before a busy day of work

How it is done...

Initially, you may want to use counting to keep your attention on your breath (for example; in for 4, hold for 4, out for 6.... repeat). From there you can work towards dropping the counts and just focusing on the breath and other sensations of the body as you breathe in and out. 

Learn more about Focused Attention meditation here

NOTING

What it is...

Allowing thoughts to come, noting what they are and letting them go.

Perfect for...

Insight & clarity on which thoughts, feelings and ideas are taking up space in your mind

How it is done...

Sit comfortably. Try to focus on maintaining deep, slow breath.

Your mind will naturally wander and that's fine, you don't need to note everything that pops up. But when a thought, feeling or idea is so strong that you become completely distracted from your breath and the practice, note it and let it go. 

Over time, you may start to notice a pattern around what creates the strongest distractions. 

Learn more about Noting meditation here

BODY SCAN

What it is...

Exactly what is sounds like - using your mind to slowly 'scan' your body, noticing (but not changing) how it feels. 

Perfect for...

Falling asleep. Body scanning is great for those nights you are lying in bed, mind racing and just can't fall asleep. It is a fantastic way to distract the mind without too much stimulation. 

How it is done...

Lie in a comfortable position. You might want to imagine a soft light shining across the top of your head (you can also start with your toes if you prefer). Take a moment to notice how that part of your body feels - sensations, contact with surfaces, discomfort etc.. don't try to change it. Just notice it, focus on it, see if the feeling changes, then allow the light to slowly move to the next area. You can repeat this, imaging the light moving up and and down your body, as many times as needed. 

Learn more about Body Scan meditation here

LOVING KINDNESS

What it is...

Loving kindness is a traditional practice in which well wishes and intentions are set for self & others - others can be people you know and love, people you know and are challenged by and people or groups or people you don't know at all. 

The practice aims to generate compassion & kindness and let go of any negative feelings you may be holding onto.

Perfect for...

Anyone holding negative thoughts, feelings or ideas about other people or groups and need help to let it all go. 

How to do it...

Usually, this is done by repeating the below mantra..

May I/you be happy,

May I/you be healthy,

May I/you feel safe,

And I/may you live your life with ease.

For a step-by-step on how to use the loving kindness method read here

 

Are you a practiced meditator with a technique you love? We'd love you to share it with us. 

 


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