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I’m excited to share this guest post about the best meditation techniques for beginners with you today by meditation blogger Charlie from KenshÐ¾Ì„ Way. Charlie has some great tips for people starting their meditation practice, backed by his meditation journey. If you’re interested in meditation (which since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are), I highly recommend you check out his site to find more meditation techniques, meditation resources, guided meditation scripts, and tips to enhance your meditation.
Meet Charlie from KenshÐ¾Ì„ Way
Hi, I’m Charlie. I’ve been writing content over at KenshÐ¾Ì„ Way for just under two years now. It isn’t my full-time job (I wish it were). By ‘trade,’ I’m an online marketer! Not very spiritual, I may here you say, but my motivation for starting a blog on the topic of meditation was due to the fact that I felt so much better when I was meditating regularly, not only in the 10 to 20 minutes a day I sent aside for meditation but throughout the rest of my day too, whether I was working or interacting with others. Hopefully, my blog can inspire others to do the same.
Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners
Meditation is a life-changing spiritual tool that can help you relax, feel more positive, and generally boost your overall sense of well-being. Itâ€™s an incredible habit to adopt and can truly transform your life. Itâ€™s become quite a trend in the Western world over the last few years, and the benefits of meditation are lauded by everyone from neuro-scientists to sports stars to new age gurus.
But simply knowing how great is doesnâ€™t necessarily make it easy to adopt as a regular practice.
For beginners, learning how to meditate can seem a daunting task. Practicing daily meditation can be difficult, much like committing to a daily run or gym session. In the same way, honing your meditation skills can be a lot like the process of learning a new instrument, language, or really any endeavor at all that requires your focus, dedication, and repeated practice. In short, it requires a certain amount of your motivation and willpower to keep going, but most of all, it needs an open mind and willingness to learn.
When you first start a meditation practice, you may well get frustrated, but remember, you are not alone. Many a seasoned meditator has spent their ten minutes quietly thinking about what to buy for dinner instead of truly experiencing a stillness of mind. Sometimes it can feel like just another chore or task to cross off your list each morning. If thatâ€™s something you are experiencing, donâ€™t give up!
Read on to discover various techniques that might help you to stick at the practice if you are just starting out.
Choosing the Right Time of Day
Find the right time of day for you and your schedule to drop into a regular meditation practice. If you can make space for it in the morning, itâ€™s highly recommended. The morning is often a quiet time when other people are still asleep, you can begin your day on the right note, and most importantly, it gets done!
Something to bear in mind is, meditation is about reducing stress, so if you are already feeling anxious about how to fit it in, you might want to take a look at that! Sometimes it can seem impossible to find just ten minutes, but you would be surprised how beneficial those ten minutes will be for you.
Create the Vibe
This is totally optional, but some people might find it helpful to clear the space energetically before meditation by lighting a candle or some incense. It doesnâ€™t make any real difference where you meditate, so long as itâ€™s as quiet as possible and without distractions.
Find a position to sit in that you are comfortable in. This could be on a chair, on the floor, or a sofa. Itâ€™s best if you sit up straight with your back against something for support. This means you will keep your posture aligned throughout.
Itâ€™s better not to lie down when you first start to meditate as you may just fall asleep. The aim is to be comfortable and aware, ideally with your legs uncrossed and your feet flat on the floor. You certainly do not need to contort yourself into a lotus or any kind of pose that distracts you.
Check-in with Yourself
As you settle in to begin the meditation, check-in with your physical senses and emotional state, and see how your body is feeling on all levels. Do you have aches and pains? Does your mind feel busy? Anxious? Tired? Bored? Panicky? Do not feel that you cannot meditate unless you feel calm; this defeats the entire point. Whatever you feel and whatever you are bringing to your session is 100% ok.
It can be super tempting as a beginner to become hyper-aware of your breathing and tense up. Remember that you breathe all day long without realizing it. Simply tune into where the rise and fall of your breath occurs. Do you feel your breath in your stomach or your chest? Try to place your attention gently on your inhalations and follow them out as you exhale. Do not worry about your breathing; let it be natural. Simply notice the quality of your breaths and tune into the rhythm of them. The breath serves as an excellent focus for beginning meditators.
Observe Your Thoughts
This is one of the most crucial things to remember when you first start meditating. You are an observer of your mind, you are not trying to stop your thoughts, and you are not judging them. You are simply watching them as an observer.
If you like, you can imagine yourself seated at the edge of the shore, watching the waves ebb and flow on the sand. You are not judging the waves or getting caught in where they go or what they mean; you simply watch them.
You can also imagine your thoughts as cars passing on a busy highway, where you sit at the side of the road without judgment. This technique is so essential for, without it, we can follow the chaotic path of our thoughts forever. Meditation teaches us to detach from the mind and tap into the stillness that lies beneath all those busy thoughts as we witness them.
Bring Your Mind Back
Your mind will begin to wander almost immediately; this is entirely normal and happens to everyone. All you have to do is notice when it happens, observe it, and then return your focus to the breath. If you have to do it every second, itâ€™s ok. You will improve your focus with time. The important thing is to become aware of when you have been distracted and just train your mind to come back to the breath again and again.
Be Kind to Yourself
Be loving towards yourself as you take up meditation. You might feel as though you are doing it wrong, or perhaps you have good days and bad days. You might feel agitated and uncomfortable or experience restlessness and frustration. All of these things are normal and vary from day to day.
Meditation is not necessarily about seeing an increasing improvement in focus and clarity each day. You will improve, of course, but you might experience days where your mind is busier and days where you feel you have really tapped into something inside of yourself. The bottom line is, this is your individual practice; you get to decide to be loving towards yourself as you navigate the world of meditation.
Try Different Meditation Techniques
Consider trying out different meditation techniques such as chanting mantras, integrating mindfulness into your day, or visualization meditations. You might be interested in binaural beats style meditations, which include special sound frequencies to bring you to a relaxed state such as in the Holysync program; read our full review to learn more.
Meditation is a wonderful addition to anyoneâ€™s life, but it does take commitment, effort, and a lot of practice. The main thing is to take it easy, go with the flow and enjoy your experience.
Thank you Charlie!
I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Charlie from KenshÐ¾Ì„ way and learned a few new meditation techniques to try or bring into your practice. Make sure you check out his website for more tips and meditation resources!
Additional Meditation Techniques & Resources
As a supplement to Charlie’s highly useful article here are some extra meditation readings, and a meditation technique to help you get started.
Your Happiness Quest Meditation Articles
- 5 Meditation TED Talks
- How to Use Meditation to Relieve Depression
- 5 Meditation Podcasts for Busy People
- The Science of Meditation and Yoga: An Easy Guide
If you would prefer to read (or listen to) a book on meditation and mindfulness, I highly recommend Hurry Up and Meditate By David Michie. David Michie explains the benefits of meditation from a matter-of-fact, easy-to-understand scientific perspective. David also teaches you a variety of meditation tools to get started.
It’s also a relatively short book at 192 pages or four hours 40 minutes long, so those who claim to have no time to learn no longer have an excuse! As the title tagline explains, this book is your meditation starter kit!
Meditation Technique: Releasing Mind Hooks
I learned a new mini-mindfulness/meditation technique yesterday that I want to share with you. It is a type of un-hooking technique. I hadn’t heard of the term mind hooks until yesterday, and I definitely have a few things I need to unhook, so I am finding this really useful.
Firstly, what is a mind hook?
A mind hook is when you get trapped in a circle, debating with yourselfâ€”your brain is stuck in on a particular unhelpful thought. You might be aware that you keep repeating this story, and it is unhelpful, but you just can’t get it to release.
Mind hooks can be basic or extremely deep. To help explain, I will use a simple explanation as this is how it was explained to me. Say you don’t enjoy cooking dinner at the end of the day. All you can think to yourself when you get home is “Argh, cooking again! The thought of doing it stresses me out. All I want to do is sit and cuddle my cat, but I need to cook dinner because the kids are hungry, and my husband will be home any minute. I know I need to cook dinner, but I really don’t want to.” See the hook? You’re stuck on the idea of not wanting to cook dinner.
Unhooking the Mind Steps
Ok, so you have identified one of your hook. How do you get out of this endless loop? Move through the following steps explain how to use this mini-meditation technique for unhooking. You can do this whole exercise in as little as 1 minute or take your time and spend 10 minutes moving through each step.
- Take a moment to identify what you are actually feeling. Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Anxious? Angry? Frustrated? Annoyed? Tired? Sad? Scared? Look past the story and identify what the emotion behind your hook is?
- Note this emotion. If you are stressed, tell yourself, “I am stressed.” Acknowledge your feeling for what it is. Don’t judge yourself for feeling this; just feel it.
- Tune into your body. Start to roll your shoulders, stretch from side-to-side, point your toes, roll your ankles. Just move. Take note of how good it feels to stretch and move. Yoga anyone? ????
- Take action. Action can be anything from starting to cook dinner, have a cup of tea, talk to your friends or family around you. Anything that gets you back into reality after your nice stretching moment.
- Note how you feel now. Did this moment of mindfulness help? How do you feel now? Are you more relaxed? Is your mind more tranquil? Are you calmer? More energized? How does your body feel after stretching and moving?
How Often Should You Practice Unhooking?
Time to add this unhooking tool to your Happiness Toolkit! When starting, identify a specific hook that you know you are stuck on and want to release. Take our cooking example above, whenever you get home before you start cooking dinner and the thoughts of dread cross your mind, practice this unhooking technique. It is a good idea to practice this unhooking mini-meditation technique at least once a day when you start. Make a note to take time each day, any time of day, tune in, and unhook.
However, you can practice this unhooking meditation technique as often as you want. This tool was recommended to me as a tactic to cope with anxiety attacks, so if you are feeling overwhelmed throughout the day, you might want to practice this more until it becomes second nature.
After using this for several weeks you should start to notice your hook dissolving. Once you’ve noticed this then it’s time to work on the next hook????.
What meditation techniques do use and find the most useful? Please leave a comment below.