How to Meditate for Beginners

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What is Meditation?

Meditation is a powerful tool that can be used to quiet the mind and find freedom from racing thoughts, anxiety, stress and depression. Through a regular meditation practice, we can begin to cultivate the skill of sitting and being in the present moment with our breath. When we meditate we are not thinking about what happened 5 minutes ago, an hour ago, a week ago or more. We are also not thinking about what will happen in the future or running through our to do list. But it can difficult to learn how to start. Here we’ll explore how to meditation for beginners!

image with text meditation for beginners

Meditation Myths

There are many myths surrounding meditation that often hinder beginners from trying this ancient practice. We want to bust some of these myths.

  1. Meditation is all about clearing the mind – Meditation is not the absence of thought but about listening and noticing our thoughts while strengthening our ability to control our thoughts and thought patterns. If your mind wanders while you meditate, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It just provides an opportunity to practice our ability to bring our attention where we want it to be: on our meditation practice. 
  2. Meditation is hard – Beginners will start meditating and realize the mind wanders quickly. This can be very discouraging and oftentimes those new to meditation will quickly give up because it seems hard. The best way to begin meditating is to go in with an open mind and without any expectations. Nobody is perfect at doing anything for the first time. That is why we call it a meditation practice. 
  3. You have to meditate for a long time – Sure a longer meditation can be helpful but meditating doesn’t have to be an hour long. You can still reap the benefits of meditation with just 2 minutes a few times a week. As you become more comfortable with meditation you can begin to extend the time you meditate. 
  4. There is only one way to meditate – There are actually a variety of styles of meditation to choose from. From guided meditations to movement meditations you have options! That’s why we included a list of meditation styles below to help you pick the right type of meditation style for you. 
  5. Meditation is a religious practice – While meditation traditionally was part of religious practices in Christianity, Buddhism and Islam it is not tied to any one religion and in modern times is practiced completely separate from religion.
  6. You’ll experience the benefits of yoga immediately – Just like you shouldn’t expect to loose 10 pounds because you worked out one time, you can’t expect to feel the benefits of meditation immediately. Instead, you’ll begin to notice changes over time.
woman in seated meditation

Benefits of Meditation

  1. Reduce Stress
  2. Reduce Anxiety
  3. Improve Sleep
  4. Lower Blood Pressure
  5. Reduce Tension Headache

If you want to read more about the benefits of meditation, you can read this and this.

How to Start Meditating For Beginners

Choose your meditation style

There are many different types of meditation styles to choose from. Below is a list of the 5 best meditation types for beginners. Try different styles until you find one that really resonates with you.

Find a quiet time in your day

Choose a time of day when you know you won’t be interrupted. This can be first thing in the morning before anybody in the house is up, or maybe towards to end of the day when you won’t be bombarded with requests or messages. Also, be sure to silence any devices that might draw your attention away from your practice.

Find a comfortable place

Choose a place in your house where you can sit quietly and comfortable. If you find it hard to sit up straight for a long period of time, lean against a wall. Sit on something soft. You can also lie down if that is more comfortable.

Prepare your body

Take a few moments to prepare your body for your practice. Go to the bathroom. Have a drink of water or light snack. Do some light stretches (try this 10 minute yoga class). 

Don’t have any expectations 

As you begin to build your meditation practice it’s ok if it feels funny, weird, or like “nothing” is happening. 

Start small 

As with anything new, take baby steps with your meditation practice. Don’t expect to sit for an hour and meditate. You can even set a time for 1 or 2 minutes to begin with and slowly increase the time as you feel ready. 

sitting in meditation for beginners

Meditation Types

Mindfulness Meditation

The definition of mindfulness is being present and in the moment, not worrying about what has happened in the past and not worrying about what will happen in the future. This type of meditation helps to slow down racing thoughts and to calm your mind and body. 

How to do Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is quick and simple. You don’t need any special tools to practice this type of meditation. All you need is a comfortable and calm place to sit or lay down. This type of meditation takes about three to five minutes.

  1. Find a comfortable seat.
  2. Close your eyes or soften your gaze (that means don’t focus your gaze on any one thing in particular).
  3. Take some deep breaths.
  4. Now begin to notice how you feel both in your body and in your mind.
  5. Thoughts will naturally pop into your head. The goal of this meditation is simply to notice those thoughts and not to dwell on them. I like to imagine these thoughts as little butterflies that land on a flower and then fly off quickly. 
  6. Don’t stress if you feel like “it’s not working”. After all, this is called a meditation practice!

Guided Meditation

This type of meditation is done by listening to someone else’s voice, either in person or some other recorded audio. The sound of someone’s voice can be very grounding and a great way from keeping the mind from wandering off too much. This type of meditation is especially useful for beginners because it takes the pressure off of what to do with your thoughts. 

How to practice Guided Meditation

  1. Find a comfortable seat in a quiet space. 
  2. Close your eyes or soften your gaze (that means don’t focus your gaze on any one thing in particular).
  3. If using a recording choose a guided meditation.
  4. Make sure you can clearly hear the audio, either by choosing earbuds or making sure the volume is high enough.


Visualization meditation is a type of meditation where you focus on something positive (like a person, place or thing) or a specific outcome. It might seem counterintuitive to focus on something when meditation is all about letting go of thoughts but this is a great type of meditation for beginners. This type of meditation has been proven to be especially effective for depression, anxiety and insomnia. 

How to practice

  1. Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place.
  2. Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
  3. Choose something positive you want to focus on. It can be a goal you want to achieve, something you are grateful for, or a person you want to send loving kindness to.
  4. Take some deep breaths and hold the image in your mind. 

Mantra Meditation

To practice mantra meditation, you choose a powerful word or phrase and repeat it over and over again either out loud or in your mind. The vibrations generated from chanting your mantra out loud can have added benefits, as the vibrations can help to release blocked energy. If you have a hard time focusing during meditation (or anytime) using a mantra can also be an effective tool to strengthen your ability to focus. 

Choosing a mantra is not hard and can be as simple as chanting “om” or “Sat Nam” (meaning I am truth) or “Om Shanti” (meaning peace). You can also choose a phrase for your mantra like “I am peace”, “I am love”, “I am enough”. Or simply choose one work like “Love”, “Peace”, or “Joy”. You can try different mantras. If you find one doesn’t work for you, try another! 

How to practice

  1. Choose your mantra.
  2. Find a comfortable seat or quiet place.
  3. Repeat your mantra slowly and steadily out loud 10 times.
  4. After 10 repetitions, keep repeating the mantra silently in your head while moving your lips 10 more times.
  5. After 10 repetitions, repeat the mantra in your mind without moving your lips for 10 more times. 
  6. Let the mind be still. If it begins to wander, return to your mantra. 

Movement Meditation

Just as in a meditation where you are seated, movement meditation is rooted in being aware of the present moment and keeping the mind focused on what is happening in the moment. Movement meditation can be done through different types of movement. It can be done while practicing yoga, running, or even going for a walk. 

How to practice:

  1. Choose a movement that you’re comfortable with. You should have some level of competence in the movement you choose. So if you’ve never been a runner, don’t choose running for movement meditation!
  2. As you begin to move, be aware of connecting your breath with your movement. If you’re running, become aware of the sound of your feet as they hit the pavement. If you are walking, notice the sites and sounds around and how your arms and legs move in unison with your breath.

You Might Also Like:

  1. How to Build an At Home Yoga Practice
  2. Pranayama Practice for Beginners

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