Guided Meditation For Beginners

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Meditation for beginners

So you’ve decided to start looking after the health of your mind by meditating. But where to begin? How to get started? What are the basics? How will it feel? What to expect? All perfectly normal questions, and, lucky for you, we’re here with the answers you need to get started.Try for free

Most first-time mediators find it strange to sit in silence, to sit with their innermost thoughts and feelings, to sit and do nothing — the very things that, funnily enough, the mind tends to resist. To a beginner, meditation might initially feel a little alien, perhaps even daunting, but that’s okay. People have been meditating for around 3,000 years, and many have doubtless experienced the same reticence, trepidation, or wonder that first-time mediators often feel.Most first-time mediators find it strange to sit in silence, to sit with their innermost thoughts and feelings, to sit and do nothing — the very things that, funnily enough, the mind tends to resist. To a beginner, meditation might initially feel a little alien, perhaps even daunting, but that’s okay. People have been meditating for around 3,000 years, and many have doubtless experienced the same reticence, trepidation, or wonder that first-time mediators often feel.

Best Free Online Guided Meditations for Beginners

Are you looking to advance your practice but don’t want to pay for an app subscription or membership at an expensive meditation studio? Look no further. We’ve compiled some of the best free online guided meditations that can help you relax, channel love and compassion, find self-forgiveness, and relieve anxiety.

The experience of meditation

When you close your eyes and follow the instructions of your first guided meditation (whether in-person or via a recording), you should expect your mind to be busy, easily distracted, and restless, if not more so. Just because you’ve chosen to sit and meditate doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly experience uninterrupted calm, in the same way you’d never expect to tame a wild horse overnight.

The process of meditating is straightforward and easy: simply sit and practice. All you have to do is close your eyes, stay focused on your breathing, and let your mind do its thing. This is the one skill where you don’t have to strive to achieve something — just a place of stillness where no effort is required.

There is no such thing as a good or bad meditation. There is only awareness or non-awareness. The moment you realize you’re lost in thought, that’s awareness, and that’s when you return to the object of focus (usually the breath). This is all you have to keep doing — return from your distracted thought to the breath, all the time honing your awareness. With perseverance, the periods between awareness and distraction will get longer and longer.

Before starting, it’s good to familiarize yourself with how the mind works and what to expect of it when you sit down to meditate. A good introduction is this short animation that uses the experience of sitting by the road watching traffic to explain how meditation helps change your perspective on your thoughts or feelings by teaching you to observe and let them go without getting caught up in them.

7 Amazing Guided Meditations for Beginners

7 Amazing Guided Meditations for Beginners

There are so many amazing benefits that come from a regular meditation practice. Meditation will teach you to become more present and more aware. It will teach you how to appreciate the blessings in your life and how to find the space in your heart and mind for love and kindness.

But starting meditating can be quite overwhelming. I get it. It was like that for me too at the beginning. I had soooo many questions.

Like where I should start ? and what on earth should I do while meditating ? Is there a correct way to sit ? A correct way of breathing ? And why do my arms feel so awkward ? Help !

When you start meditating, you might find it hard to know what to do at first. I’m pretty sure everybody goes through that phase, so worry not it’s perfectly normal. Release your expectations of what you think meditation ‘should be’ and slowly learn to find stillness and peace within yourself and within your practice.

If you are just starting out, I strongly recommend you try guided meditations.

Guided meditations are amazing tools especially when you are just starting out. They are easy to follow, have background music to help you concentrate (that monkey mind is going to wander a lot in the beginning) and have Morgan-Freeman-sh soothing voices.

So, if you’ve been wanting to start meditating but felt a little lost and overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and know that it’s perfectly normal. Be gentle with yourself and give these guided meditations for beginners a try.

They will guide you through all those questions and uncertainty you might have. Just put headphones on, create space for yourself and go within.

1 Guided Meditation For Beginners to Learn how to Meditate

This 11 minute guided meditation is perfect for anyone starting their meditation practice and it is one of my favorites. Juliana has an incredibly soothing voice that will make you feel relaxed and at peace in just moments.

⟶ Try this 11-minute-long guided meditation for beginners if it’s your first time meditating and/or if you have many questions about how to meditate.

2 Let go of Anxiety, Fear & Worries: A guided meditation for beginners

This beautiful guided meditation is the one I always listen to whenever I am feeling stressed but especially when I have anxiety attacks. Kenneth has an incredible voice and allows me to let go in a safe and natural way.

⟶ Try this 22-minute-long guided meditation for beginners if you are feeling tensed, stressed or anxious and want to heal and release energy that does not serve you anymore. As a tree in autumn who let’s go of the leafs naturally, effortlessly and inevitably you will learn to let go of what worries you

3 Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners on Being Present

Buddha has described the human mind as being filled with crazy monkeys, jumping around, screeching and chattering endlessly …which can become rapidly overwhelming. By having a regular meditation practice, you can over time learn to tame those crazy monkeys, but this can be quite a challenge when starting out. So here is a guided meditation that will help you to develop your skill of being present, mindful and tame that monkey mind of yours.

⟶ Try this-20-minute long guided meditation for beginners if you are looking to learn how to be more mindful and present. It will reduce your stress level, as well as improve your overall health and well-being when practiced regularly.

4 Chakra Balancing, Cleansing, and Healing Meditation and Visualization

This guided meditation is more of a visualization where you will be balancing your chakras. You will bring attention to each chakra and help restore the balanced energetic flow through the chakra system. Not sure what chakras are ? Read more about them right here.

⟶ Try this 20-minute-long guided meditation for beginners if you want to balance, cleanse and heal your individual chakras as well as the system as a whole.

5 Guided Meditation for Beginners on Centered Happiness 

This guided meditation by Michael Sealy is really a bliss. With his incredibly soothing voice and soft background music, you will be guided to shift your awareness to your center and explore any emotions, sensation that reside there.
⟶ Try this 20-minute-long guided meditation for beginners if you want to explore your inner emotions and find happiness within.

6 Guided Meditation for Beginners on Taking Care of Yourself and Cultivating Self-Love

Self-care is one of the most crucial things we can do for our physical, emotions and mental well-being. No, it is not egoistic to take time to love yourself and No, it doesn’t mean that you have to go to the spa all the time. Self-care can come in many shapes and one of them can be meditation.

⟶ Try this 21-minute-long guided meditation for beginners if you want to embark on a journey of relaxation. Indulge in some self-love by filling yourself up with love. It will reduce your stress and improve your overall health and well-being when practiced regularly. <br/>

7 Guided Meditation for Beginners on Ending of the Day

Finding time to meditate can be quite a challenge. I myself still struggle with that from time to time. It’s so easy to just wing it after a long day at work when all you truly want to do is lay down and watch some Netflix. This is why I added this short and beautiful guided meditation to help you be consistent with your meditation practice even after a long and hard day.

⟶ Try this 13 minute long guided meditation for beginners to end your day in a beautiful state of mind. It is short enough so that even if you’ve had a terribly long and exhausting day, you can still squeeze this one in. 

The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

I’m sure you’ve heard or read about the benefits of having a meditation routine, but you might still feel a bit hesitant to start because you find the whole concept of meditating too daunting, or you think that you need a lot of time to practice meditation.

Or maybe, you tried it a few times but it felt frustrating because you felt your mind overflown with thoughts and you might have felt overwhelmed, and probably told yourself that you’re not good at it.

In this article, I’ll share basic concepts about the real purpose of meditation, the benefits of incorporating this sacred practice into your life and simple tips to follow, so you can clear away the obstacles to your daily practice and learn some basic practicing exercises that will make a positive difference in your life.

Your body and mind on morning meditation

Meditation is a great tool to maintain a healthy balance of dialogue between your mind and your body. It is a simple technique that you can practice anytime and anywhere to alleviate stress. Just like physical exercise, the more you practice, the more benefits you’ll notice and the longer they will last – in both, mind and body.

A study by The American Psychological Association reported that 40 percent of the people they surveyed reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods as a result of stress, while 46 percent said they lie awake at night due to high stress levels.

Here’s the thing: you can focus on eating healthier, exercising more frequently, getting more sleep, using more natural products on our skin and at home, but if you don’t take care of your mind, you will still feel unbalanced in your life.

Meditation makes you have a cleaner body and clearer mind:[1]

A Harvard study showed that meditating can help decrease stress and anxiety levels which in turn will diminish inflammation in our bodies, reduce blood pressure, improve attention, sleep better, help us make smarter choices and regulate our thoughts, so we don’t jump so fast into reacting and judging.

Feeling Stuck in the Middle of a Challenge?

Meditation helps to reduce stress, but a great benefit is that you will find peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. One of the biggest goals of meditation is that you tune in with yourself and connect with your center, to get in touch with the energy of “oneness”.

Meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought there and there’s little space between every thought that is called stillness – this space is the gateway to the infinite mind and that sense of divine connection.

Clearing the obstacles to morning meditation

The most common obstacles to meditation are the ones that we create ourselves, even if sometimes we are not aware.

Here are a few of the most common ways we tend to resist starting a new meditation practice and what to do about it:

“I don’t have time.”

There’s a misconception that you need to sit down to meditate for at least 30 minutes to an hour. You can start your daily practice investing anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. You can set the rules for yourself! You just need to commit to starting.

Start small, and as you practice more consistently I can tell you that you’ll start adding more time to your practice.

“I can’t sit still.”

Do meditation your own way. Some people don’t like sitting but they enjoy walking meditations.

Dr. Kelly McGowan suggests a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.

“My mind never stops.”

It is normal to feel frustration while learning to meditate. Shifting your expectations will help in overcoming this obstacle.

Always focus on subtle incremental improvements. A great achievement is to gradually understand your mind and learn how to shift negative thinking.

Basic morning meditation techniques

Every good meditation practice begins with finding what works best for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate since there are different techniques or styles of meditation.

Here are a few of them:

  • Breathing meditation – You can use this technique alone as a meditation to calm your mind and reduce distractions. Simply focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. This video can help you with this.
  • Candle staring – This is great if you find it hard focusing. Just light a candle and stare at it. Your attention will be held. If your mind has thoughts, just thank them and go back to staring at the candle.
  • Mantra meditation – Repeating words can help you find calm and focus. Here are 8 powerful mantras for deep inner peace.
  • Guided meditation – There are many resources online that have guided meditations and music to help you relax. Just google “guided meditation” and you’ll find tons of resources.
  • Walking meditation – We cover that one above — a 10 minute walking meditation involving 1 minute of paying attention to each of the feelings of your body while walking, the feeling of your breath, the sensations of air or wind on your skin, what you can hear, and what you can see.
  • Mindfulness meditation – Mindfulness is about recognizing what is happening in the present moment, including what is arising and passing. This includes thoughts, sounds, feelings in the body and anything else present. The idea is to just observe without judgment, and remain open and aware. Here is a step-by-step guide to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life.

Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Understanding the Mind

The most important habit I’ve formed in the last 10 years of forming habits is meditation. Hands down, bar none.

Meditation has helped me to form all my other habits, it’s helped me to become more peaceful, more focused, less worried about discomfort, more appreciative and attentive to everything in my life. I’m far from perfect, but it has helped me come a long way.

Probably most importantly, it has helped me understand my own mind. Before I started meditating, I never thought about what was going on inside my head — it would just happen, and I would follow its commands like an automaton. These days, all of that still happens, but more and more, I am aware of what’s going on. I can make a choice about whether to follow the commands. I understand myself better (not completely, but better), and that has given me increased flexibility and freedom.

So … I highly recommend this habit. And while I’m not saying it’s easy, you can start small and get better and better as you practice. Don’t expect to be good at first — that’s why it’s called “practice”!

These tips aren’t aimed at helping you to become an expert … they should help you get started and keep going. You don’t have to implement them all at once — try a few, come back to this article, try one or two more.

  1. Sit for just two minutes. This will seem ridiculously easy, to just meditate for two minutes. That’s perfect. Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first.
  2. Do it first thing each morning. It’s easy to say, “I’ll meditate every day,” but then forget to do it. Instead, set a reminder for every morning when you get up, and put a note that says “meditate” somewhere where you’ll see it.
  3. Don’t get caught up in the how — just do. Most people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use … this is all nice, but it’s not that important to get started. Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimizing it so you’ll be comfortable for longer, but in the beginning it doesn’t matter much, just sit somewhere quiet and comfortable.
  4. Check in with how you’re feeling. As you first settle into your meditation session, simply check to see how you’re feeling. How does your body feel? What is the quality of your mind? Busy? Tired? Anxious? See whatever you’re bringing to this meditation session as completely OK.
  5. Count your breaths. Now that you’re settled in, turn your attention to your breath. Just place the attention on your breath as it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one.
  6. Come back when you wander. Your mind will wander. This is an almost absolute certainty. There’s no problem with that. When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. Count “one” again, and start over. You might feel a little frustration, but it’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, we all do it. This is the practice, and you won’t be good at it for a little while.
  7. Develop a loving attitude. When you notice thoughts and feelings arising during meditation, as they will, look at them with a friendly attitude. See them as friends, not intruders or enemies. They are a part of you, though not all of you. Be friendly and not harsh.
  8. Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong. You will worry you’re doing it wrong. That’s OK, we all do. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to do it, just be happy you’re doing it.
  9. Don’t worry about clearing the mind. Lots of people think meditation is about clearing your mind, or stopping all thoughts. It’s not. This can sometimes happen, but it’s not the “goal” of meditation. If you have thoughts, that’s normal. We all do. Our brains are thought factories, and we can’t just shut them down. Instead, just try to practice focusing your attention, and practice some more when your mind wanders.
  10. Stay with whatever arises. When thoughts or feelings arise, and they will, you might try staying with them awhile. Yes, I know I said to return to the breath, but after you practice that for a week, you might also try staying with a thought or feeling that arises. We tend to want to avoid feelings like frustration, anger, anxiety … but an amazingly useful meditation practice is to stay with the feeling for awhile. Just stay, and be curious.
  11. Get to know yourself. This practice isn’t just about focusing your attention, it’s about learning how your mind works. What’s going on inside there? It’s murky, but by watching your mind wander, get frustrated, avoid difficult feelings … you can start to understand yourself.
  12. Become friends with yourself. As you get to know yourself, do it with a friendly attitude instead of one of criticism. You’re getting to know a friend. Smile and give yourself love.
  13. Do a body scan. Another thing you can do, once you become a little better at following your breath, is focus your attention on one body part at a time. Start at the soles of your feet — how do those feel? Slowly move to your toes, the tops of your feet, your ankles, all the way to the top of your head.
  14. Notice the light, sounds, energy. Another place to put your attention, again, after you’ve practice with your breath for at least a week, is the light all around you. Just keep your eyes on one spot, and notice the light in the room you’re in. Another day, just focus on noticing sounds. Another day, try to notice the energy in the room all around you (including light and sounds).
  15. Really commit yourself. Don’t just say, “Sure, I’ll try this for a couple days.” Really commit yourself to this. In your mind, be locked in, for at least a month.
  16. You can do it anywhere. If you’re traveling or something comes up in the morning, you can do meditation in your office. In the park. During your commute. As you walk somewhere. Sitting meditation is the best place to start, but in truth, you’re practicing for this kind of mindfulness in your entire life.
  17. Follow guided meditation. If it helps, you can try following guided meditations to start with. My wife is using Tara Brach’s guided meditations, and she finds them very helpful.
  18. Check in with friends. While I like meditating alone, you can do it with your spouse or child or a friend. Or just make a commitment with a friend to check in every morning after meditation. It might help you stick with it for longer.
  19. Find a community. Even better, find a community of people who are meditating and join them. This might be a Zen or Tibetan community near you (for example), where you go and meditate with them. Or find an online group and check in with them and ask questions, get support, encourage others. My Sea Change Program has a community like that.
  20. Smile when you’re done. When you’re finished with your two minutes, smile. Be grateful that you had this time to yourself, that you stuck with your commitment, that you showed yourself that you’re trustworthy, where you took the time to get to know yourself and make friends with yourself. That’s an amazing two minutes of your life.

Meditation isn’t always easy or even peaceful. But it has truly amazing benefits, and you can start today, and continue for the rest of your life.

Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits, and a Beginner’s How-to

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist — so how do you learn how to meditate?

“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. It’s a family of activities, not a single thing,” University of Wisconsin neuroscience lab director Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D., told The New York Times. And different meditation practices require different mental skills.

It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind.” We have some tools such as a beginner meditation DVD or a brain-sensing headband to help you through this process when you are starting out. In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.

Concentration meditation

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer duration.

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.

In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.

Other meditation techniques

There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.

Benefits of meditation

If relaxation is not the goal of meditation, it is often a result. In the 1970s, Herbert Benson, MD, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, coined the term “relaxation response” after conducting research on people who practiced transcendental meditation. The relaxation response, in Benson’s words, is “an opposite, involuntary response that causes a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.”

Since then, studies on the relaxation response have documented the following short-term benefits to the nervous system:

Contemporary researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice yields long-term benefits, and noting positive effects on brain and immune function among mediators. Yet it’s worth repeating that the purpose of meditation is not to achieve benefits. To put it as an Eastern philosopher may say, the goal of meditation is no goal. It’s simply to be present.

In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. The liberated or “enlightened” practitioner no longer needlessly follows desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.

How to meditate: Simple meditation for beginners

This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  2. Close your eyes. We recommend using one of our Cooling Eye Masks or Restorative Eye Pillows if lying down. 
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods. 

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