Meditation is a powerful mental training exercise with many health benefits beyond calming the mind and relaxing the body. While there are many different types of exercises and methods designed to accomplish various goals, getting started with meditation and beginning to enjoy its many health benefits is fairly easy and can be done by just about anyone who is willing to try.
Below are a few simple guidelines to help you get started. Keep in mind that while the following method is for beginners and may seem simple to get started with, don't underestimate it. It is a very powerful and effective technique that will take time to master as you deepen your practice.
The upside with learning this particular method as a beginner is that it forms the basic building block of many other types of meditation, so it can be used on its own either as a stand-alone long-term method, or as a springboard into more advanced levels of meditation.
Guidelines for Basic Meditation
- Try to meditate either early in the morning or late at night
- Minimize distractions; turn phone, tv, and lights off, put the dog out, etc
- Start by placing the tip of your tongue to the palate or roof of the inside of your mouth, just behind the back of the top row of your teeth
- Inhale 10 deep, slow and long breaths through your nose; breathe in and out through your nose as slowly and quietly as possible
- Concentrate on breathing from the diaphragm; focus on the action of the breath slowly and deeply entering and leaving your body
- If thoughts or emotions arise do not try to control nor analyze them, nor allow your mind to wander; simply allow these to happen and acknowledge them, then return your mind's focus back on your breathing
- If you lose count of your breath, start back at 1 and try again until you can focus entirely on your breathing for 10 continuous breaths without being interrupted by any thoughts or emotions
- When you can breathe 10 breaths without being interrupted by your thoughts or emotions, stop and wrap it up for the day
- Repeat this same practice for 7 straight days
- After successfully practicing this method for 7 straight days, add 10 more breaths to your daily practice as described above and repeat for 7 more days, and so on
You will likely not need much time at first. But as you continue your practice it may be helpful to also use a timer to help you keep track of time. But the idea is that you focus on building up the number of uninterrupted breaths you can take, not the amount of time you spend meditating (or trying).