Meditation for Beginners5 October 2020
Cambridge Dictionary defines meditation as “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed “. In simple terms, during meditation practice the aim is to train your mind to focus and to learn how to redirect your thoughts.
This can lead to deeper self-awareness and awareness of our surroundings. There are also many other benefits to meditation practice, such as stress and anxiety reduction, increased attention span and better focus, clarity of our mind and thoughts and better sleep, to mention few.
Maybe you have tried meditation class during which you sit in lotus position and either focus on your breath or mantra for a prolonged period of time. After few minutes all you can think is how uncomfortable the sitting position is or how your mind starts wondering on everything else than the meditation. Good news – meditation is a practice like any other, it takes some time to master and there are many different ways to meditate.
Anyone who meditates has once been a a beginner. In the beginning we have many questions and thoughts in our head – “Am I doing this right?”, “Why can’t I empty my mind?”, “I’m bored”. Not to worry, this is all part of the process of learning the practice of meditation. Since there are so many benefits to meditation practice, here are some tips to start your journey: 1. Be patient with yourself and manage your expectations
The aim of meditation practice is to learn awareness and mindfulness. If you don’t immediately manage to become an observer of your own thoughts, don’t get frustrated. Try to let go any expectations you might have and go to your first classes or home sessions with an open mind. If you struggle, especially in the beginning, it’s completely normal. Keep going back to your meditation practice and you will see a change. 2. You can start with shorter meditation practice
If an hour meditation class sounds too overwhelming, you can start with shorter practice. You can find short 3-10 minute guided meditation sessions online, or you can just sit or lie still and focus on your breath for a period of time.
3. Try different types of meditation classes and teachers There isn’t only one way or right or wrong way to meditate. You can try different types of meditation practices to find one that suits you. Guided meditation practice might be good for new practitioners, the teacher will guide you through the practice. Or do a walking meditation, where you focus on and follow your own footsteps. In mindfulness meditation, you left your thoughts to come and go, but you don’t want to invite them for tea. In focused meditation, you concentrate using any of your five senses, such as your breath, sound of a gong or staring at a candle flame. There are many other forms of meditation practice you can try or mix different practices. You can even do movement meditation while gardening or practising a yoga class – you might have heard Bikram teachers call
the practice an open eye moving meditation.
4. Keep coming back to your meditation practice
Try to create a habit of your practice. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Such as a yoga class, every meditation practice might feel slightly different. Try to keep an open mind and not have too many expectations or put any pressure on yourself.
Written by Ilkka Karhu
About Ilkka Karhu
I believe anyone can benefit from yoga, both mentally and physically. I teach with a smile on my face and always try to share with my students the inner calm and the positive vibes that yoga and meditation give- Nordic style.