You may have seen meditation classes or courses you can take, where an instructor offers to teach you to how to meditate for a fee ranging anywhere from $45 - $125! For how important meditation is, we don’t want to gatekeep the power it can have on your wellness journey. Continue reading our guide on how to properly meditate - what to do and what not to do when practicing this ritual.
10-Step Meditation Guide
Meditation is a practice that involves training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It can help improve mental clarity, reduce stress, and promote a sense of calm and well-being. Here are some steps to help you get started with meditation:
- Find a quiet and comfortable space: Choose a peaceful environment where you won't be easily disturbed. Whether it’s in your home, or out in nature - anywhere you find peace will do!
- Set a time limit: Decide on the duration of your meditation session, starting with a few minutes and gradually increasing over time.
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position: Find a posture that allows you to be relaxed yet attentive. You can sit cross-legged on a cushion, sit on a chair with your feet grounded, or even lie down if that works better for you.
- Close your eyes or soften your gaze: Close your eyes gently or lower your gaze, reducing external distractions.
- Take a few deep breaths: Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise, and exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension or stress.
- Focus on your breath: Direct your attention to the sensation of your breath. Notice the inhales and exhales, the rise and fall of your abdomen or chest.
- Be aware of your thoughts: Thoughts will arise naturally. Instead of getting caught up in them, observe them with detachment, letting them pass without judgment, and gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
- Cultivate present moment awareness: As you focus on your breath, bring your attention fully to the present moment, embracing the here and now.
- Allow sensations and emotions: Notice any physical sensations or emotions that arise during your meditation. Acknowledge them without judgment, and let them be as they are.
- End with gratitude and gentleness: When you're ready to finish your meditation, take a moment to express gratitude for the practice and the stillness you experienced. Slowly bring your awareness back to the surroundings and carry the calmness with you into your day.
Remember, these steps are a simplified guide. As you deepen your practice, you may explore different techniques and adjust the process to suit your needs. The most important aspect is to approach meditation with patience, consistency, and a non-judgmental attitude.
Meditation is different for everyone!
Meditation is a deeply personal practice that works differently for each individual. Just as we all have unique personalities, circumstances, and preferences, our experiences with meditation will vary. The beauty of meditation lies in its adaptability, allowing us to incorporate elements into our routine that specifically cater to our needs.
Whether it's focusing on breath, using guided meditations, practicing mindfulness in daily activities, or exploring different techniques, there are countless ways to customize your meditation practice.
Some may find solace in silent, solitary meditation, while others may thrive in group settings. Some may benefit from visualization or mantra repetition, while others may find peace in body-focused techniques like yoga or tai chi.
By exploring and experimenting, we can discover what resonates with us individually, tailoring our meditation practice to nurture our well-being, address specific challenges, and cultivate inner peace.
The key is to listen to our intuition, be open to new approaches, and create a meditation routine that serves our unique needs and promotes growth, healing, and self-discovery.
Elements to incorporate into your meditation routine
There are various elements you can incorporate into your meditation practice to make it more tailored to your needs and preferences. Here are some of our favorite elements:
- Breathwork: Focusing on the breath is a fundamental aspect of many meditation techniques. You can incorporate specific breathing exercises such as deep belly breathing, alternate nostril breathing, or box breathing to help calm the mind and deepen your awareness.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to the present moment and observing your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. You can practice mindfulness in meditation by simply noticing what arises in your awareness and letting it be.
- Candles: Lighting candles can create a soothing and serene environment for your meditation. Choose scented or unscented candles, depending on your preference. The soft, warm lighting can help promote relaxation and a sense of calmness as you focus on the flickering flame.
- Mantras or affirmations: Mantras are repeated phrases or sounds that help focus the mind. You can choose a word, phrase, or affirmation that resonates with you and repeat it silently or aloud during your meditation to cultivate a particular quality or intention.
- Visualization: Visualization involves creating mental images or scenes in your mind's eye. You can visualize peaceful landscapes, healing light, or positive experiences to enhance relaxation and promote a sense of well-being during meditation.
- Body scan: Body scan meditation involves systematically bringing your attention to different parts of the body, starting from the top of the head and moving downward. This technique helps cultivate awareness of physical sensations, relaxes the body, and promotes a sense of embodiment.
- Nature elements: Connecting with nature can be deeply grounding and soothing. If possible, meditate outdoors or bring natural elements indoors, such as plants, flowers, or natural sounds like flowing water or bird songs.
- Journaling: Before or after your meditation practice, you can incorporate journaling as a way to reflect on your experiences, insights, or any emotions that arise during your meditation. Writing can help deepen self-awareness and provide a space for self-reflection.
Remember, these are just a few examples, and there are many other elements and techniques you can explore. The key is to listen to your intuition, experiment with different approaches, and find what resonates with you personally, making your meditation practice a uniquely enriching and fulfilling experience.
While meditation can be a transformative practice that brings peace and clarity, it's important to approach it with a sense of openness and awareness. As you embark on your meditation journey, it can be helpful to be mindful of certain aspects to avoid or be cautious of. By recognizing these potential pitfalls, you can navigate your practice with greater ease and reap the full benefits of meditation.
What not to do when meditating
Here are a few things to keep in mind, to ensure that your meditation experience remains balanced and fruitful.
- Striving for perfection: Meditation is a practice that requires patience and non-judgment. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations or striving for a perfect meditation experience. It's natural for thoughts to arise during meditation, and the goal is not to eliminate them completely but to observe them with detachment and gently redirect your attention.
- Forcing or resisting: Trying to force relaxation or a specific outcome can create tension and hinder the natural flow of meditation. Similarly, resisting or pushing away thoughts or emotions can lead to frustration. Instead, allow your meditation to unfold naturally, embracing whatever arises with acceptance and curiosity.
- Becoming overly attached: While it's beneficial to have intentions or goals for your meditation practice, avoid becoming overly attached to specific outcomes or experiences. Attachment can create expectations and disappointment. Stay open to whatever unfolds during your meditation, allowing it to be as it is.
- Judging your practice: Meditation is a personal journey, and each session may differ. Avoid judging your meditation practice as "good" or "bad." There will be days when your mind feels busy or restless, and that's completely normal. Embrace each session as an opportunity for growth and learning, regardless of how it unfolds.
- Getting discouraged: Meditation takes time and consistent practice to cultivate its benefits. Don't get discouraged if you don't experience immediate results or profound insights. The benefits of meditation often emerge gradually and accumulate over time. Trust in the process and stay committed to your practice.
- Multitasking: During meditation, try to devote your full attention to the practice. Avoid multitasking or using meditation as a background activity while engaging in other tasks. Give yourself the opportunity to immerse fully in the present moment and create a dedicated space for meditation.
- Neglecting self-care: Meditation is a powerful tool for self-care, but it's essential to complement it with other healthy habits. Avoid neglecting other aspects of self-care, such as proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and maintaining healthy relationships. Cultivate a well-rounded approach to overall well-being.
Remember, meditation is a personal and evolving practice. Be gentle with yourself, embrace the imperfections, and approach your meditation with an open and non-judgmental attitude. With time and dedication, you'll develop a rewarding meditation practice!