In this post, I’ll provide you with all the information you need on how to meditate including a step-by-step guide as well as some of the most frequently asked questions and answers.
How To Meditate
Meditation is becoming increasingly popular around the world, particularly in the west, as more and more people look for a way to manage with their fast-paced lives.
However, those who are new to meditation may be unsure where to begin, what to do and what to expect. The good news is that mediation is one of the simplest (and most powerful) tools around.
Before we continue, let’s define exactly what meditation is.
What Is Meditation?
In its simplest form, meditation is a practice used to train the mind to become more focused and aware which in turn improves our mental clarity and overall well-being.
So, how exactly do we meditate?
How To Meditate In 6 Simple Steps
Below I’ll explain how to meditate in 6 simple steps.
Step 1 – Pick Your Attire
Good news – there is no dress code. The only thing you need to worry about is being comfortable and relaxed. You may want to loosen or completely remove things like ties, belts, hats, shoes, heels etc if you feel they are going to distract you or make you feel uncomfortable.
Key Takeaway: It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t wear when meditating as long as you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Step 2 – Pick A Time
As with anything, dedicating a time and incorporating meditation into your daily or weekly routine will help develop it as a habit.
One of the best things about meditation is that you can practice it any time of the day. Some prefer to do it in the morning, some in the evening before going to sleep, some both. Ultimately however it’s about choosing a time that fits your own schedule.
Key Takeaway: Setting aside a specific time each day/week will encourage meditation to become a habit.
Step 3 – Pick A Place
Meditation is best practised in a peaceful and tranquil environment, which can be either indoors or outdoors. Find somewhere you will not be interrupted for the duration of your meditation.
Key Takeaway: A quiet place will help minimise external distractions and mind wandering.
Step 4 – Pick A Seat
Depending on whether you are indoors or outdoors, you can sit on the floor, a pillow, your bed, a chair or sofa, bench or anything else that works for you.
Experienced meditators tend to use a mat of some sort. Alternatively, there are cushions you can buy that are specifically designed for meditation that can help keep you in an upright position.
Key Takeaway: It doesn’t really matter what you sit on, as long as you are comfortable.
Step 5 – Pick A Posture
There are a range of postures that you can employ when meditating. Most people sit cross-legged. However, if you are new to the practice or have back problems, then feel free to use a chair.
Regardless of how you are sitting, ensure your back is straight and your neck is relaxed. Your chin should be slightly tucked in and slightly facing up. Rest your hands loosely on your knees or lap.
Key Takeaway: Sit in a position that you are most comfortable with. The important thing to remember is to keep your back erect.
Step 6 – Duration
You can choose to meditate for as little or as much time as you feel is necessary or are able to depending on your own personal preferences, circumstances and of course time you have available in your daily/weekly routine.
Seasoned meditators may sit for anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours a day but even as little as 3-5 minutes can make a big difference.
Use a timer or an alarm so you know when your time is up. If you are using your phone you may want to select the option ‘Do Not Disturb’ in order to avoid any notifications and distractions.
Key Takeaway: Decide on the amount of time you want to meditate before you begin. The important thing to remember here is quality and not quantity.
Step 6 – The Meditation
Now all the preparation is out the way you are ready to meditate.
You can practice mediation with either your eyes open with ‘soft eyes’ or eyes closed. Most prefer to perform it with their eyes closed in order to avoid visual distractions.
Note: Soft eyes means you are not aware of any object, rather just aware of the space you are in.
Close your mouth and simply breathe naturally (without force) from your abdomen (stomach). Focus your attention entirely on your breath.
You will find your mind will start to wonder and all sorts of thoughts will enter your head. It may take you a while to even realise your mind has drifted. This is completely normal. Whenever this happens (it will – a lot) then gently bring back your focus to your breathing. This is the art of meditation. Training your mind.
Continue meditating until your timer is up. Once your timer goes off, slowly and gently open your eyes and go on about your day as normal. As you do so, you may notice a sense of calmness and clarity.
Voila – you’ve just performed a session of meditation!
Key Takeaway: Close your eyes and mouth and simply observe your breath. Every time your mind wonders or becomes restless, bring your focus back to your breath and continue doing this until your timer sounds.
How To Meditate Summary
- Pick Your Attire
- Pick A Time
- Pick A Place
- Pick A Seat
- Pick A Posture
- The Meditation
Learn To Love The Process
There is no such thing as good or bad meditation – rather, there is awareness and non-awareness. Every time you realise your mind has wondered, that is awareness, at which point you bring back your focus to your breath. This will hone your awareness. The more you practice meditation, the longer you will be able to maintain focus without distraction.
This is why it’s important to appreciate and value the process as there is no end goal.
How To Meditate FAQ
Below we’ve listed some of the most commonly asked questions with regards to how to meditate along with the answers.
Why Do We Focus On Our Breath?
Breath is the very essence of our lives. It is the anchor. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to survive. Furthermore, every emotion we think and feel affects the pattern, rate and depth of our breathing. This is why we focus on our breath when practicing meditation.
When first entering the world of meditation, it can feel both strange and daunting. The good news is this is completely normal. You are one of countless other first-time meditators that will have experienced the same apprehension.
By understanding why you are doing it and the benefits that mediation will bring, not only will you be more motivated, but you will also be in a better position to overcome the inevitable ups and downs.
The more you practice meditation, the more experienced you will become which will ultimately lead to an overall improved state of well-being.