When you hear the word “meditation” what comes to mind? Chances are that you’re conjuring up images of incense, mantras and sitting still and doing nothing for huge blocks of time. But meditation encompasses so much more than that, and can be done in a variety of ways and places. In fact, there are few activities that don’t include an opportunity for some sort of meditation. Here are a few ideas to get any beginner started.
A few minutes of mindful meditation
The most popular technique in the West, mindfulness meditation actually has its roots in Buddhist teachings. But before you go out and buy a statue and some salt lamps, let us reassure you: it’s really not that complicated. The whole premise behind a mindful meditation is to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts, without judging them or becoming involved. You are simply an observer of them, focusing on your breath and taking note of your body’s different sensations and feelings. It sounds easy-- because it is. Not convinced yet? Let our meditation expert Deborah explain a bit more here.
Light up your life
If you prefer having something other than your thoughts to focus on while trying meditation for the first time, candlelight meditation might be for you. In this type, you light a candle and stare into the flame, emptying your mind completely. When you fix your gaze on it, all other images fade away and your brain no longer receives any new information that it needs to process. This is especially helpful when you need to slow down and separate yourself from negative thoughts or situations, as candlelight has an inherently calming effect on body and soul. To really enhance your candlelight meditation, add an element of aromatherapy with a scented candle, so you can engage the nose as well as the eyes.
Maybe you’re somebody who has problems sitting still, so the thought of meditation has never really appealed to you. No worries! You can combine meditation with physical activity to unite both body and soul. As Chandresh Bhardwaj, founder of the Break The Norms Meditation Program, told Runner’s World magazine, “It’s a myth that meditation happens only when you light candles or incense and sit cross-legged. When you are deeply involved in any activity, you become meditative.” Most runners admit that while they’re working on their bodies, they’re also trying to mentally tackle a problem or troubling emotion. Running meditation includes setting intentions, making a list of everything you see and counting footfalls, all of which help you live in the moment. And while your body gets a workout, your mind does, too.
Journal your way to deep meditation
Not a runner but still interested in setting some intentions to help guide you? Grab a pen and some paper and start writing. When you combine meditation with journaling, you are able to empty your thoughts onto the page and more easily get to the root of the issues you may be facing. Once you’ve done this, you can explore what changes are needed to become the best version of yourself. Check out our exclusive video with our expert Erica for inspiration.
Let us be your guide
Guided meditation is perfect for the beginner who is eager to try something new yet a bit daunted by doing it alone. That’s why we developed special guided meditations and shared them on our app to support and encourage you. With the ease and convenience of your smartphone (which is always close by, we know!) you can follow these practices anytime and anywhere.
There you have it: just a few suggestions on where to start when it comes to meditation. We also recommend that you read expert Deborah’s article How to Start Meditating for some helpful and general advice before embarking on this worthwhile journey. To discover even more kinds of meditation (including instructional videos), check out this section of our Magazine. Whichever type you choose, we encourage you to turn it into a daily ritual, that is certain to enhance your life in a variety of ways.