Meditation works for everyone
Meditation explained in simple terms: 10 tips for beginners
April 15, 2020
When you think of meditation, do you first think of esoteric long-haired hippies sipping mallow tea and pondering the state of the world? Then unfortunately you think wrong. Or at least you only have a very small part of the meditation fans in mind.
Meditation is a series of mindfulness and concentration exercises. Their goal is to achieve a state of inner calm. You can think of this state as thoughtless awareness. Your mind is awake and consciously perceives, but it is directed inwards and turned away from the outside.
Our tip is: get rid of all expectations. Do not build up pressure to be able to meditate properly immediately and to quickly recognize an effect. Get involved in meditation and find your individual path - because not all meditation exercises are equally good for everyone.
Ideally every day - even several times, if it is good for you! It doesn't matter when. If you meditate in the morning before you start the day, the mind is still fresh and you can focus on the day ahead. In the evening, meditating helps to process what has been experienced. It can also help to deal with stressful situations during the day.
How long a meditation lasts depends on what you want to achieve and what the circumstances are. Anything is possible between 5 and 45 minutes or even longer. Most guided meditations are based on a duration of around 20 minutes. Do not set yourself too much at the beginning, start with 5 minutes and increase slowly.
There are several ways to learn to meditate. It is also a bit of a question of type which path is right for you:
• Courses at your location
• Exchange with other beginners and advanced users
• Books on meditation & meditation exercises
• Online courses & numerous videos on guided meditations
• With apps
Meditation is about focusing your attention. By concentrating on a thought, sensation, emotion, or your breath, you focus and calm your mind. This can help you complete certain tasks or simply go about your day-to-day life. Many practitioners swear by the effects of regular meditation and draw strength and inspiration from it.
What is meditation
If you search the internet for a definition of meditation, you will find out more or less in detail that it is a spiritual practice with a long tradition. Most of the time we think of Far Eastern cultures. But also in Christianity different forms of meditation were practiced centuries ago.
But we're not in history class here. We want to bring meditation closer to you as something that enriches your life - if you get involved.
There are two different (external) types of meditation: In the passive meditation do you sit or lie down without moving. In the active meditation on the other hand, you do physical exercises. This can be simple walking, but it can also include yoga and certain martial arts styles. Praying or saying affirmations (beliefs) and mantras are also part of it.
The essential core of every form of meditation is the concentration of attention. You can concentrate on different objects: your breathing, physical sensations, emotions, smells, sounds or a picture in your mind's eye.
The Goal of meditation is to focus your mind and thereby calm it down. If you meditate regularly over a long period of time, you will feel the progress. Health and the immune system are strengthened, you feel less stressed and are more balanced. Another positive effect: the ability to concentrate and creativity increase.
The effects of meditation on the mind and body
We are not starting a digression on the subject of neuroplasticity. Just this much: your brain changes well into old age. And: Meditation affects your consciousness - and also your brain. Would you like to know what effects this can have? Here we go:
- You reduce fear:
Regular meditation shrinks the area in the brain that is responsible for stress and fear responses.
- You relax:
Relaxation comes from just observing what is. With curiosity and acceptance, but without resistance to what is felt.
- You discover yourself:
When you meditate, you become an observer of what is going on in your body and mind. You perceive without judging. Over time, you realize how you tick and how your sensations work together.
- You break through annoying brooding:
By just observing your thoughts, you reduce the tendency of your mind to think about the same subject over and over again.
- You become more relaxed:
Thoughts, emotions and body sensations lose their power if you accept them as they are. Restlessness and agitation give way to a certain serenity over time.
- You train your concentration:
In meditation you focus again and again on the observation of what is currently. This will teach your mind to focus on one thing instead of constantly wandering.
- You arrive in the now:
Meditating is all about the here and now. About the moment when everything happens. This also carries over into your everyday life.
That's not all meditation does to the mind and body. We have only highlighted some of the effects here. Incidentally, this applies to the entire article, which is intended to provide an overview for beginners. That is why we are not yet going into profound topics such as transcendental meditation, chakra meditation or Vipassana meditation.
Meditation For Beginners: 10 Tips To Learn To Meditate
Are you determined to do something good for your body and mind? Great! We have a few tips for you to get you started.
1. Create a meditation space
Humans are creatures of habits. You can take advantage of this: Set up a meditation space. The right place is a quiet place that offers little distraction and that you like. Not that you get angry at the ghastly picture on the wall while you meditate.
If you are on the go and cannot always retreat to the same place, a pillow or blanket can be your meditation place. At some point a kind of ritual arises: your mind switches to relaxation mode as soon as you go to this place or spread your blanket.
2. Make yourself comfortable
Schlabberbuxe instead of pinching waistbands, airy shirt instead of starched collar - don't let your clothes constrict you. What has only been noticeable as a tiny disruptive factor all day long can take on completely different dimensions when meditating.
So: Comfortable clothing is required! It should also match the temperature. Especially when you are meditating outside, you should be dressed warmly enough. It can get chilly if you don't move for a while. But sweating in the blazing sun doesn't help either - that calls for a shady place or a particularly airy outfit.
3. Find your meditation posture
The classic posture when meditating is the lotus position, a kind of cross-legged position. You can also sit on a chair or use a meditation cushion. You can even meditate while lying down - if you don't fall asleep right away.
When sitting or kneeling, your back should definitely be straight and upright. In the beginning it may take some getting used to, but it will go away!
4. Distractions are taboo
Avoid disturbances that interrupt your meditation. Turn off your phone or, if you're using an app, mute calls and notifications. Let family, friends, or roommates know that you don't want to be disturbed.
5. Start with short meditation sessions
As a beginner, you are usually unable to meditate for hours. And when they do, they are rather uncomfortable. But they are also not necessary at all.
In the beginning, limit yourself to a period of five to ten minutes. If you use an app or a video, the time is determined by it. If you meditate without guidance, it makes sense to set a timer. It signals the end.
6. Meditate regularly
Regularity is an important factor in meditation. You don't have to go through long sessions to feel an effect. But if you meditate every day or every other day, you will quickly find that you can relax more easily and deeply. The keyword is continuity, and: quality instead of quantity.
7. Put thoughts aside
The goal of meditation is to calm your thoughts. That sounds wonderfully relaxing, but it is anything but easy, especially at the beginning. In the first few sessions you will probably find yourself going through the shopping list again or thinking about your packing list for backpacking very often.
But don't worry: this is completely normal! Thoughts pop up in your head, put them aside and go back to your practice. What seems like a feat of strength at the beginning will become easier and easier for you over time.
8. Don't let that drive you crazy
Anyone who meditates is doing nothing - at least on the surface. Doing nothing is extremely unfamiliar to most people and often even associated with a guilty conscience. So don't be surprised if your body and mind resist your plan to sit still and just do nothing - and ideally not to think either.
Just resist the impulse to get up and fold laundry. Maybe you get cold feet or your back hurts when you sit upright? Do you suddenly find it silly to sit around and meditate? Ignore that and hold on! The defense reactions become weaker over time. And you will feel the positive effects of mindfulness exercises.
9. After meditation: don't rush
After sitting with your eyes closed for a while and concentrating entirely on yourself, you should take the time to return to everyday life.
Don't jump up straight away and work or organize, just take a few minutes. Look out the window, drink a glass of water, stretch your body - and then return to reality strengthened.
10. Don't expect too much
Expectations that are too high are the enemy of relaxation. Even if the first exercises seem simple, letting go of your thoughts is not easy. We are far too anchored in a society where standing still does not mean anything good.
Most of us find it difficult to pause. Even so, every mindfulness practice will get you ahead. Over time you will become calmer, it will be easier for you to switch off. And at some point, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, you can no longer lose your calm. Exercise and regularity are essential.
Different types of meditation: examples & exercises
Are you curious whether meditation is something for you? We'll keep it short: Make yourself comfortable and get started! You can use meditation to relax, recharge your batteries, improve your concentration or be more aware of yourself - at first it sounds like something for everyone. Try out which form of meditation feels right for you.
Entry into meditation: recharge your batteries
You can do the following training as an introduction to any meditation. It doesn't take long and prepares you for the next exercises. If you make it a routine, it will get your mind and body in the right mood for meditation.
- Take several deep breaths. Imagine that each time you inhale, not only does air enter your lungs, but a surge of energy flows into your body.
- Close your eyes and feel how the energy floods individual parts of your body: the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the ears, the chin. How the energy reaches the upper body from the neck via the shoulders. In the arms, hands and fingers, in the legs, feet and toes.
Meditation with music (relaxation)
This form of meditation could be just right for you if you like quiet music and can let the sounds carry you away. You can find a lot of music on the internet that is suitable for this exercise. This can be a Spotify or iTunes playlist or the music from a YouTube clip.
It is important that the music touches something in you. Music that leaves you completely cold is not suitable. If you choose instrumental music, just focus on the sounds and watch what they do to you. What do the tones trigger in you? What emotions do they arouse?
If you want, you can also listen to Indian chants - regardless of whether you understand them or not. If you concentrate on the singing, you give disturbing thoughts less space and can relax better.
If you dare to sing along - or sing your own lyrics - it can be incredibly liberating. Like when you were a child, when you passionately sang along with your favorite songs in fantasy English. Without worrying what others think about it.
Isn't singing yours? No problem! You can also relax wonderfully and come to rest without your own singing.
Walking meditation (relaxation)
Are you one of those people who always have bumblebees down their ass and need to be active? Then - especially at the beginning - an active form of meditation suits you very well. You don't have to force yourself to sit still, you can move. It doesn't really matter whether you are walking up and down your apartment or walking alone on the beach.
Have you ever left quite consciously? So not with the focus on one goal, but completely focused on your body? Put one foot in front of the other and listen to your breathing, feel the underground under the soles of your feet or the wind on your skin. You can meditate in this way and slow down your carousel of thoughts.
Breathing meditation (relaxation)
Breathing is fascinating. You have to breathe in order to take in the vital oxygen. You breathe in every moment of your life. But how do you breathe?
Did you realize that with conscious breathing you can influence your body and mind? If you only breathe deeply a few times a minute - filling your lungs and expelling all the air - this has a positive effect on your body: you improve blood circulation, build up energy reserves and strengthen your immune system. And not only that: You become calm and serene and inevitably begin to meditate.
You will need a chair or a meditation cushion for the following exercise.
- Sit up straight (and comfortable) and pull your chin slightly towards your throat
- Now close your right nostril with your right thumb and
Inhale deeply through your left nostril
- Then close the left nostril with your right index finger
- Exhale through the right nostril
- Then inhale deeply on the right and exhale on the left
- Focus on your breathing, inhale deeply and exhale completely. Feel within yourself what is changing
With a visualization you use your imagination. You are in your preferred meditation posture with your eyes closed. You imagine a place where you feel completely at ease. Maybe a beach or a forest clearing. It doesn't matter if this place exists or if you make it up.
Imagine that you are in this place and recharge your batteries. What details do you perceive? What do you see? What can you hear there How does it smell in this place? How does the floor feel? Whenever your thoughts wander and get carried away, you can come back to this place.
Affirmations are positive beliefs that you say to yourself while you meditate. It can be something general like Everything will be fine or I am good the way I am. But it can also be adapted to your current situation. The only important thing is: it has to be positive.
Attention to your body (rest)
Use this mindfulness meditation to feel your body. To do this, direct your attention to individual parts of the body during meditation. Start with your toes and work your way up to your head.
The more time you want to invest, the more small steps you can take. How does your body feel Do you have pain or tension? Do you feel powerful Focus only on the awareness of your body.
This exercise brings the ground under your feet - or your back if you are lying - into focus. Imagine roots growing out of your body and penetrating the soil below you.
You get through all floors down to the earth. You are firmly connected to the ground. Power flows into your body through the roots. At the end of your meditation, imagine your roots slowly pulling back into your body.
Do you have problems switching off in the evening? And is that why you find it hard to calm down? Then a meditation exercise can also help you fall asleep. For example, you can do a mindfulness exercise. In this passive type of meditation, you devote yourself to your thoughts and feelings without evaluating them. You perceive physical and mental sensations without consciously intervening:
Lie comfortably in bed and focus on your breath. Count the breaths. When you reach 10, start again at 1. Don't let the pressure build up of having to fall asleep quickly.
As you lie and relax like this, thoughts and feelings will inevitably arise. Let them come up and pass without holding them. Don't judge them, just keep coming back to your breath.
Feel how your head, torso, arms and legs spread out in bed and become more and more relaxed. When your mind calms down, your body gently goes into sleep mode.
Learn to meditate with guided meditation
Many people find learning to meditate more pleasant when they can be guided by a voice in meditation.
The focused state that you want to get into by turning your attention inward is easier to achieve with guided meditation. Because the voice brings you back at regular intervals so that you can't wander into the outer world for too long.
Such meditation instructions exist for different types of meditation. If you use them regularly, you can soon reach a meditative state even without vocal accompaniment. However, especially for beginners, guided meditation has some advantages:
- You don't need any previous knowledge: Everything that is important is explained to you during meditation
- The voice gives you instructions that brush aside possible uncertainty and doubt
- Focusing on your voice will help you turn off your thoughts. If you digress anyway, the voice will quickly bring you back
- A spoken meditation instruction helps beginners to look inward longer than would be possible through their own strength alone.
If you would like to be guided in meditation at the beginning, you can register in a yoga or meditation studio. There are often courses for beginners here. But if you would rather meditate alone or not commit to one place because you travel a lot, the internet is your friend.
There are plenty of Youtube videos that you can meditate with. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or already have experience. Streaming services such as Spotify or iTunes offer meditation music or guided meditations.
Our tip: Meditation apps. 7Min (Android | iOS) or Headspace (Android | iOS) take you by the hand as a beginner and introduce you to the world of meditation. Incidentally, the latter comes from a real monk.
Conclusion: meditation and mindfulness ignite the turbo by decelerating
You may be thinking now: yes, what now - turbo or deceleration ?! Do I accelerate when I meditate or do I come down? And we say: Well, both! That's the great thing about meditating.
It takes a little discipline at first to make meditation a routine. But if you get involved, you will quickly notice that you feel less stressed. Many people experience that meditation makes them calmer and ensures that they can tackle their tasks in a more focused and concentrated manner.
The best part is: you don't need any equipment. Although we discovered the "Muse" meditation headband. It should be your personal assistant while meditating. We haven't tested it yet and find it rather suspect - technology for inner peace ?! Do you have experience? It is definitely not necessary, we are sure of that.
Because no matter where you are - even on a trip around the world: Just find a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Even with everyday things like brushing your teeth or just walking, you can meditate by consciously hearing the hum of the toothbrush or every single step and turning off your thoughts.
Do you already have experience with meditation? Have you perhaps even built a certain ritual into your everyday life? Let us know in the comments!
I have specialized in TYPO3 and WordPress since 2009. At this point my first long trip to Asia (India) was due. The tropical continent immediately cast a spell on me. So that my dog Anouk can experience all of this, we are often out and about with my "blue Scarlett" - a VW T4 California. Originally from Poland, I came to my current home base Berlin via Hamburg.
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