Meditation is one of the best tools for physical and mental health, with several research studies having linked regular meditation with an impressive array of health benefits. Meditation doesn’t require any prior knowledge or special tools, which makes it ideal for beginners. Here, Russell Jack, a Southland-based mindfulness teacher, shares five beginner’s tips and tricks for building a meditation practice.
If you’re new to meditation, it’s best to start with a short practice and build up to longer meditations. Most beginners find it challenging to focus for long periods of time, so it’s essential to start small and take the time to train your attention. You can start with short sessions of three to five minutes, then gradually increase the length of your sessions.
It’s much easier to build a meditation habit when you practice at the same time every day, as your brain eventually learns to associate a specific time of day with meditation. If your schedule makes it difficult to stick to a regular time slot, try to anchor your meditation practice to other routine activities. This provides a similar association that your brain will use to create a habit. For example, you might decide to meditate straight after taking a shower, going to the gym, or waking up in the morning.
Some people like to burn essential oils or incense sticks, while others like to play music or nature sounds during meditations. Some people enjoy soaking in the bath or lying flat on a bed, while others prefer to walk or sit cross-legged on the floor. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The key is to create an atmosphere that works for you. Experiment with smells, sounds, room temperature and different positions to find the right combination to aid your practice.
Choose the Right Meditation
There are many different types of meditation. Mindfulness is currently one of the most popular types, but mindfulness doesn’t work for everyone. If you find it difficult to concentrate due to racing thoughts, you might find it easier to use guided meditations that incorporate visualization techniques. You can also use chanting or mantras to focus your attention. If you struggle to stay awake and often fall asleep during your practice, you could try walking meditations. Experiment with different types of meditations to see which work best for you.
Sharing your meditation journey with other people significantly increases the chances of sticking to your meditation habit. If you want to meet new people, you could take a class or join a meditation group in your local area. If you prefer to meditate in the comfort of your own home, you can take an online course. There are also dozens of apps, websites, online communities, social media groups, and forums designed specifically for people learning how to meditate.
Learning to meditate brings a whole host of benefits for your mental and physical health. If you’re just starting to practice meditation, it’s essential to start small, stick to a regular time, create a relaxing atmosphere, choose the right type of meditation, and share the journey with other people. These tips will make it easier to stick to your new habit.
Russell Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights protection, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.