How To Meditate
The Ultimate Guide for ‘Normal’ People
A Practical and Comprehensive Beginners Guide To Meditation
This guide is going to teach you everything you need to know about meditation.
The what, the why, the how, the when.
And the tools.
It’s made for beginners and the everyday person.
It’s practical and easy to follow.
It’s really the perfect resource for anyone looking to learn and benefit from meditation.
Let’s dive in
You think meditation isn’t for you.
You think it’s not something you have time for.
You think it’s too hard or even too weird.
Don’t worry I felt that way once too. But this guide will convince you otherwise.
What Makes This Guide Any Different?
This is not your typical meditation guide that gives you a few basic points to go off.
This guide is going to give you everything you need for getting started with meditation.
I am going to be taking you through not only how to meditate but everything you need to know about meditation.
The myths and misconceptions, the evidence, the types, the techniques, the apps and the guides, the books and the resources.
Whether you’re someone who has never tried meditation just starting out or maybe even tried it before but gave it up. This guide is for you.
My Story and Why I Created This Guide
I am someone who has been an on and off ‘meditator’ for the past 5 years. But only really in the last year and more specifically the last 6 months have I really started to take it seriously and do it on a regular basis.
In fact, I now meditate every morning as part of my morning routine. Making meditation a daily habit arose largely from a necessity to deal with the stress in my life.
Eventually it got to the point where I knew I had to do something about it.
And once I began really researching its benefits especially from regular practice I knew I could no longer continue to just occasionally do it when I “had time”, instead I decided I would make time for it. And haven’t looked back since. I now meditate each morning for anywhere between 10 – 20 minutes.
It took me a while to find what worked for me, a lot of trial and error with different techniques, times, types, apps and guides.
As a result I learnt quite a lot during the process, including shattering some long held myths I had about what meditation involved.
I also realised that while there is now so much evidence and growing popularity surrounding meditation, there is so much information out there that it is causing confusion and misunderstanding of what meditation actually is and how to do it.
There are so many articles on the benefits of information but only few on how to actually meditate, and of those that do exist most are only very basic or try to sell you on just one form of meditation.
When really there is no one true way to meditate, instead there are many ways. And it is up to each person to find what works for them.
And so was born my desire to create a guide that could be a truly valuable resource, a one-stop guide if you will.
Instead of spending months of trial and error like I did to find out of all this information and find what works.
I have decided to compile everything you could ever need to know about meditation all in one place, so that as many people as possible could begin to experience the incredible benefits of meditation.
In a world that is ever increasing in speed and information, I think it is now more important than ever that we find ways to slow down,switch off and give our minds a break.
Ok so now that we have that out of the way.
For Easy Navigation of This Guide
(Yes. You can click them)
Making Meditation Normal
The definition, the myths, the benefits, the people who do it and the types.
Learning to Meditate
How and when to meditate and how to make it a habit
The best apps, guides and music for enhancing your meditation
A look at some of the best meditation techniques. Find one that works for you.
A look at the common obstacles and questions people have when starting meditation
Meditate Without Meditation
Others form of meditation and incorporating meditation into everyday life
Recommended books and websites
Making Meditation Normal
Meditation isn’t just for Swami’s
In this section we will be learning what meditation is and the common myths and misconceptions that people have about it.
As well as look at some of the most important benefits and surprising people who meditate regularly.
If you’re like most people the first thing that comes to mind when you think of mediation is some person sitting crossed legged floating above the ground with their hands placed on their lap, reciting strange words or making funny sounds.
The very word meditation may make you cringe.
You might think to to yourself well I am fine with monks meditating that’s their thing, but I’m a ‘normal’ person I don’t do that sort of thing.
Sadly mediation has had some bad marketing over the last few decades (just look at some of the images that come up from google search) So it is understandable why most people are hesitant to even consider trying it.
I always find it amusing the funny looks or awkward responses I get from people if I tell them I meditate. But I guess I would have done the same thing a few years ago if someone told me the same thing.
But you see the truth is meditation isn’t as strange and ‘woo- woo’ as people think it is. In fact you don’t have to be a religious or even spiritual person in order see the benefits of meditation.
Meditation is not some esoteric practice reserved for a select group of people and beliefs.
But something that is truly beneficial for anyone and everyone, because of the way it positively affects mechanisms of the body and mind.
And given how stressed,overstimulated and overwhelmed so many of us are in today’s world, it is now more important than ever that we find ways slow down and rest our minds every once and awhile. And that’s what meditation allows us to do.
What is Meditation?
Well it turns out there are many different meditation definitions. Some are as incredibly vague as:
“The action or practice of meditating”.
Yes that is really the first definition that comes up from a google search..
Others look at it from a spiritual or religious perspective, others from a psychological perspective and others again from a scientific standpoint.
So What is Meditation Then?
In the most basic terms meditation simply means bringing your attention to only one thing.
For those of you who need a more thorough definition of meditation. Below is one of the best I found.
“Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.”
Ok so now lets look at some of the myths surrounding meditation
There are a lot of myths surrounding meditation. Here are the four main ones.
Myth Number 1: Meditation Means Stopping all Thoughts in the Mind
This is the most common misunderstanding surrounding meditation and is the reason that so many people never try it out or give up very quickly. The truth is that you can’t stop all thoughts in your mind in fact we need thoughts and emotions.
It is what makes us human. But what you can do is give your mind something else to focus on such as the breathe, and by doing this your thoughts will naturally begin to reduce.
Myth 2: Meditation is Solely a Spiritual or Religious Practice
Now while many people do practice meditation for spiritual or religious reasons. Even if you’re not a spiritual or religious person doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t meditate. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Catholic, Christian, Buddhist or Atheist. You will still benefit from meditation.
Myth 3: Meditation Can Only Be Performed Sitting Cross Legged
Remember the definition I gave you of meditation? “The act of bringing your attention too only one thing”.
Well this is true, meditation can virtually be performed anywhere and at any time, whether you’re walking, working, drinking tea or coffee or even eating, as long as you choose a single point of focus.
There are also moving forms of meditation. But I will discuss more on this you later on.
Myth 4: You Have To Hold Your Hands in a Specific Way
This is another massive myth largely caused by the art around meditation that for what ever reason shows people raising their hands above their waist with their fingers in a special pose.. The truth is almost no one actually does this pose during meditation (not even monks).
In truth, it really doesn’t matter how or where you place your hands. You can have them down by your side, on your lap or as most people find comfortable, in between your legs. Just do whatever you prefer. There is no right or wrong.
Ok, so now that we have dispelled some of the myths surrounding meditation let’s take a look at the benefits.
The Benefits of Meditation
A lot of research has now been done on the benefits of meditation and while it is still in it’s infancy, more and more is being discovered every day.
Here are Some of the Main Findings
Meditation Changes the Brain
It has been shown that meditation actually physically changes the brain. Studies have found that after just 8 weeks of a meditation program. Gray matter in the brain became more dense in areas responsible for learning, memory and emotion.
While at the same time reducing gray matter in the amygdala part of the brain which is responsible for stress, blood pressure and fear had decreased gray matter.
It Makes Us Happier:
Meditation has been shown to have a positive effect on overall mood and has been shown to improve levels of happiness.
In fact it has been found that regular meditation actually improves a person’s baseline happiness.
It is believed that this is achieved through the fact that regular meditation actually serves to increase gray matter in the precuneus of the brain. An area of the brain that has been associated with happiness.
Benefits for the Body:
Meditation doesn’t just benefit the brain it also benefits the body.
Studies have shown that regular meditation leads to:
So as you can see meditation has so many benefits. And the research into meditation is still only in its infancy. I suspect that as the years go by even more benefits will be found for meditation.
People Who Meditate
Ok so now that we know the benefits of mediation let’s take a look at some of people who meditate on a regular basis. Some of these may surprise you!
Best selling author and podcast host Tim Ferris says that meditation is now a part of his morning routine. As someone who used to avoid meditation he now says he loves it since finding a type that works for him.
Oprah is arguably one of the most well known women in the world and meditates on a daily basis.
Motivational speaker and coach Tony Robbins has his own version of meditation that he performs every morning called priming which contains elements of gratitude, meditation and visualisation.
He performs it every morning as part of his morning routine and attributes it to his incredible and almost limitless levels of energy.
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says that mediation is the single biggest thing he can trace back to his success.
Loveable talk show host Ellen Degeneres performs transcendental meditation on daily basis and says that she “regrets when it’s over”.
Actor Tom Hanks says that he decided to start taking mediation seriously after he was finding himself fatigued and run down from acting. His desire came after a catch up with Jerry Seinfeld convinced him he should try transcendental meditation. And he has stuck with it ever since.
Martial artist and podcast host Joe Rogan is probably one of the last people you would expect to meditate. However he openly talks about the importance of meditation regularly and why he performs it every day.
Founder of the Huffington Post Adriana Huffington has been meditating regularly since she was 19 and attributes much of her success to her regular practice of meditation.
Types Of Meditation
There are many types of meditation but we are going to be looking at the three most well researched types.
By far the most popular and well researched of all meditations is Mindfulness meditation. In fact it is the main form of meditation that I will be sharing with you in this guide. All it takes is simply bringing your attention to a single point of focus. In most cases, the breathe and using it as a way slow down and allow our minds to rest.
Another popular form of meditation. There are many different types of this meditation. One of the most popular is meta or loving-kindness meditation.
Which simply involves feeling positive emotions and feelings within yourself and then visualizing sending them out to people in your life.
Another very popular form of meditation is transcendental meditation. I will admit I really don’t know a whole lot about this form of meditation, and have never tried it myself. It costs money to learn the technique.
But a lot people including many with high profile status speak very highly of it, so I thought I would include it here. As an option for people.
Ok, so by now you are probably thinking “well this is all well and good, but how do you actually meditate?”
Let’s find out.
Learning to Meditate
Get Your Zen On
In this section we will be looking at how to meditate, when to meditate and how to make it a habit. Get ready.
How To Meditate
The most important thing you need to know is that meditation is extremely simple, although it can take a little bit of getting used to at first.
It is best to start out small, say a couple of minutes and then build up to an ideal length of around 10 – 15 minutes.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is find yourself some place that is relatively quiet and where you will be undisturbed for a period of time.
Next what you want to do is to sit yourself on the ground, preferably on a small pillow for extra comfort and support. It is also best to sit with your back supported by something, such as a wall or the end of your bed. If you don’t want to sit on the floor you can also choose to sit in a chair.
The next thing to do is preferably close your eyes, but you can keep them open if you like and just find a focus point in front of you.
Now simply bring your attention to your breath by focusing on the in hail and then the exhale. You can even mentally say to yourself inhale and exhale if that helps.
Other points of attention:
If you’re having trouble staying focused on the breath then some people prefer paying attention to the sensation of the breath in your nose. Noticing that it is cooler on the inhale and warmer on the exhale.
You can also choose to focus on the sensation of your body on the floor or the rising and falling of your chest or abdomen.
Notice whenever your mind wanders off which it WILL (constantly) especially just starting. Just acknowledge it and then simply bring your attention back to your breath.
Just simply continue in this way for anywhere between 5 – 20 minutes. (Even just 1 – 2 minutes at first) And that’s it!
As I said meditation is very simple, it just takes a little getting used to at first.
Now that you know how to meditate you may be asking yourself. “When do I meditate?” Well, let’s take a look.
When to Meditate
Everyone is different, therefore it is best to find a meditation time that works best for you. That being said there is one time that has been found to be quite beneficial for a lot of people.
The Best Time To Meditate:
One of the very best times to meditate is first thing in the morning.
Because when you choose to meditate first thing in the morning it not only helps to clear mental fogginess but it also helps to start off your day in a better state of mind.
There is a saying “win the morning, win the day”, and I think this is certainly true with meditation.
Starting your day with a clean slate and clearer and calmer mind will no doubt be a lot better than starting your day as most of us do…Rushed, stressed and unfocused.
I find that meditating first thing in the morning, helps put me in a better mind state for the day, a lot of the time I continue to take the mindset with me throughout the day.
Another great time to meditate, especially if you’re not so much of morning person is in the afternoon.
Well, some people like to do it as way to wind down right after returning home from work. While others like to do it just before bed.
Again it is really up to you to find what works, but these are some of the best times to do it.
How to Make Meditation a Habit
Meditation is most beneficial when performed on a regular basis. So it is important to find a way to make meditation a habit.
You see, habits are something that we all have, good or bad. (Most of us have lots of bad ones) Having good habits can have a tremendous impact on our life, which is why as some of you may know I have a morning routine. Which meditation plays a big part of.
If you recall at the beginning of the article I said that I had been meditating on and off for over 5 years, only very recently (last 12 months) have I made meditation into a daily habit.
Like anything, at first it is going to be difficult to get used to meditating every morning (or whenever your time is) but over time the more you do it the easier it will become.
And if you do it enough it will eventually become as easy as cleaning your teeth. Especially once you start seeing the benefits.
Tips for Making Meditation a Habit:
1) Choose the same to time every day. Research shows that it is easier to make something a habit when we do it at about the same time each day. For me this is first thing in the morning right after I get out of bed.
2) If you’re doing it first thing in the morning. Get up a little bit earlier (15 minutes is enough) so that you have time to fit in meditation in the morning
3) Attach meditation to a trigger. For instance, you could tie meditation to brushing your teeth or after eating breakfast. If you’re doing it in the afternoon you could tie it to after you get home from work.
4) Know why you’re choosing to meditate. Is it to improve your health? To alleviate stress? Clear your mind? Relax? What is it? When you know the why of something you are far more likely to stick at it.
Ok so now lets look at..
Up Your Meditation Game
In this section we will be looking at the the best apps, guides and music that you can use to improve your learning and practice of meditation.
Need offline access?
No worries. Let me send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Just let me know where to send it (takes 5 seconds):
Now, of course, you can just choose to do meditation in silence but for most people including myself this can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re just starting out. Which is why I recommend using tools to improve your meditation practice.
By far the best meditation app there is available and one that I have personally used along with millions of others is the headspace app.
It really is the perfect app for absolute beginners, I have recommended it to so many people and I have yet to find one person who hasn’t benefited from it once they try it.
What I like so much about it and I think the reason that so many others enjoy it as well, is that that it approaches meditation in an extremely easy to understand and approachable way.
Especially the animations used in the app. They are amazing. See an example of one below.
What’s also great about the app is that it starts you off at small amounts of 3 minutes and slowly builds you up to 20 minutes. It also tracks your progress and tells you how many consecutive days you have completed meditation. Which is perfect for helping to build meditation into a habit.
Plus it has so many other features as well from dealing with stress, to helping with sleep, improving self-esteem and so much more.
You do have to pay to unlock all its features but they give enough away for free and the cost is well and truly worth it.
I honestly couldn’t speak highly enough of this app and how much it has helped me make meditation a daily habit. And I would highly recommend that you all go out and try it.
Another fantastic app that I would recommend checking out is 10% happier, it was created by news anchor Dan Harris who created the app after finding meditation as a relief from the stress of his life. Formerly a sceptic of meditation Dan created the app to teach meditation to “fidgety sceptics” like himself.
The app features a lot of great content, including videos, interviews and guides from renowned scientists and teachers. And Dan’s humour and approach to meditation really do make meditation a lot easier to take on board. If you’re someone who is very sceptical of meditation. Then this app may just be for you. Again it’s a paid app. But it is worth its price. It’s available on android and apple.
Another app that is quite popular is Calm. It features a massive amount of content from guides, to music, to sleep stories even meditation classes. It’s another great option for beginners. Again you have to pay to unlock everything. But it is worth the cost. It’s available on android and apple.
Ok, so there are the three apps I would recommend for getting started for mediation. They are all perfect for beginners, it is just up to you to find which one works best for you.
Here are two of the best I’ve found: Guided Mindfulness Meditation: 6 Phase Guided Meditation: Another option is to just simply play some light music in the background while you meditate. Again a simple search on Youtube for “meditation music” will return literally thousands of results. Here are a few of some of the best I have found: Relaxdaily: A Youtube channel dedicated to creating light and easy listening music. The music is absolutely incredible and I frequently listen to their music for concentration, relaxing or just as nice background music. The music is just perfect for meditation. Some of the best are: Kevin Macleod: A composer who creates Royalty free music for all genres. Including relaxation and meditation. One of his best, and one that I actually use sometimes for meditation is this one: If you have a Spotify account a simple search through the “meditation” genre will return lots of great results. Same with apple music. Alright now let’s take a look at.
A simple search of Youtube for guided meditations will return 1000s of results, some are a little out there, but there are also some fantastic ones.
Here are two of the best I’ve found:
Guided Mindfulness Meditation:
6 Phase Guided Meditation:
Another option is to just simply play some light music in the background while you meditate. Again a simple search on Youtube for “meditation music” will return literally thousands of results.
Here are a few of some of the best I have found:
Relaxdaily: A Youtube channel dedicated to creating light and easy listening music. The music is absolutely incredible and I frequently listen to their music for concentration, relaxing or just as nice background music. The music is just perfect for meditation.
Some of the best are:
Kevin Macleod: A composer who creates Royalty free music for all genres. Including relaxation and meditation.
One of his best, and one that I actually use sometimes for meditation is this one:
If you have a Spotify account a simple search through the “meditation” genre will return lots of great results. Same with apple music.
Alright now let’s take a look at.
21st Century Meditation
In this section we will be taking a look at the various meditations techniques that have been developed.
If you haven’t find a meditation that works for you yet, this may just be your section.
Along with being different forms of meditation, there are also various meditation techniques, that may also prove useful for many people. Here are 3 of the best I have found and personally benefited from:
Release Technique: Brendon Burchard
A mantra-based meditation technique developed by author, speaker and coach Brendon Burchard.
Basically all it involves is simply bringing your focus and attention to the word “Relax”. With the inhale you say to yourself “Re” and then “lax” as you breathe out.
And simply continue this for the duration of your meditation
Priming – Tony Robbins
A meditation type technique developed by world-renowned speaker and author Tony Robbins.
It is a technique he starts every day with and attributes to much of his success.
The basic premise behind priming is that most of our emotions, thoughts and behaviours are dictated by our state which can be greatly influenced by our environment.
Instead of leaving this to chance, you can instead take control of your state using the Priming technique.
Here is how to do it:
Tony Robbins – 10 Minute Priming Exercise:
Sit: Find a chair in a relatively quiet area and sit actively. Place both feet on the floor, shift your shoulders back, chest up, and hold your neck long and your head high.
Breath: By changing your breath, you change your state of being. Tony’s own method is to do a breathing exercise with three sets of 30 breaths each with a pause in between each set. 1 MIN
Begin heart breathing: Put your hands on your heart. Feel its power and strength as you breathe into it. 30 SEC
Practice gratitude: Think of three things you’re really grateful for right now. They can be from your past, your present or your future. When you think of the first thing, create as clear an image of that moment as possible, stepping into it with your mind. After about a minute, go to the next thing, then the next. *Pro tip: Make one of these things simple, like a child’s smile or someone saying “thank you” who really meant it. 3 MIN
Visualize: Now comes the part that’s like a blessing or a prayer. Tony imagines coloured light coming down and filling his body, healing anything – body, thoughts, feelings – that needs to be healed. Imagine that any problem in your life is being solved. Ask for the best parts of you to be strengthened. 1 MIN 30 SEC
Share: Now send all the energy you’ve gotten through your healing and strengthening out to the people you love. Feel the energy going up and down, pouring out to your family, loved ones, colleagues, clients, friends, even strangers you’ve only met once. 1 MIN 30 SEC
Focus and celebrate: Now think about the three outcomes or goals that you want the most. These are things that will excite you once they’re complete. Now feel like they’re done. Celebrate that feeling of completion and victory, visualize how it will impact those around you. As with gratitude, go through each outcome one by one, fully experiencing the feeling of success. 3 MIN
Get ready to rock: Now give your body a little stretch and go tackle the world.
Here a video of the entire process:
4 Step Meditation Technique – Jack Canfield:
A four step meditation technique developed by Jack Canfield.
Here is a summary of the 4 steps:
Preparation: Sit palms together, visualize light up the left side and down the right side of body 3 times.
Repetition: Repeat a word, phrase, or mantra for close to 10 minutes..
Receptivity: Palms facing up on lap. Be an observer: watch your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Closing Down: Close your palms and visualize white light surrounding your body. At the end, visualize yourself accomplishing a goal or being totally healthy or healed.
Here is a video on the technique:
My Own Version:
I actually have my own version of this meditation that I thought I would share seen as it has been beneficial for me.
It is basically a combination of the 4 step meditation above and priming. And I have found it to be very effective. I don’t have a name for it. Perhaps one day 😉
But here are the basics of it:
I usually perform it for anywhere between 10 – 20 minutes with some kind of relaxing music in the background. (try one of the recommendations above or use your own)
Place your hands in between your legs. Now spend 1 – 2 Minutes focusing on everything that you’re grateful for in your life.
Your family, your friends, past experiences or simply something as simple as your breath.
Try to really feel the emotion of gratitude for these things. I also like to have a small smile through this part. Perform this for 1 -2 minutes.
2. Receive and Give.
Now place your hands on your legs with your palms facing up. Imagine a white light coming in from above your head and down through your body.
And imagine that it is healing and giving energy to your mind and body.
Then imagine taking this energy and giving it to the people in your life who mean the most to you. Visualise each person in your mind and imagine you’re sharing this energy with them.
Perform this for anywhere between 2 – 4 minutes.
Now place your hands back in between your legs and bring your attention to your breath. This part is where you allow your mind to relax and slow down. It’s about just observing your thoughts but not getting lost in them.
Every time you find your mind wanders off then just simply bring it back to your breath. I also sometimes say to myself“breathe in” and “Breathe out” to help.
Perform this for anywhere between 5 – 10 minutes.
Part 4: Visualization
Now place your hands face down on your knees and visualize any major goals and dreams you have as though they were already achieved. Try and imagine every detail.
What does it look like?
What are you doing?
How do you feel?
What sounds might you be hearing?
What are people saying to you for having achieved your goal or dream?
Perform this for anywhere between 2 – 5 minutes.
Once you’re done simply open your eyes and go about your day.
Ok now let’s look at some of the common obstacles and questions you will likely have when starting out with meditation..
Ponder No More
In this section we will be looking at some of the most common obstacles and questions that people have when starting out with meditation.
Common Meditation Obstacles and Questions
What do I do if I keep falling asleep during meditation?
This is a very common experience for many people, here are some tips on how to overcome this problem.
1. Meditate sitting up rather than lying down.
2. Don’t meditate in bed.
3. Try meditating first thing in the morning when the mind is a little brighter.
4. Open a nearby window if it’s not too chilly. The fresh air and additional flow of oxygen will help you feel more awake.
5. Avoid eating a big meal beforehand, as this tends to make the body feel very heavy and naturally leads to sleep.
6. Make sure you get enough sleep and if you’re not, then take the appropriate action to get enough rest.
What do I do if I encounter interruptions during meditation?
Now it is best when starting out at least, to try and aim for a quiet environment. But of course this isn’t always easy and it is quite likely that you will encounter some form of interruption during your meditation.
What do you do in this case? Start again?
No. In most cases, if it is just simply a phone call or notification, noisy neighbour, housemate or family member then just make it part of your practice. Instead of resisting it, just allow it.
Of course, if someone comes up and jumps on you or slaps you in the face that is a different story. But in most cases, you don’t have to start again.
“I’m afraid meditation will make me lose my edge.”
This is a very common concern that many people have including myself.
Many people think that if they start meditating they will lose their drive.
But this is simply not true. In fact, many of the worlds most successful and influential people meditate regularly.
How do I deal with worry or other unhelpful emotions?
It is very common that during meditation at some point you may experience emotions such as sadness, anxiety, worry, anger etc.
This is just natural and something that we all experience from time to time. Instead of trying to resist these feelings, what is suggested is that you simply acknowledge these emotions and feelings, without trying to push them away.
And by doing so you will find that they will naturally reduce.
What do I do if I get itchy during meditation?
It is quite common to feel an itch during meditation.
If you do instead of immediately going to itch, see if you can just allow it, you may find that it goes away. But of course, if it becomes really strong and you just can’t ignore it then, by all means, have an itch!
What do I do if I feel dizzy during meditation?
Another common thing that can happen to people when they start meditation is that they can feel a little dizzy or lightheaded.
The reason for this is because when we meditate we are usually breathing more deeply than usual therefore we are taking more oxygen into our body than usual. Which can lead to feeling a little light headed or dizzy.
If this happens just take a few minutes when you sit after you have finished until it passes. Or you can also have a glass of water.
How long should you meditate as a beginner?
As a beginner just starting out it is best to just start out with a short 2 – 3 minute meditation. Even just 1 minute if you really have trouble sitting at first!
And then slowly build yourself up until you achieve the optimal meditation length of at least 10 minutes. If you haven’t got it already I would recommend the Headspace app. It will take you through this process.
Can you meditate in bed?
While it may seem like a good idea to meditate in bed, especially if you’re looking to make meditation a morning habit. It is recommended that you meditate out of your bed because when you meditate in bed you’re more likely to fall to sleep during your meditation.
Can you meditate lying down?
Can you listen to music while meditating?
Yes, it is perfectly fine to listen to music while meditating. In fact, it can be a great way to make meditation easier and to improve your focus.
Just make sure you choose music that is relaxing, this isn’t the time for pump up music! Save that for your workouts.
Can you meditate with your eyes open?
Some people even choose gaze at a candle flame but just simply staring at a point in front of you is perfectly fine. If you’re prone to falling asleep during meditation then perhaps try meditation with your eyes open.
Can I meditate at night?
Do you have to sit crossed legged to meditate?
How do you breathe during meditation?
One of the best ways of breathing during meditation is to breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. It can also help to mentally say to yourself “breathe in” and “breathe out”.
You can also choose to breathe specifically through your nose, some people find this useful by using the sensation of cool air coming in and warm air coming out.
Can you meditate before bed?
Can you meditate after eating on a full stomach?
While it is perfectly fine to meditate after eating, some people say it is best to try and meditate on an empty stomach because after eating your body is in digestion mode, which can sometimes cause people to feel drowsy. Which may lead to you falling asleep during your meditation!
How do I deal with pain during meditation?
When you sit to meditate it’s actually very common to experience a bit of pain. It might be an imbalance in the body, muscular tension, or even the release of emotional tension from the ups and downs of everyday life.
However sometimes the pain can be a little more uncomfortable. Here is how it is suggested to deal with it.
How do I deal with being uncomfortable during meditation?
It is quite uncommon to become uncomfortable during meditation, especially just starting out. Most of us aren’t used to sitting in this way. I know I certainly felt uncomfortable at times, especially in my back.
To avoid this it is best to sit with your back resting up against something to help keep you up straight. I like to sit with my back against the end of my bed. I also like to sit on a small pillow to further help support my back and keep it straight.
Once I started doing this I found that most of the uncomfortable feelings I got during meditation went away.
Ok so now lets look at..
Meditate Without Meditation
Get Your But Off The Ground
In this section we will looking at “moving meditation” and how you can integrate meditation into your everyday life.
Need to come back later?
No worries. Let me send you a copy so you can read it when it’s convenient for you. Just let me know where to send it (takes 5 seconds)
Meditation doesn’t just have to be done sitting down, if you’re someone who finds it really difficult to sit still and meditate for any length of time. These options below may just be what you’re looking for.
Tai Chi and Qigong
Tai Chi and Qigong are a form of “moving meditation”. Originating in China, Tai Chi and Qigong have been performed for thousands of years for their benefits on health and well-being.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a form of mind-body exercise that combines breathing, movements, postures and mindfulness. Originally practised as a martial arts form it is now largely practised for its health benefits.
What is Qigong?
Qigong is an ancient art and science of using breath, movement, awareness and meditation to improve the health of the body and mind. It is a large component of Chinese medicine and has been practised for over 4000 years for its health-promoting benefits.
Tai Chi and Qigong are not just some set fancy movements with no real evidence to back their supposed health benefits. In fact, both Tai Chi and Qigong have been the subject of some pretty vigorous scientific studies and the science is conclusive, Tai Chi and Qigong really do work.
From the perspective of Western thought and science, Tai Chi and Qigong practices activate naturally occurring physiological and psychological mechanisms of self-repair and health recovery.
In fact, they have been called “Meditation in Motion” by Harvard medical school.
Here are just some of the benefits:
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
Improved Heart Function
Reduced Blood Pressure
Now many people associate Tai Chi and Qigong as being something for old people. But this is simply just not true and in fact Tai Chi and Qigong are perfect for people of all ages.
I personally saw the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong, right from the moment I tried them. By chance, I was given training in them as part of my work at the time and I was so blown away by how I felt from it that I decided I wanted to hold classes of my own.
And currently, hold them for both the public and businesses. I have men and women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs attend the classes. And so many of them come up to me and tell me how amazing they feel after one of the classes. One woman even told me she had “tried everything” and this is the only thing she has actually ever felt any benefits from.
But I don’t just want you to take my word for it. Try out some exercises for yourself. Here’s are a few I uploaded to Youtube:
If you enjoyed those I actually have a complete online course that teaches everything I teach people in my classes. I will teach you an easy to learn but powerful Tai Chi form that has been specifically developed for improving health and wellbeing. As well as teach a set of simple and effective Qigong for improving energy, focus and reducing stress.
As you can probably tell by now I am a big advocate of meditation, and I believe that everyone should find time for it. But I also understand that many people have difficulty sitting still when first starting out with meditation, which is why I suggest people give Tai Chi and Qigong a try and then progress into meditation. It’s actually what some of the students of my classes have done.
If that sounds like something that you would be interested in I’d urge you to check out the course, I’ll even give you the course at a massive discount (70%) as thanks for being a reader of this guide 🙂 How’s that for an incentive!
You can access the course and discount here.
Incorporating Meditation Into Everyday Life
In truth meditation can be applied to anything we are doing; driving, walking, running, drinking coffee etc all we have to do is choose a point of focus that we can use to pull us into the present moment.
Here are two ways of incorporating some mindfulness into everyday activities:
Eating ‘Meditation'(Mindful Eating):
Instead of ploughing through your meal how about you take the time actually enjoy and appreciate your meal. You most likely find that your food tastes better! Here is how to do it:
I like to do this with a piece of food or meal that I really enjoy; you could do it with your favourite meal, some fruit or even a piece of chocolate! You don’t have to do this for an entire meal. Even just a few minutes is good enough.
Observe your meal or piece of food. Pay attention to its texture, it’s smell, it colours etc
Pop the food in your mouth and instead of just mindlessly eating. Really pay attention to the taste notice all the different flavours, the texture of the food, the sensation in your mouth. Is it salty? Sweet? Creamy? Tasty?
Continue doing this for a few minutes. Or even your entire meal if you’re enjoying it that much!
Walking ‘Meditation’ (Mindful Walking):
Walking is something that we do rather unconsciously. Which is a good thing, imagine having to think about every part of it! However, walking can also be used as a great meditation technique.
Start walking (pretty obvious)
As you begin to walk, notice how the body feels. Does it feel heavy or light, stiff or relaxed? Become aware of your posture and the way you’re carrying yourself (continue with this for about 30 seconds)
Now pay attention to the sites around you. What do you see? Car? Signs? Trees? Buildings? (30 seconds)
Now pay attention to the smells around you. What can you smell? Flowers? Freshly cut grass? Fumes? (30 Seconds)
Now bring your attention to the sounds around you. What can you hear? Cars, sirens? car horns? Wind? (30 seconds)
Finally, make a point of noticing any physical sensations or feelings. Perhaps it’s the feeling of warm sunshine or a cold breeze. Perhaps it’s the sensation of the soles of the feet touching the ground with each step, or the weight of the arms swinging at your side ( 30 seconds or as long as you like
Become a Boss of Meditation
In this section we will be looking at some of the best books and websites to further your knowledge and learning of meditation.
Meditation and Mindfulness Books
Mindfulness in Plain English
First published in 1994, it has become
one of the bestselling and most influential
books in the field of mindfulness.
The perfect book for people with a sceptical mindset towards meditation. After author Dan Harris had a panic attack on live television. He decided that it was time to take meditation seriously, and this book is about his journey.
In the rush of modern life, we tend to lose touch with the peace that is available in each moment. World-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us.
And backs it up with the science. And even takes you through an 8-week program. At the time when I was reading this book, it was an incredible help in my life. I would recommend it to anyone serious about learning mindfulness and meditation.
Colzato, L.S., A. Ozturk, and B. Hommel, Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 2012. 3(116): p. 1-5.
Davidson, R.J., et al., Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2003. 65: p. 564-570.
Goyal, M., et al., Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2011. 174(3): p. 357-368.
Farb, N.A.S., et al., Minding one’s emotions: mindfulness training alters the neural expression of sadness. Emotion, 2010. 10(1): p. 25-33.
Kerr, C.E., et al., Effects of mindfulness meditation training on anticipatory alpha modulation in primary somatosensory cortex. Brain Research Bulletin, 2011. 85: p. 96-103.
Ditto, B., M. Eclache, and N. Goldman, Short-term autonomic and cardiovascular effects of mindfulness body scan meditation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2006. 32: p. 228-234.
Epel, E., et al., Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging, cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. Longevity, regeneration, and optimal health, 2009. 1172: p. 34-53.
Kilpatrick, L.A., et al., Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity. NeuroImage, 2011. 56: p. 290–298.
Ospina, M.B., et al., Clinical trials of meditation practices in health care:characteristics and quality. The Journal of Alternative And Complementary Medicine, 2008. 14(10): p. 1199–1213.
Yu, X., et al., Activation of the anterior prefrontal cortex and serotonergic system is associated with improvements in mood and EEG changes induced by Zen meditation practice in novices. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 2011. 80: p. 103-111.
Hölzel, B.K., et al., Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 2011. 191: p. 36-43.
Luders, E., et al., The unique brain anatomy of meditation practitioners: alterations in cortical gyrification. frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012. 6(34): p. 1-9.
Hasenkamp, W. and L.W. Barsalou, Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks. frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012. 6(38): p. 1-14.
Carlson, L.E., et al., Mindfulness-based cancer recovery and supportive-expressive therapy maintain telomere length relative to controls in distressed breast cancer survivors.
You’re All Set To Meditate!
Don’t Forget The Special Pose 😉
Well, there you have it guys. Well done on making it all the way to the end of this guide!
I really hope that this guide has been of help to you, I wanted to share as much information as I possibly could and provide a truly ultimate guide that covered every aspect surrounding meditation.
Hopefully you have found a style or technique that works for you. Remember there is really no right or wrong way to meditate, it’s about finding what works for you and sticking with it. Hopefully, this guide has helped convince you that meditation isn’t as strange or difficult as you once thought it was and really is something that we should all find time for in our lives.
In a world that is so wired and fast-paced, I think it is now more important than ever before to find ways to switch of and allow our minds to relax.
It is important to remember that meditation is not the miracle cure for everything. There are many aspects that come together to achieve optimal health and wellbeing and meditation is just one aspect.
But I do believe that meditation will one day be seen as important as healthy eating and exercise, and hopefully, this guide has helped convince you of that.
If you enjoyed this guide then I would ask that you please consider sharing it, so that more people can begin seeing the benefits of meditation.
Thank you so much for reading, and I wish you all the very best with your new meditation practice.
Whatever that may be.
Want to Share this Guide?
Why not Share a Helpful Infographic?
I’m a content creator, freelancer and online entrepreneur with a passion for learning and helping others. My aim is to educate, inspire and empower people to reach their full potential in all areas of their life.
Learn. Grow. Inspire