5 tips for new meditators

There are so many reasons and ways to meditate that it can at first seem daunting, but
the benefits of sustained practice are worth the effort. You just need to give it a go.

  1. There is no one way

There are many approaches, theories and philosophies when it comes to meditation. At the start, these can seem overwhelming. If you have already tried meditation and found it difficult, it is important to know that this is completely normal and to be expected. People are complex creatures. But rather than give up before you have begun, instead explore different types of meditation as a way to get to know yourself a little better. What works for one person may not work for another. Try movement meditations such as yoga, t’ai chi or breathing techniques (pranayama) or explore different guided meditations online or in a class. They are all equally valid and effective.

  1. Thoughts are completely normal

We live busy, complicated lives that involve attending to myriad tasks, solving problems and looking after family members. So when you sit down to meditate, especially for the first time, do not be surprised when your mind wanders almost immediately. The art of meditation is noticing when your mind has taken a different direction and to bring it back to your original focus.

  1. You cannot do it wrong

See your meditation practice as time and space just for you. In the moments of quiet, you are free of life’s complications and challenges. You can let go of the roles and responsibilities with which you identify yourself. You will most likely have meditated naturally in everyday life at times but might not realise you were doing it. Unless you are following a structured path or approach to meditation, I believe you cannot ever do it wrong. You have to start somewhere – if that is just a few seconds of quiet, a feeling of deep relaxation, being free of distractions or a calming of thought you are meditating.

  1. It takes patient practice

Western science now proves what Eastern philosophies have taught for centuries – taking time each day to sit quietly to simply breathe, listen to your surroundings and your heart and quieten your mind has enormous physiological and psychological benefits and can lead to a heightened sense of general wellbeing. In today’s fast-paced society taking time to be still is more important than ever. We remember to look after our bodies, other people, even our homes but often forget to look after our minds. The long-term benefits of meditation do not happen overnight, so be patient. Science and any long-term meditator will tell you the practice is worth it.

  1. It is for anyone and everyone

You do not need to believe a certain thing, dress a certain way or have a certain outlook on life to benefit from meditation. Whether you are a chief executive trying to manage the pressures of running a company or a busy parent seeking to handle family challenges (or both) meditation is for you. Similarly, it does not matter if you are simply looking for a way to balance your emotions or you are a spiritual person hoping to deepen your connection to that which is greater than us… all are welcome. See meditation as yours – your mind, your meditation. Whether that is being more mindful in everyday life, carving out
a few minutes each day to simply breathe with more awareness or a more formal practice, it is for you.

  • Words: Joanna Hulin
  • Illustration:
  • Article extract from issue 9 of Breathe – order digital edition here and a physical copy here