How to Practice Meditation (A Step-by-Step Guide)
There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to meditation practice. “How to Practice Meditation” has become a profitable industry with thousands of mobile apps, online courses, books, seminars and online shops claiming that their pillow will increase your meditation success by 10%.
When it comes to money, everyone tries to take their piece of cake. Unfortunately, that makes practicing meditation incredibly confusing for newcomers.
A lot of people just give up before they can feel any noticeable change in their lives.
That’s a pity, isn’t it?
So, I decided to write an article about the very core principles of meditation and Step-by-Step Guide how you can practice it.
This article covers:
- Core principles of how to practice meditation soundly
- Non-Guided Meditation
Before we go on. If you want to know more about meditation and what benefits it provides, visit my article here.
Core principles of meditation practice
As I said there are a lot of unnecessary things that only make people confused. So I wrote a list of essentials which I have never seen to be inconsistent.
- Observe Without Judging (It’s not about stopping thoughts but rather observing them passing by.
- Don’t lie down as you meditate unless you want to fall asleep. 😀 (Then it’s perfect for sleep disorders.)
- Be patient (Meditation is all about being patient. But don’t be discouraged. Studies have shown that even after 2-3 weeks of meditation, you should start to feel differently.)
- Be consistent (You gotta practice meditation regularly every day. I recommend 15 minutes first thing in the morning.)
- Be grateful (After every meditation session, observe how you feel and be grateful for that.)
Now you might be asking:
“How do I know whether it’s working if I’m not supposed to judge it?”
You won’t know whether it works for some time (2+ weeks) until you start noticing some of the benefits. But, you might start to feel calmer, more creative and happier right away after your first session.
For example, I started because I had trouble falling asleep. Also, for some reason, only during the night, I used to have mild depressions.
Meditation helped me immediately with calming my mind and so falling asleep faster. It also helped me with my depression at night. I have to admit though that it took much longer (about 2-3 months) before I felt noticeably better.
This type of meditation is my favorite. You don’t need anything, really. What I recommend is a place where no one will disturb you and a chair. You don’t even need the chair if you are flexible enough and can sit in a lotus or half-lotus position.
7 Steps for Breathing Meditations:
- Turn off notifications on your phone device and make sure no one will be needing you.
- Sit down on a chair and make yourself comfortable. Make sure you don’t hunch.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Close your eyes.
- Now without trying to change anything, start counting your breaths up until 10 and then start all over again from 1. It doesn’t really matter if you count as you inhale or as you exhale.
- The important thing is to redirect your focus back on counting once your mind wanders off and starts to think about things. This happens all the time during meditation so don’t get discouraged.
- When you hear the alarm bell, slowly open your eyes, stretch and appreciate the present moment and how you feel.
As you can see, it’s pretty straight forward. In my opinion, the easiest way to practice meditation. I have been using this method for about 5 years now.
Nevertheless, there are other “techniques”. I have experimented with a mantra meditation too. It is basically the same. You just replace Step 5 and 6 with the following steps:
Alternative Step 5 and 6 for Mantra meditations:
- Choose your mantra. (Usually, a word or phrase which has a meaning to you and is positive.)
- Repeat your mantra silently in your head. Anytime you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to repeating your mantra.
The rest is the same as for Breathing Meditations.
Try both but remember that it’s better to decide which one you will be practicing and stick to it.
There are, of course, other types. I have limited experiences with those but I will list them anyway so that you can make your own research.
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Spiritual Meditation
- Body-Scan Meditation
- Movement Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation
Guided-meditation has its charm and, in my opinion, is a perfect starting place. It’ll get you familiar with all the 5 principles of meditation.
I used to do Guided-Meditation session at the beginning and then I switched to Non-Guided. But! You can absolutely be practicing only Guided-Meditation. The principles are exactly the same and you’ll get the same benefits.
It’s purely up to personal preferences.
There are plenty of free youtube videos out there which you can use as your guided meditation session.
You can also choose from many apps for your smartphone or tablet. My absolute favorite is Headspace. Try out the My Journey Session which includes 10 guided meditations with a lot of learning too. Then you have an option to go for 1 free month plan where you have hundreds of other guided meditations, online community and much more.
To be honest, even if you don’t plan to spend any money. (After your first free month expires.) I’d still try the free 10-day Journey. It taught me so much.
The bottom line
It doesn’t really matter what meditation type you choose. The important thing is to learn how to practice meditation having the principles in mind and then take massive action.
You’ll realize that there are things that no one can teach you. This is especially true regarding something as abstract as meditation.
With a bit of patience and discipline, you’ll become the master of your mind and therefore your destiny.