There are so many different ways to meditate. I have practiced meditation for years and I think there are some methods of meditation that feel more natural and effective and I would highly recommend these methods to beginners. Whether you are one of those of are interested in meditation and about to try it yourself, or you are one of those who have just started practicing meditation and interested in checking out other people’s opinion, this is a blog post that is written for you. Now, let me jump right into the meditation methods that are simple and effective and that I would highly recommend to meditation beginners.
Method 1: Breath Meditation
Breath meditation is one of the simplest and most natural ways for meditation. To summarize this method in a few words, you can basically putting your focus on your breath to quiet your mind. The typical procedure for practicing breath meditation is as followed. First, find a quiet place and sit down in a relaxed position. Some people like to sit on the floor with their legs crossed. I want to make it natural and easy by sitting on a chair or on a sofa and put my hands gently on my laps. Then close you eyes. Now, focus on your breath but don’t change your breath. Notice how you breath in and breath out and put your focus sole on that. There will be thoughts and ideas that come into your mind. Just “say hi” to your thoughts and then ignore them. Thinking deeply about the thoughts is not something that can relax your mind. While these thoughts come in, you will find that your focus on your breath is lost. That’s normal. You should then gently bring back the focus to your breath. As a beginner, keep doing that for 10 minutes and you will have a clear mind if you do that properly. Please note that the usual magic number of the recommended length of meditation session is 20 minutes. I just want to know that 10 minutes is actually pretty good from my experience. I pretty much stick to my 10-minute section even though I know the more popular number is 20. More about the amount of meditation needed a little later in this blog post.
Method 2: Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation is actually very similar to the breath meditation. Similarly, you want to see in a relaxed position and have your eyes close. Now, instead of putting your focus on your breath, you can instead read a meaningless mantra in your mind and repeat it. Most people use two-syllable mantras like “so-hum”. For example, with your eyes close, you keep repeatedly reading “so-hum” “so-hum” in your mind. After a while, like what you would experience from breath meditation, some ideas and thoughts would flow into your mind. Again, you should just “say hi” to those thoughts without actually think about them. You can think and reflect on those thoughts after your meditation session if you still remember it. Mantra meditation is something that I like to do 10 minute a day every morning. I personally find it easily to do than the breath meditation. That’s just for me though.
Method 3: Mantra Meditation with Breath Syncing
Some people prefer to sync their breath with the mantra repeating as they practice mantra meditation. Let’s use the “so-hum” mantra meditation I used in the previous method. With your eyes closed and with yourself sitting in a relaxed position, you begin to repeat the mantra “so-hum” in your mind. This time, instead of just saying “so-hum-so-hum-so-hum…” while ignoring the pace of your breath, you say “so” when you breath in and you say “hum” when you breath out. Of course you can say “so” when you breath out and “hum” when you breath in too. This is like combining mantra meditation with breath meditation. This is a very common way to meditate. I found the “without-syncing” version simpler and easier. And I have a personal principle of “the simpler the better”, so I pretty much practice the no-breath-
syncing mantra meditation most of the time.
Method 4: Take a 45-minute Long Walk
If none of them feels right for you, you mainly are left with two choices. The first choice is to do it until you succeed. Practice one of the above methods everyday until you can consistently succeed in clearing your mind. When you can finally meditate properly, you still want to keep doing it everyday. Your mind needs to be reset daily, not monthly. The second choice is that you can take a 45-minute-or-more walk daily to replace your meditation. From my experience, having a long walk give me a very similar effect to having my mantra meditation of breath meditation. I actually prefer the daily long walk as it can both train my mind and my body at the same time. Though for a lot of people, it is tough to fit that into their busy schedule. Still, having different options is good. My best days are the days that I can both have my 10-minute morning mantra meditation and after-work 45-minute walk.
The Big Idea about Meditation
Now, I have shared with you the four ways of meditations that I considered best for beginners. Do you want to know the common factor or the big concept behind all these methods? Meditation is actually a very simple concept. All you are trying to do with meditation is to assign a simple task or what is often referred to as a “part time job” to your mind so that it can stop doing its usual “full time job” for a short while. Tasks like focusing on your breath and reading a mantra in your mind are some easy and repeating task. Since it’s almost impossible to make your mind 100% quiet, giving your mind a simple task is as close to giving it some rest as possible. By giving your mind some rest, it is like pressing the reset button of your mind and you would be able to think more clearly after having the meditation.
Amount of Meditation for Beginners
Most people would recommend you to do a 20-minute session in the morning and another 20-minute session before dinner. I personally just do a 10-minute session in the morning as I find that more practical and that leave me with no excuse of not doing it daily.
I hope my four mentioned methods of meditation work well for you as a beginner. There are certainly more methods that seem more advanced but I am a believer of “the simpler the better”.