Ten of the Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners from Deep Breathing to a Morning Gratitude Mindfulness Practice
Are you anxious to either try meditation for the first time or dive a little deeper into your current practice? Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many techniques perfectly suited to the beginner practitioner.
There are many benefits to using both meditation and mindfulness as an everyday practice from your morning coffee to your bedtime routine.
For those who don’t meditate regularly, meditation can seem a little intimidating. Research has shown that engaging in a simple meditation practice can help you cut through that mental chatter and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Meditation can also help you sleep better, improve your attention span, and help slow down the aging process!
Many people think that the practice of meditation is about getting rid of certain thoughts and feelings when the reality is it’s more about developing a different relationship with those thoughts and feelings.
Both meditation and mindfulness, the art of engaging in the present moment, can also help you be less fixated on what happened in the past and what might happen in the near future, both of which take up a lot of mental space.
What are some of the best simple meditation practices you can start with you might ask? Let’s look at that now.
10 Simple Meditation Practices
There are many different types of meditation so there is something for everyone. They are all valid and all beneficial in terms of quieting the mind and the body. Since meditation has been around for thousands of years, many techniques have evolved.
Meditations can be done anywhere at any time and most techniques are relatively simple, believe it or not. If you want to find an isolated spot high on a mountain and sit for hours that is your choice, but it is certainly not necessary.
Deep Breathing Exercises
The simplest way to do a breathing meditation is to breathe as deeply as you can down into the body. Most of the time, and especially if we are stressed, we tend to breathe very shallow so breathing deeply is very beneficial to relieving stress.
This technique is a great way to eliminate stress because it involves breathing way down into the diaphragm. This technique is also a wonderful way to cleanse your body of toxins and stress. Breathing deeply like this will help cleanse your nervous system and it is a wonderful technique to practice several times a day.
The practice is simple and involves breathing in through the nose to the count of 4, holding the breath for the count of 7, and slowly exhaling through the mouth to the count of 8.
This exercise is nature’s tranquilizer for the nervous system, and it can be done as often as you like. Begin with just three or four breaths, and no more until your body gets used to the feeling. You may be slightly lightheaded at first, but it should pass.
Counting the Breath
Counting the breath is another option. For this technique you simply count the breath on each inhale and exhale, with one cycle of breath counting as one. You can either count to 10 or go for longer periods of time. Just the act of focusing solely on your breathing is incredibly relaxing and soothing.
In a progressive relaxation meditation, you simply tense and release each large muscle as you work your way up or down the body. This is a great exercise to do before going to sleep, because it is a very relaxing process.
A focus meditation allows you to tune into your environment by focusing on an object. You may use an object you have or an object you simply envision. Some people enjoy using a beautiful flower like a rose to focus on while others may simply use something like a piece of crystal or a stone. To try this exercise, set a timer for 5 minutes and hold your object if it is small, and stare and it intently paying attention to all those intricate details.
Mindfulness meditation is all about trying to calm the mind. Through a practice of mindfulness, you can reach a place deep in your mind where your thoughts are quiet. It’s not always necessary to be doing something. Sometimes you just need to let go.
The more you practice this kind of simple meditation, the easier it becomes. You can start with as little as 5 minutes and work up to longer time frames; there is no set time requirement.
In mindfulness meditation, you strive to focus on whatever is happening in the present moment. This could be as simple as focusing on whatever thoughts are running through your mind or listening to the sound of your breathing or the sounds in the room, like the air conditioner. If you’re outside, you can close your eyes for a few moments and listen to the sounds of birds. The point is, you strive to focus on exactly what is happening in the moment and for those few moments, you aren’t worried about the past or anxious about the future which is a beautiful thing.
A body scan meditation is similar to mindfulness meditation. The difference is you are solely focused on what is happening in the body. The best way to do a body scan meditation is to start at the top of the head and work your way down to the feet, acknowledging whatever feelings or sensations you notice along the way, such as tingling or feeling hot or cool. Scanning the body is also a great way to ease away any stress or tension by breathing deeply into any areas of stress you might find.
Guided imagery is also a wonderful way to calm the mind and body. You can listen to an instructor by getting on YouTube or take yourself on a journey by simply using your imagination. The sky’s the limit here so you can imagine any relaxing scenario you desire.
The beach visualization is another great technique for relieving stress. Simply close your eyes and take yourself to the beach in your mind. Use all your senses as you relax and see, feel, and hear things such as the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, or the feel of the breeze on your skin. You might be surprised at how rejuvenating it is to spend a few moments in a peaceful, relaxing place even if it’s only in your mind!
Morning Gratitude Meditation
Engaging in a morning gratitude meditation is a great way to start the day and you don’t need a lot of time. Simply take a few minutes to close your eyes and think of 2-3 things you feel grateful for as you sip your morning coffee. You can also use this time to feel grateful for the coffee itself! Try setting a timer for 5 minutes and simply use the time to breathe deeply and enjoy your morning. If 5 minutes is all you have, then you have a lot!
If you’re thinking of exploring meditation but want to start with something a little simpler, you can start by browsing through our selection of amazing yoga instructors and life coaches. Our instructors are specialized across various areas and are ready and willing to work with you! Our online platform makes it simple and easy to browse coaches and book 1-on-1 online sessions all from the comfort of your home, so take a look today!
By Leslie Riopel
Leslie is the creator of PlanetBlessed.org and the co-author of the Bless the Mess Mindfulness Journal: 53 Unique Mindfulness Exercises for Sur-Thriving in a Challenging New World available on Amazon.