Over the past several years, meditation has come fully into the mainstream. There are lots of studies on its benefits, you can find meditation videos all over YouTube, and there are multiple apps dedicated to meditating.
Does this sound familiar? If so, I’m here to bust the myth the
meditating is difficult and not for you.
Meditation is for everyone! It doesn’t have to take much time or effort, and everyone can sit still. Even if it’s just for a minute. I’m on a mission to make meditation fun and accessible for everyone, so I created this beginner’s guide.
Before we go any further, let’s begin with a few definitions so you can get familiar and comfortable with the language. Sometimes the lingo can feel off-putting, but like most things you’ll pick it up quickly.
What Is Meditation?
First, what is meditation? Meditation is a practice that trains your mind. If that sounds a little vague, it’s because there are many types of meditation done for different purposes.
One of the most popular meditation practices in the U.S. is Transcendental Meditation, or TM for short. Transcendental Meditation is practiced twice a day for 20 minutes. During this time you sit comfortably with your eyes closed and silently repeat a mantra. A great resource on TM is the book Transcendence by Dr. Norman Rosenthal.
Another popular practice in the U.S. is mindfulness meditation, which is based on stillness and calming the mind. Mindfulness meditation often involves sitting comfortably and paying attention to your breath, your physical sensations and your environment. When your mind wanders, you gently bring it back to the present.
Kundalini meditation uses mantras, breath work, mudras (hand positions) and even physical movements.
Many people love guided meditations because they’re very easy to follow. During a guided meditation, a teacher guides you (in person or via audio or video) through a practice. Guided meditations are great for both beginners and long-term meditators!
You can try a FREE guided meditation I designed just for you ! All you have to do is press play, listen and follow my guidance!
What Are Mantras?
Another term that comes up a lot is mantra, which I mentioned above. What is a mantra?
Simply put, a mantra is a word or sound that you repeat while meditating to help focus the mind. Mantra comes from Sanskrit. Man is the root of the word for “mind,” and tra is the root of the word for “instrument.”
Mantras help us disconnect from that stream of thoughts constantly flowing (sometimes rushing) through our minds. Keep in mind that not all forms of meditation use mantras.
The Benefits Of A Meditation Practice
Meditating has physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Here are 4 major benefits to having a meditation practice…
1. It calms your nervous system
Numerous studies prove the mental and physical health benefits of meditating. Meditating stimulates and strengthens the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in our bodies. The vagus nerve helps regulate our breathing, heart rate, digestion, circulation, muscles and more.
Meditating is also proven to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is an important hormone when it’s within a healthy range. But far too many of us have heightened cortisol levels because of daily stress. This leads to all kinds of issues, from anxiety and poor sleep to digestion problems, high blood pressure, headaches and even heart disease.
The good news: Research shows that meditating reduces cortisol, thereby easing stress, anxiety and many physical symptoms. Your reduced stress also decreases inflammation and boosts your immune system!
2. You become less reactive
I used to be very reactive, which never worked out well for me. Inevitably, responding based on my first impulse led to a sense of regret and further complicated whatever issue I was dealing with. It was especially harmful in relationships, because I’d get very defensive and reactive when faced with arguments or challenges.
I finally got so fed up with myself that I decided to change — to make a proactive decision rather than succumb to reactions.
In stillness we can hear our intuition guiding us.
Instead of doing what I always did when a challenge arose, I chose to do nothing. I chose to breathe through the discomfort and be still. In that stillness, I could hear my intuition tell me how to navigate the rest of the conversation in order to find peace more quickly.
It’s thanks to my meditation practice that I was able to get to this place of stillness in the midst of conflict. This is available to all of us: Neuroscience research shows that meditation helps us to be less emotionally reactive and more grounded, centered and mindful.
3. You recognize spiritual guidance more easily
A meditation practice isn’t just for relieving stress or silencing your racing thoughts. It does do those things — but it does so much more, too. When we meditate, we can transcend the energy of this world and step into a place of love.
By slowing down your breath and shifting into a peaceful, connected state, you can more easily receive spiritual guidance. This is because your energetic vibration is very high and you’re attuned to the love of the Universe.
In this state you’re receptive to intuitive guidance and signs from the Universe. This guidance is always available to us, but we often block it. Meditation helps us allow it.
4. You can do less and attract more
This goes hand in hand with being able to recognize spiritual guidance more easily. Meditation helps us not only notice that guidance, but also to act on it and rely on it regularly.
There is a force of love within us and around us supporting our every move. The way to access this force is to simply get out of the way. When we’re stuck in our logical and practical thought system, we can’t connect to the infinite wisdom that is available to us at all times.
We believe that our will is what makes things happen. But the secret to feeling good and living the life we want is to stop relying on our own strength. We stop trying to control. We do less so that we can attract more.
Meditation gets us out of the way! Being guided doesn’t mean we give up our own decision-making ability. It means decisions come more easily. We feel clear and directed rather than uncertain and hesitant. When we encounter obstacles, we know we can sit in meditation, focus on feeling good, and let solutions come forward.
You can experience the benefits of meditation right away
You too can experience this power, intuition and connection by following the simple meditation steps outlined below. Remember that we call meditation a “practice” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a habit. You do it to feel good. To calm and clear your mind and energize your body. To connect to the Universe.
You can begin experiencing the benefits of meditation right away. And over time they will grow greater and greater.
To help you demystify your meditation practice, I’ve created a beginner’s guide full of tips. These tips will help you start your own meditation practice, stick to it, love it and experience awesome benefits.
1. Anyone can meditate. You’ve just gotta want it!
Like any practice, you have to want to do it in order to achieve results. It can be hard to start a meditation practice because it seems so foreign from what we’re taught to do.
But I have good news: Meditating is much simpler than we make it out to be. Beginning your practice requires only your slight willingness. Your desire to experience something new is all you need to get on a new path.
Let’s set the intention to begin your practice now. Affirm this statement out loud to yourself:
I am open to meditation and I welcome a new practice into my life.
This simple statement will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need to continue reading this guide and beginning your practice. It’s very important to accept that anyone can meditate as long as they want to.
2. Create a meditation space.
It’s great to create a space in your home that is quiet, uncluttered and serene. This space can be dedicated to your practice.
But if space is tight or you travel a lot, no worries! You really can meditate anywhere. You can meditate on a park bench, at your desk, in the bathtub and even on the subway.
However, if you can, create a sacred space to meditate in. You can keep the space minimalist or fill it with items that inspire you, like tapestries or rugs, crystals, a yoga mat, a small fountain, beautiful art, mala beads, plants or a card deck.
Even if you have a small apartment, you can set up a meditation pillow and light a candle.
3. You DO have time to meditate.
You have a minute to spare, right? One minute a day spent in stillness can change your life. Commit to one minute a day and use this practice to silence your mind and calm your energy.
THE ONE-MINUTE BREATH
For one minute, follow this breathing technique:
Breathe in for 5 seconds Hold your breath for 5 seconds Release for 5 seconds
Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day.
4. Meditate by finding peace in your pulse.
Meditation can be as simple as finding your pulse. This foolproof tool is very easy for meditation newbies. I call it Peace Is in Your Pulse because it improves your concentration and brings calm to even the most scattered mind.
PEACE IS IN YOUR PULSE MEDITATION
Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor.Lightly close your eyes and focus on the space between your eyebrows (the third-eye point).The mantra is Sat Nam (which means “truth identified”).The hand position (called a mudra) is simple. Place the four fingers of your right hand on your left wrist and feel your pulse. The fingers are in a straight line, lightly pressed on the wrist so you can feel your pulse in each fingertip.On each beat of your pulse, mentally hear the sound of Sat Nam.
You can use Peace Is in Your Pulse anytime, anywhere and experience great benefits in just one minute. Practice it daily to develop your intuition and calm your mind.
5. Practice the “Peace begins with me” Kundalini technique.
This technique is an awesome, easy Kundalini meditation that’s fast and effective. You can do it anywhere.
Gently press your thumb against your index finger, then your middle finger, then your ring finger, then your pinkie finger.
When you touch your index finger, say: PEACE When you touch your middle finger, say: BEGINS When you touch your ring finger, say: WITH When you touch your pinkie finger, say: ME
Breathe deeply as you say each word. Go as slow or as fast as you’d like. Use this technique while you’re standing in a long line, do it under the desk in a work meeting or even in the middle of a fight with a partner or friend.
This technique will get you through all kinds of crazy emotions and help you release resentment fast.