If you’re interested in starting your meditation journey, but haven’t quite figured out how to begin or which meditation practice to adopt, then you’ve come to the right place.
Meditation offers myriad health benefits, including stress reduction, improved heart health, improved concentration, among others. A recent UCLA research study found that regular practice of meditation helps strengthen thinking skills and help stave off memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. Another research study found that people who meditate often are more aware of their unconscious brain. With benefits like these, who wouldn’t want to practice meditation?
Having said that, the basic tenets of meditation, breathing and relaxation, can be difficult to master, owing mainly to our hectic lifestyle.
Keeping this in mind, we have listed down 5 simple meditation techniques for beginners in this article. If you’re able to devote 5-10 minutes of your day to any of these meditation techniques, you’ll be well on your way to leading a happier, more peaceful life.
Each meditation technique listed here has a link to a more comprehensive guide if you need to master the meditation technique.
5 Meditation Techniques for Beginners
1) Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving Kindness Meditation, also called Metta Meditation or simply LKM, is a popular meditation technique where you need to extend gratitude to yourself and others.
These are the four types of people you need to envision during the practice of LKM:
- someone towards whom you have great affection
- someone who you find difficult to deal with
- every living being on the planet
How to do Loving Kindness Meditation
- Find a comfortable place, sit in sukhasana (cross-legged position) or sit on a chair/couch. Be in this position for a few seconds, make sure you’re comfortable and allow your mind to settle down.
- Gently bring your focus to your breath. Take a few deep breaths and then allow the breath to be natural. Make sure your complete awareness is on the breath.
- Shift your focus from the breath to yourself. Breathe from your heart center and try to create feelings of warmth towards yourself. Allow feelings of kindness, love, and compassion to flow through your whole body.
- Now repeat these sentences of loving kindness in your mind:
“May I be happy,
May I be safe,
May I be healthy,
May I be at peace.”
Each time you recite these sentences in your mind, bring your complete focus on them. Be mindful of each and every word. Absorb the meaning of these lines.
The next step involves envisioning someone towards whom you have feelings of affection. Recite the same lines, but replace ‘I’ with ‘you’, and envision the person to whom these words are directed at.
(If you liked this meditation technique, here are some more simple Buddhist meditation techniques for beginners)
2) So Hum Meditation
So Hum meditation is a simple yet effective technique that uses breath and repetition of a mantra to achieve mental tranquility and a state of joy and inner peace.
How to do So Hum Meditation
- Select a quiet, comfortable place. Sit in sukhasana (crosslegged position). If you’re not comfortable in this position, then sit on a chair or couch. Keep your spine straight, close your eyes, and keep your hands rested on your knees with palms facing upwards.
- Take a few deep breaths. Observe the inflow and outflow of breath.
- Now take a deep breath and as you inhale, think of the word So.
- As you exhale, think of the word Hum.
- Continue to observe your breath as you mentally chant the So Hum mantra.
- Whenever you get distracted by a thought, quietly bring your mind back to the breath, silently repeating So Hum.
- Continue with So Hum meditation for 5-10 minutes.
3) Walking Meditation
Walking meditation is a popular form of meditation where you put your entire awareness on walking. In other words, walking meditation is practicing meditation while walking.
Thich Nhat Hanh believed that walking meditation is a “profound and pleasurable way to deepen our connection with our body and the earth.”
To learn more about the roots of walking meditation, check out this post.
How to do Walking Meditation
- Find an unobstructed space where you can walk for about ten feet. Walk bare feet if you can.
- Bring your awareness down to your feet. Notice the sensations here.
- Slowly shift weight from your left leg to your right leg.
- Lift your head and look straight ahead and hold your chest high. You can hold your hands loosely to the side or clasp them behind your back.
- Now begin the process of walking. Extend the right leg forward and notice the weight redistribution. As the weight shifts forward, notice how the heel of your left leg begins to lift. Swing the left leg forward and repeat.
- As is common with any meditation practice, the mind begins to wander. When we meditate, we focus on our breath and each time our mind wanders, we bring the focus back to the breath.
- At the end of the walking path, come to a complete stop and take a deep mindful breath. Now turnaround and walk to the other side following the same practice.
4) 5-Minute Breathing Meditation
5-minute breathing meditation technique is just as simple as it sounds. In this meditation technique, you set aside 5 minutes a day to meditate. This practice will also enable you to be more mindful of daily activities.
How to do 5-minute Breathing Meditation
- Find a comfortable place. Be seated on the floor or cushion. Sit in sukhasana (cross-legged pose) if you’re comfortable in this pose. Otherwise, be seated on the chair with your hands resting on the knees. Make sure your spine is erect.
- Breathe normally. Notice the sensations in your body. Relax completely and make sure you are comfortable in this position.
- As you are breathing normally, notice the inhalation and exhalation. There will be a brief pause after the inhalation ends and exhalation begins. Notice this pause.
- Now start taking deep breaths. As you inhale, count to four. Hold your breath for four seconds and then exhale slowly and completely for six seconds.
- As you are meditating, your mind may wander. This is natural. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Whenever this happens, just bring your awareness back to the breath and continue taking deep breaths.
- Practice breathing meditation for five minutes. Keep a timer beside you if it helps. As you approach the end of your meditation session, bring your awareness back to the room and slowly open your eyes. Notice the sensations in your body once again.
5) Ujjayi Breathing Technique
Ujjayi technique is one of simplest Pranayama exercises you can master and is therefore ideal for beginners.
The Sanskrit word ‘Ujjayi’ is a combination of two words – Ujj (meaning upwards or superiority in rank) and Jaya (meaning victory or success). Ujjayi breath, therefore, is a Pranayama exercise where the lungs are expanded and chest puffed out like that of a proud conqueror.
How to Do Ujjaya Pranamaya
- Sit in Vajrasana (diamond pose), Padmasana (lotus position) or Sukhasana (cross legged pose). Make sure you are comfortable in this pose.
- Keep the back straight and lower the head to the trunk. Rest the chin in the notch between the collar bones just above the breast bone. This process is called Jalandhara Bandha.
- Rest your hands on the knees with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and exhale completely.
- Now the Ujjayi method of breathing begins. Take a deep steady breath through both nostrils. The passage of the incoming breath is felt on the roof of the palate and makes a sibilant sound.
- Fill the lungs to the brim. As applicable in all Pranayama breathing techniques, make sure that the abdomen is not bloated. The entire abdominal area should be pulled back to the spine.
- Hold the breath for two seconds. This retention of breath is called antara kumbhaka.
- Now exhale slowly and deeply until the lungs are completely empty. While exhaling, the passage of the outgoing air should be felt on the roof of the palate.
- This completes one round of Ujjayi Pranayama.
- Wait for a second before beginning the second round. Repeat the round with steps 1 – 7 for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once you’re done, relax on the floor in Savasana (corpse pose) for a few minutes, breathing normally. You’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
Over to You
So these are the 5 meditation techniques for beginners which you can master in no time. Have you practiced any of these yet? Have you found a simple meditation technique which is not listed in this article? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you.
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