Meditation For Beginners: 17 Yoga Experts Teach You How To Meditate
Posted on August 29 2018
You probably already know about meditation benefits. Maybe you already know a little something about meditation techniques too.
But…you don´t always have time to do it, and you keep on listening to those voices in your head which makes you think you're not meditating the "right" way.
There must be a better way to connect with your inner self.
So, we asked some of the most influential yoga experts online:
What is the most common mistake in meditation you should avoid?
And this is what we got, a quick guide about meditation for beginners.
"If you can breathe, you can meditate. The magic is inside.”
Putting your body in a rigid position and trying to be still is a big mistake and time waster in meditation. Try softening, allowing yourself to sway a bit side to side, forward and back, and settle into stillness. Kind of like dropping a rock into a lake, watching the circles ripple out, and watching them disappear one by one. The lake becomes more still and more alive. That feeling happens when we soften and find our own stillness, instead of forcing ourselves to make a superficial position. If you can breathe, you can mediate. The magic is inside.
Tara is founder of Strala and author of several best-sellers like Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Diet, and Strala Yoga.
“Use your thoughts as an opportunity to go deeper.”
“Don´t worry about avoiding mistakes and just start!”
Oh man, “one thing to avoid” in meditation makes this sound way more intimidating than it has to be! Meditation is not an injurious practice-- you can’t hurt yourself. So don’t worry about avoiding mistakes and just start! Start with 2 minutes of deep belly breaths while focusing on how your physical body feels, and maybe repeat a word or phrase that resonates with you. Keep it simple & keep it as something that feels like your own, not this external practice someone else told you to do. Meditation can include chanting or stillness or prayer or a walk in nature. Ask yourself what grounds you and start there. Assume you cannot make a mistake.
Erin is co-founder of BadYogi, the anti-cliché. Making yoga accessible for everybody.
"The most frequent mistake is giving up."
Short and sweet, for her, the most frequent mistake is always giving up.
Anna is co-founder of The Wellness Universe, a fantastic community of writers who have made of this site the most complete resource for mind, body, spirit, and planet on the web.
“Meditation isn't about fixing your mind; it's about becoming friendly with it.”
The biggest mistake in meditation? Thinking you're doing it wrong. Often when we meditate, we worry that the voices in our heads (“My God, what was that text about?”, “Was that guy checking me out yesterday?”, “Is my boss angry at me?”, “What am I going to eat later?”) mean that we are screwing meditation up. Aren’t we supposed to be calm and peaceful? Set your fears aside: meditation isn't about "fixing" your mind; it's about becoming friendly with it. By creating some space to simply be with yourself as you are, you can practice relaxing with “what is.” Once you get a little space around the natural churnings of your mind, you don’t have to take everything it tells you so seriously.
Rachel, from RachelYoga, describes herself as an educational nerd, creative artist & yoga teacher. Her mission: elevation through education.
CAITLIN & DANIELLE
“It's just about showing up for yourself.”
The dolls are clear: “You should avoid wondering if you are meditating right or wrong. We are always so worried if we are doing something right or wrong, meditating is not about how far you go into outer space or how far you go within yourself. It's just about showing up for yourself, making it to your mat or wherever you decide to meditate, that is half the battle and whatever your practice is, is perfect!”
They are from OnceUponaDollHouse and are also two yoga teachers who want to inspire their readers to become their healthiest and happiest selves.
“It isn’t an experience restricted to the seated position.”
Two of the most common mistakes/misconceptions about meditation I’ve encountered as a Yoga teacher are that a) it has to be “done” and b) you have to sit still for it. But if you ask me, meditation is something you allow, rather than do. Any experience of full presence and awareness is meditation. If you make your bed, cook or sing with full presence and awareness, those are moving meditations in themselves. It isn’t an experience restricted to the seated position. In fact, movement has been one of my surest gateways into the meditative state of mind. Be it dancing, painting, or even zoning out to the views outside train windows on my travels. I’m seated my mind is free to wander, but balancing on my forearms/head/hands drastically cuts down my daydreaming options. The moment my mind wanders, my body will let me know with a thud on the ground.
Namita Kulkarni is a yoga teacher, traveler, and writer from India, who is always looking for something new to learn. She is from RadicallyEverAfter.
“A five minute sit EVERY day is far more powerful than a 30 minute sit once a week.”
Regularity is incredibly important for a meditation practice. It's tempting to skip a day (or two, or three, or a whole week!) because we "don't have time" to meditate. What this really means is that we need to be more realistic and lessen the amount of time we allot for meditation. A five minute sit EVERY day is far more powerful than a 30 minute sit once a week. Through regularity, we train our mind to look forward to that daily pause. Meditation will become a part of our daily self-care routine; just as important and automatic as brushing our teeth.
Julie is a Los Angeles-based Ayurvedic practitioner, her articles on TrueAyurveda talk about the principles of Ayurveda & yoga sequences to improve our health.
“Frequent mistake? Assuming that meditation is the practice of putting the mind in blank.”
“Just sit for five minutes and focus on your breath.”
The most frequent mistake people make when starting a meditation practice is putting too much pressure on themselves, either by setting an unrealistic time commitment, or thinking they'll be able to clear their mind completely. Start with something manageable, such as five minutes of breath-awareness meditation per day. Just sit for five minutes and focus on your breath. Your mind, initially, will wander. Whenever you catch yourself thinking of something else, bring your focus back to your breath. And repeat. It's really that simple! Over time, you'll find you can focus for longer and you will probably naturally want to increase the length of time for which you meditate.
Marita is a foodie, yogi (both teacher and student), aspiring acrobat, writer and gypsy. She loves to share her stories on VeganGypsyTales.
“Be patient with yourself.”
I would say the biggest mistake you should avoid is putting pressure on yourself with time. It does not matter if you meditate for 5 or 45 minutes the quality of the meditation is what is important, blocking the noise out and being in the present. Be patient with yourself.
Chrissy is a yogi on the go/pizza connoisseur. She firmly believes you should “do what makes YOU happy.”
“Enjoy a good open-eyed meditation in a waiting line or stuck in the traffic.”
My advice for meditation? Start small! One of my favorite ways to incorporate meditation into my day is to weave it into my yoga practice. In between rounds of sweaty sun salutations, or before I start hip openers, I'll take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe. My goal is simply to notice my body and how I'm feeling. I also enjoy a good open-eyed meditation or body scan if I'm waiting in line somewhere (like if I'm stuck in traffic or waiting at the grocery store). Instead of getting impatient, I try to remind myself that this is a good time to take five deep breaths. Meditation can be a challenge, but I find it very rewarding when I can incorporate even just a few minutes into my day.
Rachel is from AliveInTheFire, she lives in northern California, inspired by practicing yoga mindfully, teaching from the heart, giving hugs, and living a badass life.
“No matter how distracted, tired or frustrated you feel going into it – you will always come out of meditation feeling lighter, calmer and happier.”
Start meditating without being bound by preconceived notions of what and how it should be. Each person’s experience of meditation will be unique. Most people think they cannot meditate because they are too distracted or do not have the time. These are exactly why someone should choose to meditate. Meditation helps to quiet the mind, turns the focus inwards and improves one’s ability to be mindful.
If you are new to meditating, initially it can be quiet challenging. Your mind will wander or you may simply get bored. But it’s the act of just sitting and being with yourself and watching your thoughts that can be pretty powerful. And it gets better each time you do it. Meditation doesn’t need to be lengthy or complicated. One needs to start small – even 5 minutes a day is a good start. And no matter how distracted, tired or frustrated you feel going into it – you will always come out of meditation feeling lighter, calmer and happier. Give it a try!
Arundhati, founder and lead teacher of AhamYoga, helps others to achieve healthy, happier lives through YOGA. She loves chai and puppies.
“Trust the process and continue with non-attached attitude to any particular timing or results.”
Meditation is not easy for anyone, but new practitioners often feel few results and give up thinking that they just “aren’t good at meditation.” This simply isn’t true! Like anything else worthwhile, it takes time to learn how to meditate effectively and time to perceive the results of your efforts. The greatest mistake is giving up. Every effort you make counts. Trust the process and continue with dedication and a non-attached attitude to any particular timing or results. Then you can relax and receive the benefits that surely await.
Jennie Lee is a yoga teacher, author, and coach based in Hawaii. Breathing Love: Meditation in Action – featured on Top 10 Inspiring Books 2018 by Aspire Magazine.
RENÉ LE VERRIER
“Meditation is stilling the mind; let the body move if it needs to, just as wind blows and herons fly.”
René, E-RYT, is a certified yoga instructor who herself lives with Parkinson’s and has survived a stroke, talks about yoga for Parkinson’s Disease and Movements Disorders.
"A common mistake in meditation is limiting yourself only to practice one kind of meditation technique"
There are many different ways to practice meditation so explore and experiment with different approaches. An excellent place to start is to match the method of meditation with your personality. For example, if you are fidgety, try walking meditation or use some mala beads with mantra meditation. If you have a hard time focusing, check out mindfulness meditation or vipassana. If you need simplicity and structure, explore zen meditation techniques.
Timothy is a Kripalu & Pranakriya trained yoga instructor living and teaching in Asheville, NC. He is also a writer and Founder and Executive Director of Japa Mala Beads and YogaBasics
"Meditation is a training of one's ability to recognize the chatter, the chaos and the seemingly unending loose-ends running through the mind"
Taylor is a paramedic turned Yogi, turning Nurse, and then Primary Care Provider. His yoga & adventure retreats in the USA and Costa Rica are very popular.
Now you know what these 17 yoga experts recommend so now you can fully enjoy your meditation practice.
If you find it useful, please share it with others who are open to trying new meditation techniques.
Also, we’d love to hear from you and get your feedback!: What is your favorite meditation technique?