It’s important to understand there’s no one “right” way to meditate. There are countless variations, developed over centuries, with different techniques and goals. There’s even walking meditation, proving you don’t need to be still to be meditative! There are other methods for relaxation and stress relief, but a regular meditation routine is one of the best ways to ensure you have sustained balance, mindfulness, and calm amid the pressures of modern life.
What we want to offer here are some recommendations on how to meditate — not comprehensive, not exclusive, and very much open to interpretation. But if you want to get started with a simple meditation practice, here is one relatively easy way to start practicing.
How to Meditate
- Sit in a comfortable, quiet space. Use a cushion or a chair if necessary.
- Keep your posture straight. Rest your hands on your lap.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe naturally for a minute or two, and let your heart rate slow.
- Focus on your breathing. Take notice of your inhalation and exhalation, especially how your body responds to each.
- Stay in this intensely, internally observant mode.
- Take inventory of your body, starting at the top of your head, working down to your toes, and observing the sensations in different parts.
- If your mind wanders, direct it back to the “present.”
- Focus again on your respiration. Focus again on your body.
Try this for 10 minutes at a time, then 15, and, once you’re acclimated to the process, establish a 20-minute daily session.
Additional Tips on How to Meditate
Eliminate distractions: If your body is comfortable and your space quiet, it will be much easier to stay focused.
Stick to a schedule: It’s all about establishing habits. If you set aside 20 minutes for meditation, at roughly the same time, every day, it will become part of your routine.
Learn more: There are meditation classes in virtually every town and city. Some styles may suit you better, and some instructors may help you reach a level of mindfulness you find difficult to reach on your own. While it’s not necessary to seek outside training, be aware of the options.
It’s about you: Well, it’s about you and the universe and everything in between. But what we mean is, don’t worry about doing things the “right” way, or with the “right” people. Find what works for you.
Cut yourself slack: Meditation is not the most natural activity. Anyone can do it, but it takes practice. We aren’t used to being still, concentrating on the moment, setting aside our ongoing worries, and letting our breath direct our thoughts. All of that is to say: Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a handful of sessions to start to get the hang of it! It’s all a process.