You may have heard a lot of people talking about meditation (let's face it it does seem to be on the lips of virtually every successful celebrity). Perhaps you have started thinking to yourself that if all these people are benefiting from it maybe I should give it a go too. Here is a little guide on how to get started.
Many of the people I speak with who like the sound of meditation tell me they find the thought of it appealing (lots of images of beautiful people looking happy in beautiful places) but they don’t necessarily know where to start. Some attempt to have a go by themselves but on the first try are disappointed that they didn’t feel the way they think they should or it didn’t do what they wanted it to so they give up.
The good news is that it may be easier to get started than you think, you just need a little guidance, a few tips and an easy to follow accessible starting point.
Let’s start at the beginning - why should you meditate?
The personal rewards for meditation are numerous and varied. Here are just a few:
Help cope with stress
Feel more positive
Deal with anger
You will see from the list above that a lot of the reasons fall into either reducing a negative emotion/feeling or increasing a positive emotion/feeling. This is because all feelings are controlled by the brain (we like to think they aren’t but when you look into this more closely you will see that it is true). Meditation gives you time and space to notice your thoughts and once you notice your thoughts you have the power to change them.
Who can meditate?
It really does cater to all. Whatever your age, background, ethnicity, gender, religion or belief system you will find an area of meditation that works for you.
What type of meditation should I do?
The type of mediation that will work for you will partly depend on what your motivation is for doing it in the first place. For example, you may be looking for inner peace, a mechanism to cope with stress or anxiety or you may be looking for a spiritual connection.
The right meditation practice for you is going to depend on several factors including (but not limited to):
What you have access to
How much time you have
With that in mind here is a little breakdown of the different forms of mediation practice you can choose to get started:
One of the easiest ways to get started is to find an app that works for you. Good ones can be found quickly and easily through app stores. They often offer a free version which may have limited access but gives you a really good opportunity to see if it is something you can work with. They are relatively low cost, cover a wide range of goals and allow you to invest as little or as much time as you choose at any given moment.
See a Meditation Teacher 1-1
A qualified meditation practitioner will have the training and experience to listen to what you need. They will create a programme specifically for you. They will listen to what you like, what you don’t like, how you are at that moment in time, how you benefited from previous sessions, future goals and a lot more. You may go to them or they may come to you or in some cases, you can have meditation coaching online! Prices will vary, most will charge per session, others may charge for a fixed number of sessions.
Seeing a practitioner 1-1 can be an in-depth, highly personalised and rewarding experience.
Join a meditation group
Meditation groups are springing up all over the place. Check your local area (social media groups, local notice boards, Parish magazines etc).
There are two types of groups: open groups (which tend to be flexible ongoing events, you simply turn up when you want to attend) or fixed groups (where you commit to a programme typically over 6 weeks so you learn the skills on how to meditate which you will carry forward for your own practice).
Costs will vary depending on your local area, the type of group and the venue, as a rule, they tend to be very good value. The shared experience with other people in the group can be particularly rewarding for some - there is something very special about the energy in the room as everyone goes through the journey together.
Go on a retreat
You may be thinking about booking yourself on a meditation retreat - what a fabulous way to get started. Retreats take you away completely from your everyday life and give you all the time you need to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
The cost of your retreat will be reflected in the location, duration and sessions that are included. There are practical things to consider such as facilities (especially if you have specific physical requirements), extras (additional sessions on offer) and naturally the type of meditation on offer (if you’re doing this for the first time make sure they cater to beginners).
One Way Journey
We have some guided meditations for you to use in the comfort of your own home, in your own time, which you can listen to free of charge. Just head on over to our meditation page here and at the bottom of the page, you will see a selection to choose from!
To help you get started here are some of the easiest types of meditation to look out for:
Focus on the breath - you will notice that most meditations start with breathwork. You shift your attention to your breath so that your conscious mind takes over from your unconscious mind. You may even get a whole session that focuses just on the breath. This is often the one I start with when taking someone through a guided meditation for the first time.
Meta or Loving Kindness Meditation - a meta meditation focuses on love. It will take you through a process of loving yourself, loving others, loving the universe. If you want to feel warm and cosy do a meta meditation.
Mantra meditation - a mantra is a positive statement or phrase that can be repeated throughout a meditation. You will choose your mantra according to what you want to achieve. For example, if I need a confidence boost I may choose something like “I have all the energy, resources and creativity to excel at everything I set my mind to do”.
Chakra Meditation (my personal favourite) - Chakras are the concentrated energy centres of the body (Chakra simply means spinning wheel). A Chakra meditation will focus on each of your chakras and help you balance them, this way you can be your best self.
Body Scan - a body scan meditation is exceptionally useful at releasing physical stress. It’s like getting a full body massage as each and every part of your body will get the opportunity to release any stress or tension. It’s the ultimate physical treat...
Guided Meditation - these take many forms (included all the ones above). A guided meditation will often take the form of a journey. You may find yourself walking, flying, floating, with nature, in your favourite place, on a beach or in a forest - the list really is endless. It could be calm, peaceful, beautiful or exciting, energising and fun - it really depends on where the teacher wants to take you. They are useful for beginners because you don’t have to do anything other than follow the words for a really enjoyable experience.
As you can see there are many choices available to you. There is no right or wrong but I’m sure you will warm to some more than others. I would recommend you experiment and try as many as you can and always keep your mind open to new techniques or experiences that may come your way.
I wish you well on your meditation journey.