Meditation has grown in popularity over the years. In particular mindfulness meditation. Whilst it may seem easy, many beginners actually make a ton of mistakes that set them up for long term failure. Starting out the right way can really help to increase the odds of you maintaining your meditation practice.
So to help you out, I’ve created this list of sixteen essential tips you can use to avoid those pesky meditation pitfalls.
1. Sit up straight.
Slouching may seem way more comfortable than sitting straight, but it actually takes a lot more strength than you’d think. By sitting up straight you’re allowing your skeleton to offer you support rather than your muscles.
2. Take your time.
You don’t have to rush into meditation by meditating for hours on end. Just start off my meditating for a few minutes. It’s a lot easier as a beginner to start off slow and build up the length of time you spend meditating.
3. Meditate numerous times a day.
As you’re starting off slow with just a couple minutes of meditation, you’ll have time to meditate at multiple times throughout the day. We suggest you meditate for a few minutes every hour. This will really help to build up your experience.
Breathing is very important. Not only does it connect you to the moment, but it also helps you focus your mind. Don’t focus intensely on your breathing. Just keep it in mind, so it acts as an anchor, maintaining your awareness of the present.
You might find it difficult in the beginning to maintain awareness of your breath. Counting can really help with this. Try counting each inhalation you make. Once you have counted to five, start over.
6. Open your eyes slightly.
With your eyes closed it’ll be really easy for your mind to wander. To avoid this from happening keep your eyes open. Just slightly though. Your gaze should be lowered and relaxed.
7. Acknowledge, but don’t dwell.
Every thought you have you should acknowledge but not dwell on. Let them pass through and return your attention to your breathing.
8. Be patient.
Clearing your mind may be a struggle at the start. Your mind does like to stay busy after all. Don’t worry though. With a bit of practise, you’ll have this habit broken in no time.
9. Sit comfortably.
We’ve all seen people meditating on TV and they all sit the same way. Legs folded up like a pretzel. This isn’t vital though. It’s a lot easier to meditate when you’re comfortable. So sit however you’d like. Just be comfortable.
10. Use a timer.
If you don’t use a timer, you’ll end up peeking up at the clock and worrying about the length of time that’s passed. This will really mess with your meditation. So set a timer. Then you’ll be informed when the time is up.
11. Increase by 5 minutes each week.
You may want to increase the amount of time you meditate dramatically so you feel more like a pro. Don’t! You want to look forward to your meditation sessions. By progressing at a good pace you’ll feel more positive towards meditation.
12. Consider expert assistance.
Meditation is very popular nowadays, so there are tons of opportunities to meditate with others. Try looking for local meetups or contact your local Buddhist temple. You’re bound to find an expert with so many people meditating in one place.
13. Every moment is an opportunity.
Meditating in the perfect setting is easy, the real challenge is being able to meditate anywhere. It’s the ultimate goal really. The only way you’ll be able to do this is to try it. Practise, practise, practise.
14. Be persistent.
Persistence is everything. If you don’t persist, you’ll never improve. Have the mindset that you will meditate everyday and that you fully intend to improve. With this attitude you’ll be a skilled meditator in no time.
15. Stretch first.
The position you meditate in should be comfortable and easy. If you feel like you’re having to stretch, there’s no way you’ll be comfortable. So stretch out your muscles beforehand.
16. Relax your hands.
There’s no reason at all to worry about the placement of your hands. Simply place your hands on your lap in a comfortable position. You’re not going to want your hands to be lower than your lap as this can eventually pull down on your shoulders and become uncomfortable.
Meditation can bring you so many mental and physical benefits. By using these valuable tips as a beginner you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of enjoyable meditation.
To your success