Meditation – mindfulness techniques for beginners. How to get started?

Meditation is gaining popularity as a way to reduce stress and improve concentration. More and more people are discovering the benefits of regular mindfulness practice.

In this article, you will learn how to start your meditation journey. We will introduce simple techniques that will help you incorporate meditation into your daily routine.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a process where we focus our attention on our breath, observing its flow entering and leaving our body. The main goal is to learn to stay in the present moment, anchoring ourselves in the “here and now” intentionally, without judging. What may seem simple in theory, in practice requires patience and consistency.

Every time our mind starts to wander, moving away from focusing on the breath, we gently but firmly bring it back. This practice not only strengthens our ability to concentrate, but also teaches us mindfulness – being fully aware of the present moment.

Beginnings can be surprising. The first attempt at meditation can reveal how quickly our minds can be occupied with something else. Instead of numerous breaths before thoughts began to wander, just one was enough. This experience underscores how easily our thoughts stray from focusing on the present moment.

Meditation teaches us that every distraction from the breath and every return to it is a step towards greater mindfulness. It’s not about getting frustrated when we notice our mind wandering, but accepting it as part of the process and gently returning to the task. This practice may seem challenging, but its benefits for the mind and body are invaluable, offering peace and stability in our often chaotic world.


Why is it worth learning to meditate?

Meditation may not be a cure-all for all problems, but it certainly offers a respite from the daily hustle and allows for a moment of reflection. Sometimes, this space for contemplation is all we need. You don’t need much to practice meditation – just a little bit of patience, kindness towards yourself, and a comfortable place to sit.

Meditation brings a range of long-term benefits into our lives. Furthermore, it does not require any additional equipment or expensive subscriptions.

Here are five reasons why it’s worth meditating:

Understanding our own pain – Meditation allows for a better understanding of our emotions and experiences of pain, opening the path to processing and accepting them.

Decrease in stress level – Regular meditation practice can effectively reduce stress, which has a positive impact on overall well-being.

Better communication – Meditation allows for a deeper connection with oneself and the world around us. This translates into improved communication and relationships with others.

Improved concentration – Through meditation, you can significantly enhance your ability to concentrate, which is invaluable in work or study.

Reduction of mental chaos – Meditation helps reduce the constant noise of thoughts, bringing peace and clarity to the mind.

Introducing meditation into your life is an investment in yourself that brings benefits not only to you but also to the people around you. There is no better time to start this practice than now. Remember, meditation is a journey, not a goal in itself. Each session is a step forward towards better well-being and greater awareness.

Meditation in 7 steps

Meditation requires a conscious effort to achieve peace, which may not come easily to everyone, but anyone can benefit from it.

Here is our guide in 7 steps on how to learn to meditate.

Step #1: Find the time

When starting a meditation practice, the first and fundamental step is to set aside time. Although this may seem simple, in practice it can be a challenge. Whether you choose morning meditation to prepare for the day or evening meditation to ease the mind from stress, the key is to dedicate around 20 minutes a day to it. Consistency builds a habit and allows for a deeper experience of the benefits of meditation.

Step #2: Choose the right place

The place where you choose to meditate should promote relaxation and focus. You don’t need any specialised equipment; just find a corner where you can feel comfortable and at ease, whether it’s the floor, a chair, or even a bed. It’s important for this place to be quiet and allow you to adopt an upright position, which supports concentration and energy flow.

Step #3: Start being mindful

Integrating mindfulness with meditation can significantly enrich your practice. By focusing on your senses and the present moment, you can connect more deeply with your body and mind, distancing yourself from external distractions and inner chaos of thoughts. Pay attention to what you feel, hear, smell, taste. This mindfulness will help you ground yourself in the present moment.

Step #4: Begin meditation.

Once you are in a comfortable position and have prepared your environment accordingly, you can begin meditation. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, observing its natural rhythm. Repeat “inhale” and “exhale” in your mind, helping yourself to stay focused on the present moment. The goal is to maintain focus on the breath for about 20 minutes.

Step #5: A challenge for the mind

Understanding that mind wandering is a natural part of meditation is crucial. When you notice your thoughts drifting, see it as an opportunity to practice redirecting your attention back to the breath. Do not harshly judge yourself, but accept it with kindness and patience as part of the learning process.

Step #6: Improving the practice

Mastery of meditation takes time and practice. You may encounter various difficulties, such as intrusive thoughts, difficulties in maintaining a natural breathing rhythm, or self-assessment of your practice. It is important to approach these challenges with openness and a willingness to explore. This will allow for gradual improvement of your meditation skills.

Step #7: Conclusion of meditation

The end of a meditation session should be smooth and gradual. When you feel that it’s time to finish, slowly stop focusing on your breath and allow yourself a few moments of silence and peace before returning to reality. Remaining in a meditative state for a short while after finishing helps in a gentle transition back to everyday activities.

How much should I meditate?

Meditation is both a simple and demanding process. Despite its challenges, it is extremely effective and valuable. The key aspect is consistency – even a five-minute session every day can bring significant benefits. Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg emphasises the importance of the moment when we decide to sit down and meditate. It is a moment in which we express faith in the possibility of change and care for ourselves, translating values such as mindfulness and compassion from theory into reality.

The decision to meditate daily is an expression of the belief that taking care of one’s mind and emotions is as important as taking care of the body. Even a short session can be an opportunity for inner stillness and reflection. In the long term, this contributes to a better sense of well-being, peace, and overall balance.

How to make Mindfulness a habit?

It is estimated that 95% of our behavior operates on autopilot. This is because neural networks underlie all of our habits. By reducing millions of sensory inputs per second into manageable shortcuts that allow us to function in this crazy world. These default brain signals are so effective that they often lead us back to old behaviours before we can remember what we actually intended to do.

Mindfulness is the exact opposite of those default processes. It is executive control, not autopilot, enabling intentional actions, willpower, and decisions. But it requires practice. The more we activate the intentional brain, the stronger it becomes. Every time we do something purposeful and new, we stimulate neuroplasticity, activating our grey matter, which is full of newly sprouted neurons that have not yet been trained to work on “autopilot.”

However, the problem is that even though our intentional brain knows what’s best for us, our autopilot brain tends to take shortcuts through life. So how can we encourage ourselves to be mindful when we need it most? This is where the concept of “behavioural design” comes in. It’s a way to put our intentional brain in the driver’s seat. This can be done in two ways – first, by slowing down the autopilot brain, by placing obstacles in its path, and second, by removing obstacles from the intentional brain’s path so that it can take control.


Meditation – other styles and techniques

After mastering the basic practice of sitting meditation, it is worth considering other forms of meditation, such as walking or lying down. In contrast to earlier meditations that focused on the breath, the ones below focus on different parts of the body.

Body scan meditation – introduction

The body scanning meditation encourages focusing on physical sensations in different parts of the body, starting from the feet on the floor, whether you are wearing shoes or not. Then you move your attention through the whole body, gradually, all the way to the top of the head.

The aim of this practice is to “check in” with all parts of the body – from fingers to arms, from buttocks to big toes. During this process, it’s important to avoid judging, wondering, or worrying – you simply focus on the physical sensation of being in your body. Pains and discomfort are okay; you don’t need to change anything, just notice.

How to practice body scanning meditation?

Start by focusing your attention on different parts of the body. You can focus on a specific area or go through a sequence. Starting from the toes, feet, through the legs, pelvis, abdomen, lower and upper back, chest, arms all the way to the fingers, neck, various parts of the face, and head. Take a moment for each body part, noticing different sensations.

If you notice your mind wandering, gently guide your attention back to a part of your body that you can remember.

If you fall asleep during this practice, that’s okay too. When you realize you’ve drifted off, take a deep breath to help yourself wake up. Alternatively, change your body position, which will also help you wake up. When you’re ready, bring your attention back to the part of your body you were last focusing on.

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