There are many people who try meditation once and then dismiss it because they feel it doesn’t suit them. But meditating is not a one size fits all practice. Also, it can seem like a very abstract concept when you’ve just started to dip your toes in the mindfulness waters. We’d recommend to explore different meditation techniques, so you can see what you like and what you don’t like. And just see what works best for you.
Meditation techniques for beginners
#1. Focusing your attention.
With this form of meditation, you simply choose one thing that you’re going to focus on. Most people focus on their breath and use this as their anchor. This way, you have something you can return to when you notice your thoughts start to wander. You are free to focus your attention on something other than your breath, of course.
This meditation technique takes the first one a step further. When you’re focusing on your breath, for example, and you notice your thoughts start to wander, instead of returning your focus to your breath you will ‘note’ what it is that is distracting you. This can help you to learn more about your mental tendencies and the things that may be (subconsciously) bothering you.
#3. Body scanning.
This is a great meditation technique to use before going to sleep, but feel free to use it any time you feel like it. A good way to get started is by first doing an isolated body scan – of just your right hand. Once you’ve got the hang of that, go ahead and try a full body scan, starting at the top of your head and work your way down to the tips of your toes. Try imagining that there is a photocopier light moving very slowly over your body, creating awareness of every sensation.
This is one of the meditation techniques for beginners that works very well for those with a vivid imagination. Start the same way as you would when you’re focusing on your breath – and then replace the breath with a mental image as the object of your attention. Make sure you’re very specific when conjuring these images; try to see every single detail in your mind’s eye and stay aware of any physical sensations.
For this technique, you start by simply asking yourself a question. For example: “What experience in your life are you most grateful for?” or “What do you need to feel more at ease today?” By asking yourself something in the second person, you’re preventing the intellectual side of your brain from giving rational answers. This enables you to focus more on the feelings that arise instead of on the thoughts.