How to Meditate
In this section, you’ll find tips and techniques to help beginners learn how to meditate properly and deeply. We hope these tips will be useful for you! Better yet, we invite you to try our free daily meditation program, Breethe, created for beginners, in which Lynne guides you step by step, every day, in just 10 minutes a day. Each day she’ll teach you a little bit on how to meditate effectively, so you really get all the benefits. Also check out this page for additional tips and some great meditation techniques and this page for your frequently asked questions in our Youtube meditation videos.
How to Sit
When you hear the word meditation, do you think of cross-legged “gurus” sitting in the mountains surrounded by incense? That mental image can be intimidating, but don’t worry! It’s much simpler than that. You just need to find a comfortable position in a chair – something with a straight back that allows your feet to touch flat on the floor. Fold your hands in your lap or rest them on your thighs, whatever feels most natural for you. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to go ahead and sit with your legs crossed on the floor or on a cushion, but be sure to go back to sitting in a chair if this position creates any back pain that distracts you from your meditation. The most important thing is to be comfortable. But not too comfortable that you’re likely to fall asleep. Finding that balance between relaxation and alertness is the key!
Best Time & Place to Meditate
We like to say the best time for meditation is in the morning, before your mind is bombarded with all the stuff you have going on during the day. RPM (Rise, Pee, Meditate) is a good system if it works for you!
Some people even prefer meditating in the evening to relax after work. What’s most important for now is that you decide on a time that’ll work for you each day so you can get into the daily groove.
You can meditate anywhere you like, but it’s good to have a meditation spot you call your own, even if it’s just a corner of a room. Over time, you’ll start to develop an association between that spot and the feeling of relaxations, making it easier to get into the meditative mindset when you sit down. It could also be your bedroom, your home office, your car, even the bathroom if you have little ones!
Dealing with Mind Chatter
During your meditation, you may wonder, “Am I doing this right?” And you can relax because that’s a very typical thought to have when you’re starting out. Maybe you’re mind’s going on and on about a fight you had with a friend, some work-related stress, or your big plans for the weekend.
The mind is an incredible tool – kind of like one of those crazy kitchen gadgets you see on late night infomercials. It keeps your body alive, it thinks, it feels, it calculates, it imagines… The only problem is, it doesn’t come with an off switch. With meditation, we’re teaching our minds – over time – that it’s okay to switch “off”, focus on something simple, like our breath, and actually relax! Over and over, we pull our attention away from the distracting noise of the mind, and bring it back to our breath. And over time, our noisy mind starts to quiet down. This is what we call building our attention muscle.
Finding the Time
All you need is just 10 minutes a day. We could easily take that out of our TV-watching time (5 hours a day for the average American!) or the time we often spend on Facebook or surfing the net. Just think, with the improved focus you’ll get from meditating, you’ll be more efficient in the rest of your daily activities – at work, time spent with family, or helping your teenager with their calculus homework!
And being more productive in what you do means you’ll gain those 10 minutes right back! Soon, you’ll be enjoying the benefits so much that you’ll want to spend even more time meditating.
How to Breathe
To start your meditation, take a few deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth, to help your body relax and transition into the meditation. As you breathe, try to have both your chest and your belly rise and fall – it sounds funny, but it feels great. Imagine crystal clear oxygen filling your lungs as you inhale and tension leaving your body as you exhale.
Then you can shift to your natural breathing rhythm, in and out thru your nose. You can even silently say to yourself “breathing in” and “breathing out” in time with your breathing as you follow each breath with your full attention. Focusing on your breath like this may sound silly, but it really will help you quiet your mind and take your attention away from all those thoughts that keep popping up: “I forgot to pick up the clothes at the cleaner’s… What on earth will we eat for dinner tonight? … I don’t think I’m doing this right…”
How to Avoid Dozing Off
Yes, meditation is very relaxing, but falling asleep isn’t part of the agenda! So staying alert while you meditate is important. This is why we don’t recommend lying down to do your meditation… or sitting in your favorite comfy easy chair or on the sofa. If you tend doze off during your meditations, try sitting a little more upright. If you’re still having trouble, you can try meditating at different times during the day. Yes, it can seem really convenient to meditate first thing in the morning while you’re still in bed, but it’s probably not the best option if you’re tempted to fall back asleep. Morning meditation is great, but sit in a chair instead of your bed. Taking a shower before your morning meditation may also help.
Dealing with a Noisy Environment
You don’t even have to have a perfectly quiet environment to meditate. It’s all right to have a little bit of noise around you. You can deal with sounds the same way you deal with thoughts, just notice them without getting drawn in and go back to focusing on your breathing.
Dealing with Physical Sensations in Meditation
While meditating, you may feel tingling in or fingers or toes, or maybe some discomfort in part of your body if you’re not used to sitting still for a while. Just be aware of the physical sensations you feel, but don’t try to change them. Know that each time you sit will be different. Of course, if you experience anything really uncomfortable, you should change your position.
Do I Need a Meditation Coach?
You may wonder if it’s better to use a program to learn meditation or to just “sit by yourself” for a few minutes each day to relax. Well, it’s kind of like anything else… Take tennis for example – you could learn to play tennis on your own, but everything will go more smoothly and you’ll improve much faster if you have someone to show you how to do it properly from the beginning.
That’s where the breethe program comes in. Lynne Goldberg, your personal meditation coach will lead you thru a new guided meditation every day, helping you with not just the how’s of meditation, but the why’s as well. With her soothing voice and gentle instruction, you’ll learn faster and you won’t have to worry “Am I doing this right?”
Check it out!
To learn more about how to meditate, check out this short video:
So the first step is to find a really quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and then you can close your eyes. And this can really be anywhere you like. But obviously not while you’re doing something that requires your attention, so driving a car is not a good idea.
And you don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor when you meditate. I actually prefer a chair. The idea is to be really comfortable and able to relax, but not so comfortable that you start to fall asleep.
If you’re new to meditation and you don’t have someone to teach you in person, you might find it helpful to use a tool like our app, OMG. I Can Meditate! That’ll give you all the instructions that you need to get started.
Meditation’s a really wonderful way of waking up to life by learning to become more present. And in the process, it gives you a bit more calm and clarity.
When we meditate, we bring our focus to the object of our attention, and this object is typically the flow of our breath. But other things such as sounds and body sensations can also help us focus.
Paying attention to the breath anchors us to the present moment and pulls us out of our busy minds. We simply notice the breath flowing in and out, without the need to control it, just watching it, without trying to change it in any way.
And as we do this, it’s really normal to be distracted by your thoughts. And when this happens, don’t worry about it! It happens to everybody.
But as soon as you notice that you’ve been distracted, gently let the thought go, and then return your focus to your breath. We’re not trying to stop the thoughts. This would only make you feel frustrated.
Just allow them to be, and come back to your breath as soon as you’ve noticed – over and over again.
And that’s all there is to it!