May 18, 2024

How To Meditate: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

According to Bell, it’s all about changing our perception of meditation and what we expect from it and ourselves. “Allow thoughts to come as you greet them with love and gratitude,” she says. “We never really switch off, meditation is more about developing an awareness of self.  Slowing down, not stopping. ”

GLAMOUR has also rounded up tips from meditation app Headspace for meditating at home in just ten minutes (and we’ve also rounded up the best meditation and mindfulness apps if you want to complement your practise).

Here’s how to meditate if you’re unsure where to start.

Breathe deeply

Defocus your eyes, gazing softly into the middle distance. Take five deep, audible breaths: in through the nose and out through the mouth. On the last exhalation, let your eyes gently close.

Check in

Take a few moments to settle into your body. Gently observe your posture, and notice the sensations where your body touches the chair and your feet meet the ground. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs. Acknowledge your senses: notice anything you can smell, hear or taste, sensations of heat or cold.

Scan your body

Slowly turn your mind inwards. Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Don’t try to change what you find, simply take note of it. Scan again, although this time notice which parts of the body feel relaxed. Take about 20 seconds for each scan.

Now turn your awareness to your thoughts. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them. Gently note your underlying mood, just becoming aware of what’s there without judgment. If there’s nothing obvious, that’s fine, too.

Observe the breath

Bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t make any effort to change it, just observe the rising and falling sensation that it creates in the body. Notice where these sensations occur – be it your belly, your chest, your shoulders, or anywhere else.

For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath, noting whether it’s deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow.

Begin silently counting the breaths: 1 as you inhale, 2 as you exhale, 3 on the next inhalation, and so on, up to 10. Then start again at 1.

Allow your mind to be free

Spend 20-30 seconds just sitting. You might find yourself inundated with thoughts and plans, or feel calm and focused. Whatever happens is completely fine. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be.

Prepare to finish

Become aware once more of the physical feelings: of the chair beneath you, where your feet make contact with the floor, your arms and your hands resting in your lap. Notice anything you can hear, smell, taste or feel.

When you’re ready, slowly open your eyes and congratulate yourself on your practise.

What are the best mindfulness meditation practices?

Here is a selection of Bell’s favourite types of meditation practices, to invoke mindfulness:

  • Walking meditation, which involves “being present and aware of the smallest of details, like the leaves trees, and sounds that we encounter but miss”.
  • Dancing – «My favourite [form of mindful meditation] is dancing when you are in full swing. The phrase dancing like no one is watching or if you’re in your bedroom, is a meditative state. when you feel in free flow.
  • Practicing body awareness – “a great way to do this can be to tense the muscles in the body and let go”.
  • Practicing breathing techniques – “ doing this regularly is amazing for mindfulness as it helps you stay present with the breath, with yourself – this is really our life force. When we are stressed the breath shortens and becomes shallow, the aim is getting back to a nice calm baby-like breath, long slow, and deep. ”

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