Meditation for dummies:
The complete guide

For a long time, the word ‘meditation’ meant a yogi sitting on a mountaintop with blue clouds overhead. Recently-discovered benefits of this ancient practice suggest that meditation is so good - it can't be left to renunciates only!

Benefits include improved focus, immunity, cardiovascular and metabolic activity; decreased stress and aging, and increased gray matter in the brain. Meditation is one of the most beneficial and low-cost activities that one can do. It is thus, not a wonder why this ancient practice has reached a zenith of popularity in our time.

But, how do first-time meditators begin this practice? Are there things they should know before embarking on this journey ?

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To answer these questions, here is a complete guide to meditation for dummies:

What is meditation?

Is it just sitting with eyes closed? Or is it concentrating on something?

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Meditation is a way to take deep mental rest; to be alert and conscious at the same time.” Busting the myth that meditation is concentration, he adds, “Meditation is de-concentration.”

Hear what meditation does to you.

Can books teach meditation for dummies?

No! “Books can give theories about meditation. But they cannot give you an experience,” says Prajakti Deshmukh, a meditation teacher. “Bookish knowledge can also create biases against the practice,” she adds.

Is there a go-to meditation technique for absolute beginners?

Yes! Focus on your breath with eyes closed for ten minutes. This is a simple meditation technique to begin your meditation journey. Also, guided meditations can be of immense help.

Here is one to your aid

What steps to follow before or during meditation?

Following are some steps that ensure your meditation session is smooth:

  •  Make sure the room in which you’re meditating is well-ventilated.
  •  Sit comfortably on a mat or a chair. Keep your spine erect, shoulders relaxed and eyes closed.
  •  Follow the instructions of a guided meditation or start observing your breath.
  •  When the meditation session ends, bring your awareness to the body and gradually open your eyes.

What are the precautions one must take?

  •  Do not meditate on a full stomach or before going to bed.
  •  Wear comfortable and loose clothing.
  •  Keep your phone switched off.
  •  Ensure no one is disturbing in the surroundings.

What should I do if too many thoughts come during your meditation?

It’s natural for thoughts to surge during meditation for beginners. Don’t suppress them. Nor indulge in them. Instead, learn to observe them. They will disappear on their own accord.

Does meditation seem like a daunting task to you? Or you simply want to deepen your meditation experience? Let a trained professional aid you in the Sahaj Samadhi Program!


(With inputs from Prajakti Deshmukh, meditation faculty member, The Art of Living )

    Join the Art of Living meditation program for beginners