First thing’s first, everyone starts out as a complete beginner with meditation, so it is important to give yourself grace when trying anything new. Like exercising your muscles to gradually get stronger over time, meditation is a tool for your brain in strengthening the patient art of mindfulness. This is where we learn to keep our attention on the present moment and sit with our inner-most thoughts and feelings to sift through and observe.
With deep cultural roots in India, China and Japan there are lots of different types of meditation for different purposes. Mindfulness meditation practice is the most common and easiest to get a handle on. It can have mental health benefits such as reducing stress, anxiety or help calm overwhelming thoughts.
Although meditation is not a cure-all for life’s problems and worries, taking a ten-minute slice of peace as part of a daily habit could make an incremental and subtle, yet impactful, difference to how you view yourself and others.
How to get started with meditation as a beginner:
With any new practice, the hardest part is simply finding the time to start. Block out ten minutes of your day to be selfishly focused on you. Try keeping it the same time every day to help solidify the habit, but do not worry if you skip a day– let it go and try again. If ten minutes a day seems too much too soon, we suggest giving meditation a go if you are waiting for a kettle boil or setting a 1-minute timer before bed to explore your capabilities.
A relaxed and quiet space away from others and the notifications of an online life is crucial in zoning into the present when beginning meditation. Switch your phone to airplane mode and maybe put on music for meditation to help with curating stillness if absolute silence does not work for you. Hale Country & Spa has its own soothing Spotify playlists for you to try out. Alternatively, use our guided meditation video, with Stuart Pilkington, on the Club Instagram as a steering support to start with.
Sit on something comfortable, such as a big squishy pillow, folded blanket, or favourite chair. Make sure you are sat upright but your body is relaxed. Let your arms rest naturally where they want to fall, like on the arms of your chair on your thighs if you are sitting cross-legged.
Inhale & Exhale
Closing your eyes could help further with shutting out distractions and centering your thoughts on gently breathing in and out. A tip we like is doing a ‘body scan’ with your awareness; where you place focus on each part of your body from your toes up to your head while pausing to internally note each sensation as you go.
The next-door neighbour is going to get their lawnmower out, a child is going to laugh running down the street and you might end up feeling like you need to have an almighty sneeze. This is all okay. Your mind is going wander and get distracted when meditating, especially as a beginner as it is part of the learning process. The trick is to acknowledge and accept the distraction but kindly pull your thoughts back to breathing. The point of mediation is not to empty your head of all thoughts, but to recognise each one in a non-judging way and bringing attention to your breath once more.
If you or a loved one feels like they are severely struggling with mental health, please seek immediate medical help or the professional advice and resources of a mental health charity such as Mind.