Does the idea of meditating freak you out? Throughout my years of being a meditation teacher I’ve witnessed all kinds of resistance to the practice. The most common excuses for not meditating are, “I don’t have time,” “I can’t sit still,” and “Meditation is for yogis and super spiritual folks.” Does this sound familiar? If so, I’m here to bust the myth the meditation is difficult and not for you. Meditation is for everyone, it doesn’t have to take much time and anyone can sit still (even if it’s for just a minute).
Before we go any further, let’s begin with a few definitions so you can get familiar and comfortable with the language of meditation. Sometimes the lingo can feel off-putting, but like most things you’ll pick it up quickly.
What Is Meditation?
First, what is meditation? Meditation is a practice that trains your mind. If that sounds a little vague, it’s because there are many types of meditation done for different purposes.
Probably the most popular meditation practice in the U.S. is transcendental meditation, or TM for short. A great resource on TM is the book Transcendence, by Dr. Norman Rosenthal. Another popular practice in the U.S. is mindfulness meditation, which is based on stillness and calming the mind.
I teach Kundalini meditation. This type of meditation uses mantras, breath work, mudras (hand positions) and even physical movements. (All the meditations in my book Miracles Now are Kundalini practices.) But even before I became a student of Kundalini yoga and meditation I designed my own stillness practice based on different tools I’d learned throughout my life.
What Are Mantras?
Another term that comes up a lot when talking about meditation is mantra, which I mentioned above. What is a mantra? Simply put, a mantra is a word or sound that you repeat throughout a meditation to help focus the mind. “Mantra” comes from Sanskrit: man is the root of the word for “mind,” and tra is the root of the word for “instrument.” Mantras help us disconnect from that stream of thoughts constantly flowing (sometimes rushing) through our minds. Keep in mind, not all forms of meditation use mantras.
I’ve meditated every day for the past decade. I owe my happiness, health and awesome life to this one simple tool. Through my meditation I have learned how to boost my immune system, release my fears and heighten my intuition. My daily meditation practice has given me an internal power that supports all that I bring forth in the world.
You can check out my all-time favorite mantra here.
You too can experience this groovy power, intuition and connection by following the simple meditation steps outlined below. To help you demystify your meditation practice, I’ve created Gabby’s Guide to Meditation for beginners. These 10 steps will help you begin your very own meditation practice now and guide you to embrace the life-changing benefits that this tool has to offer.
Gabby’s Beginners Guide to Meditation
1. Anyone can meditate. You’ve just gotta want it.
Like any practice, you have to want to do it in order to achieve results. It can be hard to start a meditation practice because it seems so foreign from what we’re taught to do. But I have good news: Meditating is much simpler than we make it out to be. Beginning a meditation practice requires only your slight willingness. Your desire to experience something new is all you need to get on a new path.
Let’s set the intention to begin your practice now. Affirm this statement out loud to yourself: I am open to meditation and I welcome a new practice into my life. This simple statement will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need to continue reading this blog and beginning your practice. It’s very important to accept that anyone can meditate as long as they want to.
2. Set the mood.
It’s great to create a space in your home that is quiet, uncluttered and serene. This space can be dedicated to your practice. Keep in mind, though, that you really can meditate anywhere. You can meditate on a park bench, at your desk, in the bathtub, even on the subway. Meditation can become a part of your daily routine and you can do it anytime, anywhere.
Many meditation teachers suggest that you create a sacred space to meditate in. Even if you have a small apartment, you can set up a meditation pillow and light a candle. In this video I share how I created my Zen den and altar for my meditation practice. Watch here.
3. You DO have time to meditate.
You have a minute to spare, right? One minute a day spent in stillness can change your life. Commit to one minute a day and use this practice to silence your mind and calm your energy.
The One-Minute Breath
For one minute follow this breathing technique:
Breathe in for 5 seconds
Hold your breath for 5 seconds
Release for 5 seconds
Hold for 5 seconds
Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day.
Here’s another great meditation that you can do in one minute or less, everday!
4. You can find peace in your pulse.
Meditation can be as simple as finding your pulse. This foolproof tool from my book Miracles Now is very easy for meditation newbies. I call it Peace Is in Your Pulse because it improves your concentration and brings calm to even the most scattered mind.
Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor.
Lightly close your eyes and focus on the space between your eyebrows (the third-eye point).
The mantra (repeated phrase) is Sat Nam (which means “truth identified”).
The hand position (mudra) is simple. Place the four fingers of your right hand on your left wrist and feel your pulse. The fingers are in a straight line, lightly pressed on the wrist so you can feel your pulse in each fingertip.
On each beat of your pulse, mentally hear the sound of Sat Nam.
This meditation can be done any time, anywhere and you can experience great benefits in just one minute. Practice it daily to develop your intuition and calm your mind.
For further guidance on this meditation, watch this video:
5. Peace begins with you.
This technique is a fantastic Kundalini meditation that’s fast, easy and effective. You can also do this meditation anywhere.
Gently press your thumb against your index finger, then your middle finger, then your ring finger, then your pinkie finger.
When you touch your index finger, say: PEACE
When you touch your middle finger, say: BEGINS
When you touch your ring finger, say: WITH
When you touch your pinkie finger, say: ME
Breathe deeply as you say each word. Go as slow or as fast as you’d like. Use this technique in line at the bank, under the desk in an office meeting or even in the middle of a fight with a partner or friend. This technique will get you through all kinds of crazy emotions and help you release resentment fast.
6. Use your commute as a time to meditate.
My husband loves to meditate on the subway on his way to work. He practices Transcendental Meditation. Once he’s settled on the train, he shuts his eyes and begins his mantra. You can begin your own commuter meditation today. Here are two easy ways to get started meditating on the subway, train or bus:
You can download one of my guided meditations and listen to them on the subway or in your car (with your eyes open). Get my free meditations here, and explore all my meditation albums here. If you want video guidance and would like to try out Kundalini meditation click here for my Miracles Now meditation videos.
During your commute it’s helpful to repeat a mantra to yourself as you inhale and exhale. Try this: Breathe in: I love life; breathe out: I am supported. Or on your way to work you may want to meditate on this mantra: I love my job; my job loves me. Reciting a mantra while you connect to your breath can be a very powerful meditation practice.
7. You can meditate anywhere — even in the kitchen.
If you enjoy cooking, it can be considered a meditative practice. Time spent in the kitchen is designated for creativity and helps you detach from your day, even if you’re just whipping up spaghetti. The next time you feel stressed out after a long day of work, cook a meal.
Use your time in the kitchen to redirect your focus off your to-do list and onto serving your soul. Enjoy the process and then enjoy the meal!
8. You can meditate while you walk.
You can find a meditative moment even when you’re walking. Walking is actually a great time to meditate because it keeps us from rushing and allows us to slow down, calm down and get grounded. Try this simple meditation practice the next time you’re hustling to the bank on your lunch break, weaving through the supermarket aisles or hurrying to the office. Slow down just a bit and make your walk meditative.
Take a deep breath with every step.
Feel the soles of your feet and focus on being more grounded with each step
Use a mantra while you walk. With each step recite this mantra: “I am, calm now.”
Whenever you’re stressed, you disconnect from your body and your power. Get more grounded and connected with a walking meditation. You’ll actually enjoy your walk and feel much better when you arrive at your destination.
9. Find your Zen with technology.
Many people blame technology for their stress, lack of connection and anxiety. Technology overload has become one of the primary stressors in people’s lives.
But there’s a new trend happening with technology. Instead of being a source of anxiety or depression (or simply FOMO), it’s becoming a tool for stress relief. The growing trend is that people are turning to these channels for guided meditations, positive affirmations, empowering content and stress relief tools — all for free.
Check out my top three favorite apps for helping you grow your meditation practice.
The Best Meditation Apps
Spirit Junkie Alarm Clock
Start your day with a meditative moment through my Spirit Junkie Alarm Clock app. The idea is simple but powerful. Each morning when your phone alarm rings, an affirmation pops up. While you’re still cozy in bed, clear your mind and meditate on the message, allowing it to sink in and soak your soul. Then start your day with a positive, confident attitude. The Spirit Junkie Alarm Clock app turns the phone-on-the-nightstand habit into a healthy way to start your day.
As a meditation junkie I’m a huge fan of Headspace. I love this app because it makes meditation very easy for folks who are new to the practice. The app contains easy tools to help you focus more, sleep better and experience more Zen. I recommend this app to anyone who’s new to meditation or just feeling stressed out.
This app rules! Learn to adjust your breath to match the rhythm of your heartbeat with the Breathe Sync app and feel more relaxed, focused and balanced.
Your breath and heartbeat are directly connected to your wellness and stress levels. By taking a few minutes each day with Breathe Sync, you can measure your well-being and stay in control.
10. How to finish each daily meditation.
When you end your meditation it’s important to ground yourself. You may want to stomp your feet on the ground. Have a snack or drink some tea. Do something that gets you back into your body before going back to your daily routine.
In Transcendental Meditation it is suggested that you rest for three minutes after your meditation practice. This rest period helps you reorganize your energy and get back into your body. If you quickly jump out of your meditation and start checking email or posting on Instagram you may feel very shaky. Moving too quickly out of a meditation can even give you a headache or make you feel anxious. Take a few minutes to sit in a relaxed manner or lie down and rest. Let your body recalibrate.
It’s also helpful to set an intention for the rest of your day once you finish your practice. Seal the deal with a positive intention like, I choose to carry this peace with me for the rest of the day. Set yourself up to win with a silent prayer after your meditation.
When you first start your meditation practice, you may feel awkward or even uncomfortable. That’s totally normal! You don’t have to be an instant expert to reap the benefits of meditation. Ordinary or annoying thoughts will still rumble through your mind, but try to let them pass. In mindfulness meditation, teachers often say to detach from those thoughts by seeing them as clouds floating into and out of your mind. The more you practice meditation — even if it’s just for a minute or two each day — the better you’ll become at it. But it’s not a contest or a competition … meditation is a practice.
There are all kinds of ways to meditate and lots of tools to help you create a meditation practice that’s right for you. If one doesn’t quite click, try another. Let yourself adjust to this new habit and make it your own. Just remember: Anyone can meditate as long as they want to. That includes you.
Next Steps in Meditation For Beginners
You still think you don’t have time to meditate? Watch this video.
Are you irrational? Practice this meditation to release irrationality:
Do you feel blocked? Use this meditation to bust through your blocks.
Want to amplify your manifesting powers? Check out this miracle meditation!
Want to take your meditation practice to a whole new level? On August 8, 2014 join me, Deepak Chopra and India Arie for the largest group meditation ever. You can sign up for free today.