Nude Female From Back w/Blk Gloves
By Gianluigi Calcaterra @Flickr under cc. license some rights reserved

Well??  Ahhmm….

  1. You can do it alone
  2. You don’t have to shower after, your won’t work up a sweat
  3. No chance of becoming a baby daddy/or mommy
  4. Nil chance of catching an STD
  5. You determine the length…of time

Now that the tease has worked lets get down to business. Meditation will take determination and yet relaxation.  That is the paradox grasshopper (if you get that reference you watch too many reruns.) It really requires a Yin and a Yang energy, the Yin is  r e l a x, don’t stress about how you are doing, as that interferes.  The Yang is you sit there, stay alert and energized as best you can.  I see the analogies to sex.  Hey, there are studies out there I know it- on the benefits of meditation on ones sex life.

1. Decide why you want to meditate.  Write down the benefits you hope to see by meditating. This gives you motivation to keep going when the going gets tough. Put it where you meditate.  Some practical benefits of meditating, are:

  • calmer at work with annoying co-worker/boss,
  • calmer with your kids
  • More creative ideas
  • Less anxiety and worry about future
  • Less rumination about past
  • Greater ability to focus on task at hand (practicing guitar, or writing a grant proposal)

Lets get practical matters that can derail your meditation practice,  out of the way:

2.  Pick the best time for you.  As a beginner timing will be especially important. Early morning, before the kids wake up and before work?  When you are freshest.  Or before or after dinner? Experiment and notice the difference then adapt.

3. Do not allow anything (short of a fire) to interrupt. If you allow an interruption once, it will be impossible to draw the line.  Let anyone in household know that you are unavailable for that time.  Turn off cell/anything that can ring.  Set a timer-start with 10 min.

4.  Meditation is best on after a meal 2 hours or so. Not when hungry and not when stuffed.

POSITIONING: Meditation is easiest if your spine is straight,  this is important.


5.   Sit in a Chair: Many people beginners included,  find using a straight back chair is best possibly with a cushion at you sacrum to lower back and your upper back off the back support. Ideally you want to be holding yourself straight.  You  don’t want to be leaning backwards or slumped. Feet should be flat on the floor.

6.  Sit on a cushion. See my post on types of cushions. If comfortable sit with your butt on a cushion 3 or 4 inches thick, so that your knees are relaxed and ankles crossed.  If this gets uncomfortable then by all means sit in a chair.  Meditation Cushions.


7.  Breath Awareness

Meditation for Beginners
Introduction to Buddhist Meditation
  • Take 4-5 deep breaths in, exhale out through mouth, making a soft sound if comfortable with that.
  • Become aware of your breathing in one location: pick either your abdomen or the nostrils.  Decide by however you feel it most clearly.  Relax.
  • To begin:  Either mentally label “in, out” if at nostrils/or belly.  Or for belly could also use “rising, falling.”
  • If mind wanders try “in, out 1, in, out 2, in out 3…” till you get to 10 then start over.  Note: this is very hard to do.  When you find mind has wandered off, start again at “one.”

8.  Walking Meditation: Another method that works well if you are pretty restless-yet is very effective and counts as “real’ meditation is to do walking meditation.  Set a timer.  Now this is different than meditatively taking a walk outdoors, which great but will not deepen your concentration as effectively.  This is more formal and the best way for a beginner.

  • Pick a quiet spot, preferably indoors and private. (The less distractions the better for you.)
  • The path should be long enough to take 12-20 steps in a straight line.  (The less distractions the better for you.)
  • Stand, take 4-5 deep breaths, relax.  Then just begin slow walking.  With each movement of leg, say mentally:  “Right”, then “Left” do this for 1/3 of the time you have set aside.
  • Then switch (after 1/3 of allotted time) as you get more concentrated:  as you move right foot “lifting, placing”  so you are now noting two actions in one step rather than one.  So “lifting, Placing” on R. ft, “lifting, Placing” on L foot…continue.
  • When you get to end of path/hallway… stop take breath/relax, turn around, walk back to beginning in same manner.
  • ONLY IF you notice you feel pretty calm, and mind is not wandering much: then for the last bit of the time, use as you lift R. ft. “lifting, moving, placing” then L. foot same “lifting, moving, placing”  So you are now aware of 3 segments of each step, which requires and builds more concentration.

Walking Meditation w/DVD & CD-ROM

9. DIFFICULTIES BEGINNERS FACE:  Whatever the meditation method be aware- the mind will wander off.  That is part of the training of the mind, ti’s nature is to be like a little puppy, excited by everything and out of control, chew here, pee here, sniff her, run here, chew here… and so on, endlessly.  SO WHAT MEDITATION WILL DO IS MAKE YOU FEEL MORE FRUSTRATED! If that is your normal tendency.  You will my friend- most likely feel a bit calmer too even while noticing that your mind seems completely haywire.

10. HOW OFTEN TO MEDITATE: For a beginning meditator, practice no less than 3-4x week, if you want to notice progress-ie.  calmer mind when meditating, calmer daily life, ability to think clearly under pressure etc.  Try to practice 1x day, 10 min to start. Over time if it’s going well add no more than 10 min at a time.  If doing 10 min. try to go to 20 that will feel like a challenge.  But you can do it.  When 20 feels good, go to 1/2 hour.

Meditation for Beginners

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I’ve graduated the Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  I began meditation in the early 90′s. Since 2001 I have “sat” over five months of intensive silent, residential meditation retreats, in one to six week-long segments.   My Western teachers include Myoshin Kelley and Joseph Goldstein.  I also have practiced under the guidance of Chanmay Sayadaw and Sayadaw U Pandita.
Namaste, Kala
IMG_0724Vivinne (Kala) Williams, Yogini, Mystic, Educator. Certified yoga teacher since 1994, teacher of mindfulness meditation. Over 1,000 hrs. somatic training. Graduate of Spirit Rock Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training. Studied with Burmese meditation teachers in multiple 6 week long, silent meditation retreats. Full bio here.