5 beginner’s steps to meditation

For relieving everyday stress, offering a deeper way to relax and a route to feeling good, meditation can be much easier to try than you think

Meditation always seems like a good idea – after all, who doesn’t want to feel more relaxed and peaceful? But we often rule it out as something mystical that takes years to learn.
However, even the experts say that the secret to good meditation is to avoid making it too complicated. ‘Keep it simple,’ says meditation teacher and author Michael Attie. ‘Don’t worry about finding the perfect way to do it. There are as many meditation styles as there are people.’ Meditation doesn’t even have to take up lots of your time, so why not give it a try?
Here Michael Attie takes us through five simple steps to get started.

1. Sit quietly

Find somewhere serene where you can sit in peace – perhaps outdoors, surrounded by nature or, if the weather prevents you getting outside, somewhere calm inside where you can look out at nature. ‘Focus on a flower, a tree or anything that you consider beautiful,’ Attie says. ‘Just becoming aware of the world around you is meditation.’

2. Concentrate on your breath

Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and follow your breath. If you feel you need to, quietly say to yourself, ‘In breath, out breath.’ Attie says that there is no need to overthink what you’re doing. ‘Just tell yourself: “I’m already here, meditating.”’ Many people worry that they’re ‘doing it wrong’ because their mind is not empty of thoughts, but Attie says that’s normal. ‘Just go back to your breath,’ he says. ‘As you concentrate on the breath, your thoughts won’t seem so important, you won’t care about them so much.’

3. Keep up the meditation habit

Attie encourages people to practise with regularity and persistence. ‘Keep at it even if your mind is going crazy. Your practice will deepen,’ he says, even if your sessions have to be shorter or you have to change where and when you practise. ‘You can meditate while you’re waiting for an appointment or waiting for your kids. You can practise anytime or anywhere. If you’re tired in the evening, sit in the morning,’ he suggests. ‘If you can’t sit for 20 minutes a day, sit for one minute several times.’


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4. Find support

Attie strongly recommends either finding a group you can join, working with a teacher or at least listening to a tape. ‘It’s easier to practise with a group than by yourself,’ he explains. ‘Try different groups and eventually you’ll find one you like.’ Everyone’s different, so don’t just accept something that doesn’t feel right or you’re more likely to give up. ‘Try everything and see what suits you.’

5. Be kind – to yourself and to others

Attie believes that if you’re practising kindness to yourself and others, you’re already on the meditative path. ‘How you live your life is more important,’ he says. ‘Doing your best and then letting go.’ So now that you have the technique and permission to do it anytime, anyplace, what’s keeping you from a little inner peace? ‘The best time to meditate is when you think you can’t meditate!’ Attie laughs.

Time to yourself to stop and think

It’s not always easy to relax at home, surrounded by laundry, tidying and work. So to get started, why not try our simple techniques to relax at home?

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I'm trying the yoga finding the relax bit tough but I'm going to keep trying

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