If you’re just getting started with mindfulness as a beginner, you might wonder what the craze is all about. Why is mindfulness one of the fastest growing health practices of the past decade. What will you get out of it?
There are so many amazing benefits of mindfulness for beginners to look forward to. Mindfulness will make you relaxed, happier, and less anxious. Just take a look at my article on the best mindfulness exercises for kids and adults to see what it’s all about.
What is mindfulness
When you’re just getting started with mindfulness as a beginner you might wonder just what the heck mindfulness actually is. It is basically living in the present moment.
When we talk about being mindful we mean living in the present moment non-judgmentally. It is about perceiving things as they are. That is the core principle of mindfulness for beginners to understand.
So let’s think about what mindfulness means.
Most of the time we are stuck in our heads, lost in thoughts. And we tend to think of those thoughts as something that is real. We don’t see things for what they are, we see our delusional perception of reality.
Mindfulness is the opposite. When we are mindful we are focusing on the thing that we are doing at any given time. For instance, when being mindful of breath we are focusing solely on the breath. And if we do think thoughts, we remind ourselves that it is just a thought and not reality.
So what mindfulness means is this: focusing on the present moment and having a clear perception of reality.
There are many ways we can do this, including:
- Exercises like yoga
- Breathing techniques
- Meditation [beginners guide below]
- Mindful eating
2 Great Types of Mindfulness For Beginners
Mindfulness means two things. It means living in the moment. And it also refers to a specific mediation technique
Both these types of mindfulness have big benefits for our health, as proven by science.
As a meditation teacher I often teach beginners mindfulness meditation before I teach other methods. There are two different types of mindfulness meditation I teach. The first is my mindfulness for beginners meditation. The second is a an extension of the first and helps you to go further in mindfulness. These are both great exercises for when you’re just getting started with mindfulness.
To start, let me teach you my mindfulness for beginners exercise. This exercise will help you to live in the present moment and to let go of unwanted thoughts.
Before you start this technique you will want to read my article on meditating properly for beginners.
Once you’ve read that guide, follow the simple instructions below.
1: Close your eyes. Do not cram your eyes together. Make sure your eyes are very relaxed and that they are at rest. They should be gently closed.
2: Breathe through your nose. You might like to take a few deep breaths just to relax. Then allow your breathing to come naturally and to be gentle and smooth.
3: Focus on your breath coming through your nose. Begin to observe the sensations of your breath moving through your nose. As a beginner, you may struggle to focus at first. That’s fine. Don’t get frustrated if your mind wanders. Just gently return your focus to the breath.
4: Count to 108 breaths. 108 is a sacred number. We usually take this number of breaths when we meditate. You might feel rushed to get to the end. That’s normal for beginners when getting started with mindfulness meditation. Remind yourself that your idea of rushing is just a thought, and any feelings are just feelings. Then continue to focus.
When you’re just getting into mindfulness meditation you might struggle to get to 108 breaths. You might get distracted. That’s normal for a beginner. Don’t be frustrated, be glad that you started mindfulness. Next time you will make it all the way to 108 breaths.
Above I shared an easy mindfulness meditation technique for beginners. Now it’s time for the proper Buddhist mindfulness meditation. Beginners can do this too. Just go slowly. And if you would like to learn more, read my guide to beginners Buddhist meditations.
Here’s how to do it (read my guide to proper breathing meditaion because your breath is very important during practice).
1: Sit comfortably with good posture. You can sit on a special cushion, on the floor, park bench, wherever you like. Just make sure you’re comfortable.
2: Place your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Let you wrists drop so that your hands are placed gently on your lap. You can choose to adopt one of the meditation mudras if you like. But what really matters is that you are comfortable.
3: Drop your chin and let your gaze drift softly downwards.
4: Your eyes: You can choose to your eyes open, to let your eyelids drop so your eyes are partially closed (three quarters closed is good,) or to completely close your eyes. But do not focus on your vision.
5: Relax for a few minutes.
6: Focus on your breathing. There are lots of different types of breathing meditations. The best is to simply focus on your breath moving through your nose This wil help you to relax.
7: Focus your mind on your breathing. Pay particular attention to how your breath flows between your lips and through your nose.
8: At times you will notice that your focus wanders. This is inevitable. When this happens, simply relax and gently bring your focus back to your breathing.When thoughts arise, accept them. Do not try and push them back and do not judge them. Just observe them and let them come and go.
9: When you feel that you need to move, or you get an itch, take a moment to just sit still. Then consciously decide to move. It’s important that you consciously make the decision to move as this will train your mind to be inwardly still.
10 : Ending: At the end of your mindfulness practice, open you eyes and lift your gaze. Sit still and be mindful of the sounds around you. Notice any feelings in your body. Notice any thoughts. Take a moment and consciously decide to carry on with your day.
Now You’re Getting Started With Mindfulness, Here’s What To Do Next
Now you’re getting started with mindfulness meditation. Do you want to go further? If so, here are the best mindfulness books for 2019.
Alternatively you might like to learn from a mindfulness CD or mindfulness DVD.
One thing I do recommend when getting started with mindfulness meditation is to use some mindful reminders.
A famous quote says, “Mindfulness is easy. Remembering to be mindful is the hard part”.
Remembering is actually at the heart of mindfulness. The very word itself, translated its original Pali, means Remembering.
Above we looked at two types of mindfulness for beginners. Those exercises will help you to relax. But you will probably forget to be mindful sooner or later.
Forgetting to be mindful is actually the single biggest problem beginners encounter. You will probably find you lose focus too easily. You get distracted. Thankfully it gets better with practice. But even then: your focus varies day to day.
Have you ever experienced days when you were living in your own mind? Days when you weren’t paying attention to what was happening around you? At those times you might say you were being mindless. You were ignoring reality and focusing only on your thoughts. Did you notice how you started to feel negative / sad/ anxious / stressed at those times?
When you are not mindful you are much more likely to experience negative emotions. That’s why it is so important to be mindful. And one of the best ways to do that is with an app like Calm or Headspace.
Using apps and reminders will help you to remember to practice, and to stay mindful throughout the day. Make sure you find opportunities in your day to practice mindfulness. For instance, by being mindful at work.
And that is how to get started with mindfulness meditation. If you want to take it further you can always combine mindfulness and CBT.
In this guide you’ve learned two great types of mindfulness for beginners. And you’ve learned how being mindful can help you in life. I’d love to hear your comments on my article. So, leave a comment, share, and remember to subscribe.