In this guide, we will look at how to do meditation at home for beginners. This will be a complete tutorial, so you learn how to meditate properly.
When you’re learning how to do meditation at home as opposed to on a retreat or at a studio, you don’t have a personal teacher. Therefore, it’s imperative to take your time and learn properly.
To help you, I’ve included lots of meditation tips for beginners in this guide, as well as an FAQ. Plus, you might also like to read my beginners guide to mindfulness.
You need to learn to meditate properly because meditation can go wrong. I learned this one day watching the morning news. The Dalai Lama was on. He was explaining to beginners how to meditate properly because many people do not practice proper meditation techniques.
The Dalai Lama said, “Meditation is very powerful. It must be learnt properly.” He explained that in the East when beginners learn to meditate, they study it alongside philosophy, history, and other aspects of culture.
Meditation is just one spoke of a wheel (literally, the “Wheel of Dharma”, called DharmaChakra). And it is only when all spokes move as one that the wheel begins to turn.
Now, you don’t need to know when learning how to do meditation at home. Beginners, however, should learn the basics correctly.
How To Do Meditation At Home – Introduction
First, what is meditation?
Meditation is a psychological exercise stemming primarily from Buddhism. However, it was first mentioned in the Hindu text the Vedas as “dhyana”. And itis mentioned in other religions including Islamic Sufism, Kabbalah, Christian Hesychasm, and the practices of Jainism like pindāstha-dhyāna.
However, you don’t need to be spiritual to meditate.
You may have heard about meditation from apps like Headspace, Calm, and Insight Timer, or from luminaries such as Jon Kabat Zinn, Sharon Salzberg, and Tara Brach. Or, if you’re into yoga, you might have heard about Dhyana, the method discussed in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Or maybe a friend just happened to mentation meditation, and it sounded like a good idea.
Anyone can meditate. And probably should. Because it offers quite staggering benefits.
Some of the benefits of meditation for beginners:
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety reduction
- Relief from depression
Many of these benefits of meditation come from the effect it has on the brain.
Meditation balances brain chemicals noradrenaline, cortisol, and adrenaline, and increases dopamine production. Plus, it reduces amygdala activity, heightens activity in the prefrontal lobe, and promotes the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is according to research from the World Institute for Scientific Exploration and the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California .
Basically, meditation makes your brain work in peak condition.
The benefits are real. But it’s important to start meditating in easy ways without lofty ambitions.
The best way to get started with meditation as a beginner is with mindfulness
Mindfulness means to observe the present moment without judgment.
Meditation teacher Tara Brach says that mindfulness meditation is used to “become mindful throughout all parts of our life. It’s about observing the mind, noticing mind wandering, accepting and observing thoughts and feelings, and paying attention to the moment.”
The key is to be mindful of whatever you are doing.
As Zen monk and meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “When sitting, sit.” In other words, pay attention to what you are doing in the present moment.
There are many ways how to do meditation at home.
Buddhist meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says, “Meditation is the ultimate mobile device. You can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively”.
You can do it anywhere. Sure, there are technical methods like in Buddhism and Daoism. However, you can stick to simple techniques. Indeed, if you want to know how to do meditation at home, you should probably start by just breathing mindfully.
Many people like to start with guided meditations for beginners. However, research from Harvard Medical School shows that beginners guided meditations aren’t as powerful as traditional meditation techniques.
Best meditation techniques for beginners
- Loving Kindness (Metta Bhavana)
- Vipassana (observing your mind)
- Anapanasati (mindful breathing)
- Guided meditation
- Mantra meditation (meditating on simple sounds)
- Samatha (meditating on any one object)
- Mindful eating
- Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
- Contemplation meditation
- Trataka (holding your gaze still)
- Mindful movement exercises like tai chi and qigong.
In most meditations, we do one of two things. We either focus on one thing (“Focused Attention Meditation) or we open the mind to everything (“Open Monitoring Meditation).
How To Do Meditation At Home- Instructions
- Choose a relaxing room in your house where you will not be disturbed.
- Sit with good posture [read my guide to proper meditation positions]. While there are technical positions such as the Tibetan Buddhist Vairocana position and Lotus posture, Anne Cushman (author of Moving Into Meditation) states that no particular posture is required.
- Close your eyes
- Observe your breath moving through your nostrils. You may count breaths if it helps you focus. As you continue deep breathing you will reduce amygdala activity, reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, and promote parasympathetic nervous system activity according to Mladen Golubic, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Basically, you will relax.
- Gradually expand your awareness until you are aware of the entire process of your breath moving around your body
- When thoughts or feelings occur, calmly observe them, and continue to watch your breath. As in the Buddhist meditation Vipassana, you might find it helpful to label your thoughts, saying, “This is just a thought” and “This is just a feeling.”
- The goal is casual awareness of the present moment. You should not be trying to change in any way. As Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher Pema Chodron says, “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.” So, accept your own mind and its actions.
- Do not be judgmental of your practice.
- Continue to 108 breaths.
Meditation is about observing the mind
Above, we did a simple mindfulness meditation for beginners at home.
When we do a basic beginners meditation technique like this, we observe the mind.
It is normal to notice that your mind is wandering, you’re dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, or daydreaming. Buddhists refer to this as Monkey Mind. Shunryu Suzuki, the author of Zen Mind Beginners Mind, states that a large part of meditation is reducing the monkey mind.
Meditation is about accepting the psychological states that you experience, and calmly returning to the present moment.
The most popular meditation technique for beginners is simply mindfulness, which is being aware of the present moment, such as in the beginner’s mindfulness meditation exercise we looked at above.
However, there is a difference between mindfulness and meditation.
Difference between meditation and mindfulness
There is a difference between mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is about present moment awareness. Meditation is any technique involving deliberately focusing the mind on certain things.
Mindfulness is also a lot more versatile than meditation. Joseph Goldstein [co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society], calls mindfulness “the quality and power of mind that is deeply aware of what’s happening”.
What to expect
So that is an introduction to meditation for beginners. And by now you should be excited about how mindfulness and meditation can help you in your own life.
The power of meditation is so great that it is increasingly being used in therapy. Although arguably this is not new. Carl Jung advocated for practices that increase mindful awareness in the 1920s.
Now, the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recognises meditation as a “mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.”
And The American Heart Association states that meditation is beneficial for the treatment of heart conditions.
If you meditate every day, you can expect significant benefits. You will relax, have more control of your mind, and enjoy better overall health.
Now let me share some tips on how to do meditation at home properly.
Tips for How To Do Meditation At Home Properly
Because you’re learning how to do meditation at home it is important to know the basics.
Here are some tips to get you started with meditation.
1: Start with a beginner’s meditation technique
There are lots of different meditation techniques, all with different benefits. However, when you are just starting to do meditation at home, stick to easy method.s. Here is an example.
An Easy Meditation To Do At Home
- Sit somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably with good posture (you do not need to sit with crossed legs if you find this uncomfortable).
- Tell yourself that you are going to be relaxing for the next 20 minutes.
- Take a few deep breaths to relax. If you have tension in your body, stretch gently.
- Begin to breathe. Count the in-breath to a count of five “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…”
- When you reach the end of your inhalation, stop for a count of two
- Now breathe out to a count of five
- Let each breath begin naturally. Do not force it. Just let your breath come and then start counting again.
- Simply focus on the sensation of your breath moving around your body.
- Continue to a total of 108 breaths.
This is a remarkably simple way how to do meditation at home. You will find it relaxing and grounding, and it will quieten your mind.
Of course, you can also do a guided meditation. Here is the best guided meditation for beginners.
2: Beginner’s meditation posture
Because you are doing meditation at home, you do not have a teacher to correct your posture. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how you are sitting. If your posture is awful, you are meditating incorrectly.
Many people ignore this tip. They believe that because the practice is primarily for the mind, the position of the body does not matter.
The reason your posture matters is that your mind and body are one. Elizabeth Broadbent PhD tells us that a bad posture reduces focus and good posture “can make you feel prouder after a success, increase your persistence at an unsolvable task, and make you feel more confident in your thoughts”.
Body posture affects your mind
The way you hold your body has a direct influence on your state of mind. If you try slouching, your mind will feel sluggish. If you try standing tall, your mind will feel sharp. Indeed, this is why we are now seeing so many forms of therapy based on Integrated Body Mind Training. Because the mind and body are one.
Many people who practice meditation at home do it in bed or while sitting on the couch. Bad idea. Instead, sit on a cushion or chair.
You don’t need to sit crossed-legged if you don’t find it comfortable. What matters is that your posture makes you feel grounded and that you have proper spinal alignment. You will know when you have the right position because you will feel balanced and focused.
The traditional meditation positions are:
- Lying [in Savasana or “Corpse Pose”]
- Walking [Kinhin]
However, I recommend just sitting comfortably with good posture.
3: Proper Meditative Breathing For Beginners
When you’re just learning how to do meditation at home, you will probably concentrate on the various breath-based methods.
Proper breathing is essential to proper technique. When you meditate correctly, your breath will come from your diaphragm, and it will be relaxed and rooted. Your breath might be quick in the beginning, but it will slow down and deepen as you meditate.
Interesting fact: In 2003, Harvard scientists studied a group of ten meditators and discovered that their respiratory rates were much lower than non-meditators. This lower respiratory rate is indicative of lungs that are working more efficiently, and a calm and relaxed body and mind.
If you breathe slower when meditating, that’s perfect. But don’t force it. The best way how to do meditation at home is just to let your breath be and calmly observe it.
As you relax, your breathing will become deep and diaphragmatic, not because you’re pushing it, but because you are relaxing.
Do not force your breath.
Lodro Rinzler, a Buddhist meditation teacher and co-founder of MNDFL in New York City says, “We encourage people to relax with the breath as is because the intention is to become familiar with all of who you are and what is happening right now, as opposed to what we wish might happen.”
4: Where to practice meditation at home
Make sure you have a proper meditation space at home. Your space should be a specially designated spiritual space.
The rules for spaces are:
- Must be peaceful
- Should be quiet
- Should be conducive to relaxation and focus
- Have as few distractions as possible
For your home meditation practice, meditate in the same space and reserve that space specifically for your practice.
If you have ever visited a nature reserve, you will know why it’s important to preserve certain spaces. You can feel the energy of a nature reserve the moment you enter it. It’s pure, wild, natural, a beautiful space that immediately conjures feelings of freedom and tranquillity. The same is true for Zen spaces.
Over time your meditation room will become a sanctuary filled with spiritual energy. You will enter the room and immediately feel purity, tranquillity, and warmth because you have preserved the purity of the space.
5: Developing a daily habit
A lot of people ask me how to meditate daily. For beginners, it can be hard to get into the habit of meditating at home. I recommend that you keep your home meditation practice to a specific time of day. When you know that at 6 AM you’re going to get up, enter your Zen space, and focus on your breath for twenty minutes, you create a habit.
Richard Davidson [professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds] states that the benefits of meditation can be gleaned in as little as 8 minutes daily. So, it isn’t a big commitment.
6: To meditate properly, change your attitude
It is impossible to meditate properly if you have the wrong attitude.
The correct meditation attitude is non-judgmental. To meditate properly, you need to let go of your judgmental mind and accept things as they are—especially yourself. Too many beginners fail to understand that to meditate correctly, you cannot judge what you’re doing as good or bad, right, or wrong. Instead, let go. Have a non-judgmental attitude.
When you’re not sure how to meditate, you often get distracted during your practice. You think to yourself, “Am I meditating correctly? Is this right? Is that right? etc.” And these unwanted thoughts, ironically, prevent you from meditating properly. That’s why you should adopt a nonjudgmental attitude and just go with it.
In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn, says, “With the mindfulness attitude of non-judging, we find a more effective way of handling the stress in our lives.”
7: On Buddhist methods
Performing Buddhist meditation at home requires more than just mindfulness. In Buddhism, meditative exercises are just one part of a much bigger practice. If you want to practice Buddhist meditation properly, you need to understand the philosophy of Buddhism.
Proper meditation in the Buddhist tradition requires discipline and patience. It isn’t a case of “sit down and focus on your breath”. It involves study and gradual development.
8: How To Know You Are Meditating Properly
As a meditation teacher, lots of people ask me how to tell if they’re meditating correctly. This is a trickier question than it seems. The practice is a subtle one, and it can be hard to know if you’re meditating properly (although the tips above will help).
One of the main reasons people book their first meditation lesson with me is to find out whether they are meditating properly.
What matters is the effect the practice has on your mind. To know if you’re meditating correctly, ask yourself if you feel better after your session and if it benefited you for the rest of the day. If you didn’t notice the benefits, you probably are practising the wrong way. In that case, you might like to change to a different method or book an online meditation lesson with me.
Simple Ways How To Do Meditation At Home
In this section, we’ll look at how to do meditation at home in different rooms of your house. Try each of them and let me know which one is your favourite.
Meditate In Bed
One of the most straightforward ways to meditate at home is when you’re lying in bed. If you do this, make sure you are meditating properly. Check you have good posture. Then proceed with the steps below.
- Bring your awareness to your breath
- Take 25 mindful breaths
- Begin to notice your body and the feeling of lying down
- Let your muscles relax and let the bed take your weight.
- From here, you can either continue with a traditional technique or listen to some relaxing music.
Meditate In The Shower
This is a method I learned from Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D [Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University]. In many ways, the easiest way how to meditate at home is in the shower. Showers are relaxing and therapeutic. Just be aware that there is the possibility of falling over in the shower. Play it safe.
Follow this short tutorial:
- Start by getting the water to the right temperature.
- Make sure you’re standing tall and relaxed with good posture.
- Now begin to focus on the sound of the water coming out of the shower.
- Feel the shower water on the crown of your head and bring your awareness to that sensation.
- Move your awareness down your body, feeling the water cleaning you.
- Now focus on the steam from the water as it enters your mouth.
- Feel the steam moving into you and cleaning you from the inside.
- Continue to be mindful as you clean your body. Observe the feelings and the fragrances.
- Now take ten mindful breaths and say, “My mind and body are pure”.
Meditate In The Bath
Now you know how to meditate properly in the shower, let’s look at how to do it in the bath.
Writing for VeryWell Mind, Elizabeth Scott, MS says, “Bath meditation combines the standard benefits of meditation with the benefits of a relaxing, hot bath, which can soothe tired muscles”.
Honestly, for me, this is the most enjoyable way how to do meditation at home. Simple. Relaxing. And cleansing. Here is how to do it:
- Get in the tub
- Let your body relax and make sure your head and neck are supported.
- Make sure you’re not putting your mouth below water level. No one’s drowning on my watch!
- Take twenty-five mindful breaths to relax.
- Now feel the warmth of the water around your body. Feel how your body relaxes in the water.
- Focus on the sensation of the water meeting your body, like one soft energy bubble cocooning you.
- Now slowly begin to clean your body with the soap.
- As you move your hand and the soap around your body, be mindful of the areas you touch. Ask those areas to relax
- Once you have finished, say the mantra “My mind and body are pure”.
Meditate In The Garden
Ah. The garden. One of the best places to meditate at home. Try some of these exercises:
- Create a Zen garden
- Try five-senses methods (focus on the scents, sights, and other sensory information in the garden)
- Do a slow and relaxing Zen Walk around the garden
- Pick your favourite flower and meditate on it
5 Ways To Learn Meditation At Home
Now we have discussed how to do meditation at home, beginners might like to learn more. I’ve created a list of the best ways to how to learn meditation at home. Pick the one which is best for you.
1: Our free beginner’s meditation guide
My passion here on THE DAILY MEDITATION is to teach people how to meditate properly. That’s why I have created a massive guide showing you the top 31 ways to meditate.
It contains tons of information on how to meditate for beginners to learn. I’ve also provided guides to all the different techniques for beginners to try.
2: Take meditation lessons
You want to learn how to meditate properly, so you should probably work with a proper teacher. I personally give meditation lessons online and my students love their lessons.
It’s crucial that you find a teacher who is right for you. Otherwise, they will teach you inappropriately.
We all have individual styles of teaching that we like. And we all have our own beliefs. Some teachers are amiable and teach simple techniques. Others are more serious, religious types who will teach you not only about the techniques but the philosophy too.
My own style of teaching is all about acceptance, non-judgment, compassion, and helping people to heal.
Books are still one of the best ways to learn how to meditate for beginners. And there are lots of great books on meditation.
What makes books an excellent way to learn meditation at home is that they are structured. Unlike a website where you jump from one page to the next in an unstructured way, books have a clear beginning, middle and end.
You progress through a book logically, so you’re always on the right step. That’s why, even in 2021, books are still one of the best ways to learn how to meditate (for beginners I recommend reading… my book! (shocker right?)) You can see it in the ad below).
Some of the best authors for meditation books include:
- Jon Kabat Zinn
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Shunryu Suzuki
- Sharon Salzberg
- Dan Harris
- Pema Chodron
- Jack Kornfield
4: Beginners Meditation Retreats
What better way to learn to meditate properly than while on vacation at a retreat?
Retreats are an excellent way to learn. For starters, most retreats have some truly excellent teachers with years of experience There are specific retreats for beginners too, where you will be taught in a structured way. Then there’s the fact that you will also be with other people who are learning. It’s a wonderful way to socialise and to learn from each other.
Some of the best meditation retreats for beginners include:
- Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California
- Bali Silent Retreat in Mount Batukaru
- Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado
- Simple Peace Hermitage, Assisi, Italy
5: Online Courses
The staggering rise of online meditation courses makes this one of the best ways for beginners to learn meditation at home.
There are very many different online courses to choose from, so you will be able to find one to match your needs perfectly. There are courses for kids, teens, adults, parents, men, women, everyone.
A friendly warning: There are good, average, and terrible online courses. Read the reviews and comments from other people who have been in the same course. Otherwise, you might end up wasting your money.
Some of the best online meditation courses include:
- The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mindful Awareness Research Center, which has podcasts, an app, and courses.
- The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), the Sanford Institute, and the Compassion Institute h
- Vipassana Fellowship Meditation Course
- Mindfulness Program at the University of Toronto: School of Continuing Studies
There are tons of meditation apps available. They include Buddhify, headspace, Insight Timer, Calm, Synctuition, Breethe, and Sattva.
Word of warning: Meditation apps are overrated. They are popular because they are easy and cheap. But they don’t provide proper tuition like a course or online meditation class does. They’re a fun way to start meditating, but that’s about it.
When it comes to learning how to meditate at home, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
Why do you want to learn how to do meditation at home?
For instance, do you want to relax, to improve mental health, to improve, etc.? Different techniques offer different benefits. Write a list of the things you hope to get out of meditating at home. This will help determine the best technique for you.
Where are you going to meditate specifically?
You have already chosen to practice meditation at home, but where exactly? Some atmospheres are more conducive to inner peace than others. A room with a water feature, for instance, is a good choice. Or how about in the garden? If you are practising meditation at home, make sure you have a lovely Zen chair or cushion (preferably both) to support your body while you sit.
Are there ideal times when the home is quiet, and you will not be disturbed? If so, this is an excellent time to practise.
The most important part of learning how to do meditation at home is finding the right time and place. There are many distractions at home, and it is easy to lose time. By answering these questions, you will create a structure that you can use to meditate daily.
I’m not sure where to practice
You can meditate anytime, anywhere. But it’s best to practise where you feel comfortable and will not be disturbed. Or, on a warm day, try in the garden.
I’m struggling to find the time
Try practising for ten minutes one hour before bed and try some mindfulness while doing housework (so you can meditate while still getting things done).
I want to practice with my children. Any advice?
Meditating with children is a great idea, but be sure to pick the right kind of meditation. Simple techniques like breathing are the best option.
I can’t find a quiet spot
If noise is a problem, there are a few solutions. You could play meditation music to cover the noise. You could go for a Zen walking. Or you could look for an alternative place to practise.
I find it hard to focus. Any advice?
Almost all beginners find it hard to focus when meditating. This is natural. Don’t worry. Keep trying, and you will naturally develop focus over time. Try counting your breaths to help you focus.
Should I find a teacher or school before beginning?
This is entirely up to you. It certainly isn’t necessary. The practice is safe and relatively easy. That said, the knowledge a teacher or school can offer is valuable. It depends on how much you want to get out of your practice and how much you are willing to invest.
I’ve been practising for a few weeks but haven’t seen much benefit.
Try changing technique. If you’ve been using seated methods, try standing or moving. If you’ve been doing mindfulness, try mantras etc.
Q. Is it okay to practice in bed?
Practising in bed is okay but not ideal. The reason it is not ideal is that you want to meditate while you have energy. If you’re tired when you start, you’re likely to drift off.
Do I need any specific items?
There are many meditation items and tools available, such as Hindu japa malas, Christian rosaries, meditation chairs, mindfulness apps, singing bowls, and crystals, but you do not actually need any other these items.
Now you know how to do meditation at home, you’re going to find life so much more relaxing. You can cut out the stress and the noise and find some good old fashioned you time.
I hope you found this guide helpful. Remember to share and subscribe.