In this article we will be looking at guided meditation techniques for beginners.
However, we are going to do things differently.
Have you noticed how meditation content tends to focus on either modern, guided meditation, or on traditional meditation techniques. It’s either hardcore traditionalist or really simple audio meditations that basically aren’t meditation at all. I’m about to change that.
In one guided meditation I am going to lead you through all the best traditional meditations. You will learn how to meditate at home properly. And all you need to do is follow along.
Let’s get started
Guided Meditation Techniques For Beginners
1: Before we start, make sure you are sitting with good posture and that you have minimal distractions.
2: Close your eyes.
Focus on your breath. Observe your breath moving through your body. This is the most basic meditation technique, breathing meditation
As you breathe mindfully you will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, reduce amygdala activity, and balance cortisol. And all of this will help to reduce stress and anxiety.
This is also a form of mindfulness exercise.
After a few minutes of mindful breathing you will start to feel peaceful. Continue to breathe mindfully and also be aware of the feeling of inner peace. You are now doing a Buddhist meditation technique called Anapanasati (mindful breathing). This is one of the most powerful types of meditation for relaxation.
There are two ways in which you can focus on the breath. You can focus on the breath in an intellectual way, saying “I am breathing in… I am breathing out”. Concentrating on a meditation object in this way is called Samatha meditation technique. In Yoga meditation this method is called Dharana.
You can also focus on your breath by observing the sensory experience of breathing. Here, you are focusing on the senses (how the breath feels, what it sounds like and so on). This is called Vipassana meditation. While doing Vipassana we also label our thoughts and feelings. We say, “This thought is a mental image in my mind” or “This is a feeling” and so on. Research shows that this in one of the best meditation techniques for anxiety because it reduces reactivity to thoughts and feelings (which helps with stress, anxiety, and depression).
When you have been meditating on your breath for a while you might start to feel one with the breath, like your mind and your breath are the same thing. This sense of oneness is called Dhayana.
So far in this article “Guided meditation techniques for beginners”, we have just been breathing. Now we are going to introduce a mantra.
4: Mantra meditation is basically the recitation of sounds, words or phrases. While you are meditating, start to recite the mantra Om (pronounced “Aum”). Focus your mind on the mantra. This is mantra meditation technique. This is also the method that Transcendental Meditation is based on. Mantras produce gentle reverberations in the body that can help to relax the muscles and organs, while also focusing the mind.
Different spiritualities use mantras in different ways. For instance, Hindu mantras are said in devotion to deities (e.g. “Om Namah Shavay”). Buddhist mantras are used to instill different parts of the dharma (Buddhas teachings). In Christian meditation mantras use small sections of the Bible. And modern mantras use affirmations to create positive thoughts (like, “I am feeling calm and happy”).
We can go further with mantra meditation by introducing tone, rhythm, and pitch. In other words, we make the mantra musical. This is a method done in the Kundalini meditation technique Kirtan Kriya. This is one of the most enjoyable guided meditation techniques for beginners and is great for happiness. We can do this by reciting a simple mantra and its melody. For instance, “Sa Ta Na Ma Sa Say So Hung” (see the video for the melody).
To now we have been reciting the mantra out loud. However, we can also internalize the mantra. This is done in Nada Yoga. We start reciting the mantra in the mind. Then the mantra begins to recite by itself. And finally we achieve oneness with the mantra.
5: Cultivating character (Bhavana)
So far in this guided meditation techniques tutorial we have looked at focusing on different things, mostly the breath and mantras. However we can also use different types of thoughts when we meditate. We can use our thoughts to cultivate certain character traits. This cultivation is called bhavana.
Let’s try some guided meditation techniques for character building.
We are still sitting with our eyes closed, breathing mindfully. Now we will use certain thoughts to create certain emotions and beliefs.
We will start with Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness Meditation technique). Bring to mind one person you are close to. Now think of this person happy and smiling. Now imagine saying to this person, “May [name of person”] be happy, healthy, calm, and content. May they also have the strength to overcome any challenges in their life”. This is Metta Bhavana. Traditionally we would then repeat this exercise for different people in our life.
We can go further by doing Karuna meditation technique (compassion). Bring one person to mind. Recognise the suffering and struggles that they face. Now wish them to overcome these struggles. Repeat with other people. This will develop compassion.
A natural continuation of Karuna is Tonglen meditation, a guided meditation technique from Buddhism. Bring one person to mind. Inhale and imagine inhaling their pain. Now exhale and imagine sending them soothing, healing energy.
These guided meditation techniques are developing our character. But we can go further by practising Bhakti meditation. Bring to mind your God, deity, or a figure you find personally inspiring. Meditate on them. And ask them to become one with you. This is Bhakti meditation technique.
6: Open your eyes. Now move mindfully [active meditation]
So far all the methods we have looked at in this guided meditation techniques tutorial have been with our eyes closed.
Let’s open our eyes.
Open your eyes a little (half open) and focus your gaze at a 45 degree angle downward so you’re looking forward but a little towards the ground. Now focus on your breathing. This is Zazen meditation technique. You might find it easier to focus with your eyes open rather than closed.
Now fully open your eyes completely. Focus on a point directly in front of you approximately six feet away. Keep your eyes fixed on the same spot. Meditate on that spot. This is Trataka meditation technique. It is one of the best meditations for concentration because when we hold the eyes still the mind also stills.
Next, stand up with good posture. Make sure your spine is straight but relaxed. Now meditate on both the body and the breath. This is Pole Standing Meditation or “Zhou Zhuang”, a Taoist meditation.
From standing we can move into Zen Walking Meditation. Cup your hands together now slowly walk ten steps forward, turn, and walk three steps back. While walking, focus on the movement of your legs.
From Zen Walking you can also move into other meditation techniques. For instance, there is dancing meditation or “Nataraj”, Osho meditation, tai chi qigong, and yin yoga.
And there we have it. Great job. You’ve reached the end of your guided meditation techniques tutorial.
To learn more about these techniques and others, book an online meditation session with me today.
Note, these are not all the meditation techniques. There are also methods like Chakra Dhyana, Kundalini meditation, and more. These however are fairly advanced methods. I will cover them in a separate guide.