Meditate Anywhere: A Beginner’s Guide

By Estelle Hayes

You don’t have to visit an ashram or take a vow of silence to benefit from meditation. And you don’t need special clothes, mats or cushions to be your own guru. Meditation is a portable self-help tool you can take with you from the moment you wake up to the second your head hits the pillow. Here are a few tips to get you started on your practice.

Try a mantra: Think of one word or short phrase that conjures up a sense of calm. Try peace, love or light. It may sound corny at first, but one simple word repeated in your mind while taking a few slow and deep breaths can quickly drop your blood pressure in a tense situation. I use mine at bedtime when my mind is racing. It helps to draw me back to a quiet mindset.

Download some meditative music: A quick iTunes search will bring you endless “meditative” music options. Download this to your music player and slip on some headphones for ten minutes a day. Take a break during your work day, close your eyes and repeat your mantra while zoning out to the music. Don’t beat yourself up over a wandering mind. That’s part of the process. Gently bring yourself back to your mantra.

Start or end your day with the Metta: The Metta or prayer for loving-kindness is a traditional Buddhist way to end a meditation. It’s a powerful meditation that is first directed inward, then extends to our loved ones, the community and world around us, and even our adversaries. It often helps me to center my thoughts on what is truly important – love and health. There are variations on the prayer, but this is how I learned it. Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and repeat:

“May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.”

Repeat and replace “I” with a loved one, group of loved ones, etc. Try it tonight and see how you feel.

P.S. I first discovered meditation at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California, but have found that there are meditation sessions happening in every neighborhood, often catering to those who can only break away for a lunch time or evening session.

P.P.S. The ladies over at No More Dirty Looks have a great conversation going on about all things meditation, mantras, affirmations, etc. If you are new to them you’ll want to bookmark their site. They literally wrote the book about clean cosmetics.

Photo credit: Estelle Hayes

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  • Danielle

    You know how much I need this….. Thx ;)

    • Torrie @ a place to share…

       me too :).

  • Megan browne

    I did a lot of meditation when I was pregnant with my hypnobirthing class and I’ve always been into it with my yoga.  Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and you can “trance out” within minutes of hearing your music or saying your mantra.  Love your photo, I’ve got the same buddha and succulents on my deck!