The Essential Guide to Meditation for Beginners
Do you ever notice your own thoughts and wonder, “Why am I worrying about this?”
The moment you become aware of your own thinking can be freeing… or alarming. Why won’t the thoughts stop? Are they running your life? Why can’t you just be present?
Many people rely on meditation to gain awareness or freedom from incessant thinking. It’s been proven to mediate stress and improve focus, along with many other benefits. If you’re looking for meditation techniques for beginners, you’ll likely find all kinds of guided meditations or suggestions to try on your own.
While many kinds of meditation may feel good or seem to help with racing thoughts, Vedic Meditation is the style anyone can learn and practice with any kind of lifestyle. You won’t need an audio track, and you don’t have to be an expert.
You don’t have to stop thinking or worry if you’re doing it wrong. Vedic Meditation is an effortless, mantra-based form of meditation that releases stress from the body and enables rest deeper than sleep– even if you have thoughts floating through your mind.
Meditation for People with Busy Minds and Schedules
If you don’t consider yourself a ‘beginner meditator’ and have tried several forms of meditation, you’ll likely have a different experience with Vedic Meditation. If you’ve struggled to be consistent or sit for longer than two minutes, it’s ok. It’s normal for the brain to resist forced stillness. With mantra-based meditation, you don’t have to force your mind to be still or meditate for half an hour or more.
This guide will give a detailed look into meditation tips for beginners, and specifically the practice of Vedic Meditation. Vedic Meditation is easy to learn and easier still to practice. If you are reading this because other techniques haven’t worked for you, or you think you’re “not good at meditating” – you’re in the right place. This practice is designed especially for you.
Where did Vedic Meditation come from?
Vedic Meditation is a mantra-based meditation practice with its roots in the Vedas. The Vedas are the ancient Indian texts which also provide the foundation for other widely used practices, including yoga and Ayurveda.
The mantras used in Vedic Meditation, along with the technique and the teachings around the Vedic worldview, have been orally passed down from teacher to student for generations.
It’s also noteworthy that the Vedas predate the organized religions we recognize today, so if you’re concerned this practice might be “too spiritual,” keep reading. Vedic Meditation is for anyone who wants to experience more ease and enjoyment in life. There is no spiritual prerequisite.
The tradition of Vedic Meditation has been passed down through centuries as an oral tradition, so you can’t buy a book or download an app to practice it. Your teacher is uniquely qualified to initiate you as a Vedic Meditator, and to assign you a mantra that will suit your needs. Vedic Meditation teachers do not receive an online certification, or show a certain number of hours meditating.
Your teacher will have spent years practicing meditation, engaging in advanced knowledge courses, and studying the mechanics of this practice so that they can best support you in your practice. All of the Vedic Meditation instructors have been through a 12-week full-time initiator training, in person in India or Arizona. The training is not like yoga teacher training or daytime classes. It’s an 18-hour-a-day immersion in meditation techniques, Vedic knowledge, a full dietary cleanse with vegetarian Ayurvedic food, and meetings with masters of the tradition.
How to Meditate for Beginners
Vedic Meditation is perhaps the simplest technique available. You don’t need a meditation app, a sacred space, or even the ability to focus your attention. You simply sit twice a day for twenty minutes repeating a wordless sound, the mantra given to you by your teacher.
Sometimes beginning meditators who have tried other practices think it’s too simple and it won’t work for them because they really can’t stay focused. The good news is, the point of Vedic Meditation is not to ‘stay focused.’ You could forget your mantra for much of your meditation time and still you’ll be able to release stress and help the body to rest. Though sometimes it may not feel like your body is deeply rested because your mind seemed so active, the thoughts that bubbled up represented stress releasing, freeing up your body to be more calm.
There are no physiological or mental health requirements to begin practicing Vedic Meditation. You only need a teacher to assign your personalized mantra and guide you in integrating the practice correctly into your life.
The technique of Vedic Meditation is taught in person over the course of four consecutive days. Before you begin your meditation course, you’ll attend what we refer to as an ‘intro talk.’ This can be done over Zoom at a time that fits easily into your schedule. The intro talk provides an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the practice before you commit to your beginner course.
“CAN’T I JUST BUY A BOOK?”
If you’ve been researching meditation, you’ve likely found books, videos, and articles showing dozens of ways to meditate. When you just want to start meditating, a shelf of meditation books for beginners can be daunting.
In order to truly integrate these practices into our daily life, it takes more than a book. You’ll learn a technique that you’ll use every day, so it will be important to have live feedback on your practice. As you start to establish a regular routine, it helps to have accountability to form a new habit and navigate the lifestyle changes. The more you are consistent with your practice, the more benefits you’ll see in various areas of your life and wellbeing.
The Value of Learning In-Person
The practice of learning Vedic Meditation requires a teacher who will take you through a simple four-day long course.After four daily 90-minute sessions, you will learn all the tools you need to be self-sufficient in your practice.
A bonus feature that many enjoy about the Learn to Meditate course is that it provides the opportunity to practice together for the first few days with other beginning meditators. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions about what you’re noticing during your meditations.
During this time together, you’ll learn how to integrate this practice into your schedule so that you can set yourself up to receive all the benefits of a simple, consistent meditation practice. Your instructor will help you adjust your lifestyle to incorporate twice daily meditations, and host check-ins with you to discuss the benefits you’re experiencing. You’ll be able to ask your questions along the way, and access Vedic Meditation teachers worldwide for further guidance.
FINDING A TEACHER YOU CONNECT WITH
Once you complete the four-day course for beginners of Vedic Meditation, you’ll be able to practice completely on your own. You may experience new sensations as you release stress, or wonder what to do when you feel too sleepy or distracted during meditation.
Whatever the reason, your teacher wants to hear from you. Not only have they been trained to assess your needs and offer perspectives from the Vedic worldview… they have also experienced this journey themselves.
This practice is for your personal benefit, so it’s important to find someone who inspires and uplifts you. Know that all teachers who have gone through in-person initiator training are fully qualified to guide you, and have been evolving their own consciousness through meditation and learning for many years.
MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS: STICK TO ONE TECHNIQUE
If you’ve taken several meditation classes for beginners and regularly practice multiple other styles, you’re welcome to continue practicing them– but not at the same time as your Vedic Meditation practice. To experience the deepest rest and stress release available in Vedic Meditation, it’s important to use only the single mantra technique for those 20 minutes twice each day.
While you can explore any other practice or technique you like, it’s recommended to practice them anytime other than during your 20 minute sittings with your Vedic Meditation mantra.
You may find that your Vedic Meditation practice makes other spiritual or mindfulness practices easier and more effective. So long as each technique is practiced on its own, you’ll find your new mantra-based practice helps you ease into others without as much stress running your mind.
Over time, you’ll find you don’t feel the need to spend hours a day working on your body, mindset, or spirituality. The steady release of stress from the body will unlock your natural sense of contentment, connection, and wellbeing on its own. You will be able to receive an advanced technique for your Vedic Meditation practice 1 year (minimum) after you start, so if you’re hungry to learn more about meditation, there are plenty of options among Vedic teachings.
RECEIVING YOUR MANTRA (DAY 1 OF LEARNING VEDIC MEDITATION)
Beginners in Vedic Meditation will start their four-day course by receiving their personalized mantra. Your course will begin with a short gratitude ceremony known as puja. You’ll bring a few items for the ceremony with you, and you can watch respectfully as your teacher opens the course. This isn’t a religious ceremony, it’s a way to honor the long oral tradition and remember the teachers who have passed down their knowledge.
After the ceremony, you’ll receive your mantra.
Your mantra is a wordless sound with no intended meaning. You’ll use it as the vehicle for transcendence during meditation. Mantra is a Sanskrit word that translates to mean ‘mind vehicle.’ Your teacher will say your mantra out loud and have you repeat it to ensure you know the sound. Then, you will practice meditating.
Only you and your initiator will know your mantra. This protects the tradition and makes your mantra special and specific to you.
Your mantra is a unique sound, not a word, which has the quality of charming your mind to transcend its endless chatter and drop you into a deep and restful state. In that place beyond thought, you can experience Being or transcendence. In the Vedic Worldview, this is the place where you’ll discover the source of all happiness and creativity.
Your mantra is the vehicle that gives you a direct path to transcend the thinking layer of the mind into quieter layers of awareness.
DAYS 2-4 OF LEARNING VEDIC MEDITATION
The following three days cover an enriching series of meditation classes for beginners, specifically geared towards getting you set up for success in your meditation practice. Days 2-4 will include lessons on meditation and the mind, which delves into the mechanics of the mind and where our thoughts and feelings come from.
You’ll also learn the physiology of stress and how to effortlessly integrate this practice into your daily life.
Often this part of the course is taken with other beginner meditators, so you’ll have the opportunity to hear questions and experiences of others. You’ll also enjoy a new community of beginning meditators you can engage with as your practice grows.
Most beginner meditators come to the practice hoping to feel less stressed and notice differences in their sense of stress and wellbeing within the first week of meditation. It’s also common that after new meditators have established their practice and are enjoying the benefits of it, they begin feeling curious about other opportunities to build on their technique. Those opportunities will be available to you when and if that time comes.
You’ll be able to attend online group meditations, go to rounding retreats, take advanced knowledge courses, and learn advanced meditation techniques– all of which will help you deepen your practice and engage further in the global Vedic Meditation community.
The best place to start is to book an Introductory Talk with me or with a teacher near you. From there, you can find a good time to take the Learn to Meditate course, and begin the process of unfolding a better, more blissful you. Learn more by checking out the latest Vedic Meditation news and frequently asked questions.