For many people, starting to meditate can be challenging, but here, we explain how to get started:
(1) Find a comfortable space and sit. If you are sitting in a chair, just ensure your spine is straight, and the soles of your feet touch the floor completely. If sitting on a cushion, or at the edge of a yoga block with your legs crossed, try and have a little height behind you, so your hips are slightly higher, and your legs are crossed at a slight downward angle; this can be more comfortable than sitting "flat" to the floor and cross legged.
(2) Set aside a time when you know you can sit without interruption, even if this is only for 5 minutes a day to start with.
(3) Pick a meditation that suits you, and how you are feeling. If you want to start with some easy and short guided meditations, then some excellent free meditations that take you through everything, with simple steps and relaxing voices can be found on the UCLA website (the University of California and Los Angeles has a dedicated meditation centre, so are experts at this). Guided meditation can be really great when you're starting out, as for many, just sitting quietly with their own thoughts is a little too challenging - a soothing voice can be a great support.
(4) Understand that some days will be tougher than others, that some days you might only be able to sit for a short time, and that some days you may not be able to calm your mind and focus at all; if so, resolve to try again the next day.
(5) Use local groups and workshops to get advice and support, such as the “Introduction to Meditation and Mindfulness” workshops which I run (see "Events" on this website for more details).
(6) Once you've started.....keep going! View this as your first step on a long, exciting and rewarding journey. Keep reminding yourself why you started meditation, and what you want to achieve.