Walkthrough Meditation: A Beginner's Guide

how to do a walkthrough meditation

Meditation has been practised for thousands of years, and its benefits are far-reaching and long-lasting. It can help to lower stress levels, improve focus, and connect us with our pain and ourselves. It can be approached like going to the gym—you go to the gym to strengthen your muscles and keep your body in shape, and you meditate to strengthen your mind and keep it in good shape.

There are many different types of meditation, but one of the most accessible, well-rounded, and easiest types of meditation for beginners is mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation involves focusing on the breath and observing wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind without judgement.

1. Find a quiet spot where you can remain undisturbed for 10 minutes. With time, you will be able to meditate anywhere.

2. Set a timer for 10 minutes.

3. Find a comfortable seat or place a cushion or mat on the floor. Ensure your back is straight and upright, and relax your posture. Place your hands in your lap.

4. Take a few deep breaths. In through the nose, and out through the mouth.

5. Close your eyes.

6. Bring your attention to the physical points of contact. Notice your legs, arms, hands, back, and feet.

7. Notice the sounds, space, temperature, and any tingling sensations around you.

8. Focus your attention on your breathing. Notice the rising and falling sensation of each breath.

9. To help maintain your focus, count each breath. Count each inhalation and exhalation until you reach 10, and then start again from 1. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath and start the count again.

10. Your mind will wander, and that's fine. Whenever you notice yourself getting lost in thought, gently guide your attention back to your breath.

11. Gently return your attention to your body. Notice the physical points of contact again.

12. Release your focus and allow your mind to wander.

13. Gently open your eyes and notice how you feel.

Congratulations! You've just completed your first meditation session.

Characteristics Values
Time 5-20 minutes
Posture Sit upright in a chair, with hands resting in your lap or on your knees
Eyes Closed or gazing softly into the middle distance
Breathing In through the nose and out through the mouth
Attention On the breath and the body
Thoughts Observe without judgement

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Find a quiet spot

Finding a quiet spot is the first step to beginning your meditation journey. It is important to find a place where you can be alone and undisturbed for 10 minutes. With time, you will be able to meditate anywhere, but for beginners, it is best to find a quiet spot to help you focus on your practice without distractions.

The ideal spot should be calm and quiet, and you should be able to sit comfortably, either in a chair or on a cushion or mat on the floor. Your back should be straight, but your posture should be relaxed. You can rest your hands in your lap or on your knees. If you are sitting on a chair, your feet should be flat on the floor. If you are sitting on a cushion or mat, you can sit cross-legged or in any other position that feels comfortable for you. The most important thing is that you feel stable and are able to remain in this position for the duration of your meditation practice.

Once you have found your quiet spot and are seated comfortably, you can begin to defocus your eyes and gently gaze into the middle distance. Take a few deep breaths, and on the last exhalation, close your eyes gently. Now you are ready to begin your meditation practice.

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Set a time limit

Setting a time limit for your meditation practice is important, especially for beginners. When you are just starting out, it is helpful to choose a short time, such as five or ten minutes. This allows you to build up your meditation practice slowly and find a time length that works for you.

You can use a timer or alarm for your meditation practice. If you are meditating for 10 or 20 minutes, you might want to set an interval bell or a gentle noise, like a soft bell or chime, to notify you that you are halfway through the practice. This can help the session feel less long and leave you feeling less restless.

As you get into your meditation routine, you can start to add one minute to your practice each week until you reach your desired time. It is important to be patient with yourself and your progress. Treat your meditation practice as an experiment and be kind to your wandering mind.

The key to success with meditation is not necessarily the length of time you spend meditating, but rather your commitment to practising consistently, even if it is just for five minutes a day.

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Notice your body

Now that you have found a quiet spot, set a timer, and are comfortably seated, it's time to bring your attention to your body.

First, notice the physical points of contact. Observe your legs resting on the chair or on the floor. Notice your arms and hands resting in your lap. Feel the weight of your arms and hands resting on your legs. Notice your back against the chair.

Notice the sensations where your body touches the chair and your feet meet the ground. Notice any tingling sensations. Focus your attention on the physical for the next few minutes.

Gently observe your posture, and scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Don't try to change what you find, simply take note of it. Scan again, and this time, notice which parts of the body feel relaxed.

Take about 20 seconds for each scan. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly.

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Feel your breath

Now, bring your attention to your breathing. Don't try to alter it, just observe the rising and falling sensation that it creates in your body. Notice where you feel these sensations – perhaps in your belly, chest, shoulders, or somewhere else.

For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath. Is it deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow?

Begin to silently count your breaths. Count 'one' as you inhale, 'two' as you exhale, 'three' on the next inhalation, and so on, up to 'ten'. Then start again at 'one'.

It's completely normal for thoughts to bubble up during this process. You don't need to 'do' anything – just gently guide your attention back to your breath when you realise your mind has wandered off. If you can remember the number you'd counted up to, start again from there, or simply start from 'one' again.

Don't rush the breathing and just allow it to continue at its own pace and rhythm. Continue until the timer sounds.

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Observe when your mind wanders

Observing when your mind wanders is an important part of meditation. It is inevitable that your mind will wander during meditation, and this is completely normal. In fact, it is an opportunity to bring patience and gentle curiosity to your practice.

When you notice your mind wandering, gently congratulate yourself for becoming aware of your experience in the moment. You may want to briefly acknowledge where your mind has been, before escorting your awareness back to your breath.

It is important to be kind to your wandering mind. You can do this by bringing a quality of kindliness to your awareness, perhaps by seeing the repeated wanderings of your mind as opportunities to cultivate patience and curiosity.

If you are meditating while walking, you can use the rhythm of your gait as your base of awareness, a place to mentally return to when your mind wanders off.

Remember, meditation is not about fixing or controlling your breath. Simply let the breath breathe itself, and allow your experience to be your experience.

Frequently asked questions

The easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath.

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point, such as following the breath, repeating a mantra, or staring at a candle flame.

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts without judgement and to be aware of each mental note as it arises.

There are various other meditation techniques, such as moving meditation techniques (e.g. tai chi, qigong, walking meditation) and compassion-based meditation.

Benefits of meditation include lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, slower respiratory rate, lower blood cortisol levels, and increased feelings of well-being.

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