10 Best Guided Meditations for Beginners to Try in 2024

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Best Guided Meditations for Beginners. Woman meditating in the jungle

As someone new to meditation, finding the best guided meditations can feel overwhelming. With hundreds of guided meditations out there, how do you even start? This list has got you covered with the 10 best guided meditations for beginners to try as you start your meditation practice in 2024.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many types of meditation – pick one that fits your lifestyle, needs and learning curve as a beginner
  • Short 10-20 minute guided meditation sessions are perfect for busy schedules
  • Be patient with distraction – return focus gently to build “meditation stamina”
  • Feel benefits compound by establishing a consistent daily routine
  • Apps, online programs, videos, podcasts and in-person classes make guided meditation accessible for everyone
  • Let go of expectations – meet yourself where you’re at with compassion to deepen over time
  • Discover added layers of healing meditating outdoors, trying music/visualization styles etc.
  • Progress can be measured by improvements in focus, calm, connection, compassion and consciousness

1. Breathing Meditation

Breathing meditation, sometimes called mindfulness of breath, is one best meditations to try as a beginner. This breathing practice involves sitting comfortably and focusing your attention on your breath.

The goal is simply to observe each inhalation and exhalation without judgment. Every time your mind wanders (which it inevitably will as a beginner!), just gently return your focus back to your breath. Breathing meditations teach core skills like:

  • Returning to the present moment – Your breath is always here in the now, so tuning into it brings greater awareness of the present.
  • Noticing mind wandering nonjudgmentally – Each time you return to your breath you’re practicing acceptance and nonjudgment.
  • Relaxation – Use the breath to trigger physical relaxation by lowering heart rate and blood pressure.

I love short 10-minute free guided breathing meditations to start my day. The calm, centered feeling sticks with me for hours!

Tip: Try counting each breath up to 5 to stay focused if your mind wanders a lot initially.

2. Body Scan Meditation

The body scan is another simple yet powerful meditation for beginners because it cultivates greater awareness of physical sensations.

To do this practice:

  • Lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes
  • Turn your attention to physical sensations inside your body
  • Slowly scan your focus up and down from head to toe
  • Notice any feelings, tensions, aches, warmth, pulsing etc. without judgment
  • Use the rhythm of your breath to pace your internal scanning

What makes body scan meditations so grounding is they connect you more deeply with the present moment experience inside your own skin. This 10 minute guided body scan lets you tune into your body.

Tip: Body scans can be done seated too if unable to lie down!

3. Walking Meditation

Most guided meditations teach stillness by having you sit with closed eyes. But you can also cultivate mindful awareness through movement – like walking meditation!

Walking meditation offers new mindfulness benefits:

  • It gets you outdoors connecting with nature
  • The motion keeps your body energized and awake
  • It builds awareness of how movement feels within your body

To practice mindful walking:

  • Find a quiet natural area for your route
  • Stand still first, feeling your feet on the ground and breath
  • Take slow, deliberate steps, paying close attention to each sensation
  • Appreciate sights, sounds, smells and feelings as you walk calmly and quietly

I loved learning walking meditation on a forest trail near my home. Moving through nature with all my senses open sharpened my ability to anchor myself in the present.

Tip: You can adapt mindful walking to indoor treadmill sessions too!

4. Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation uses a calming sound, word, or phrase to anchor attention and deepen concentration. The mantra becomes your “point of focus” during the practice.

Traditionally yogis used ancient Sanskrit mantras. But your mantra can be anything with personal meaning that evokes peace, gratitude or other healing qualities.

A few popular mantra examples:

  • “Om”
  • “I am”
  • “Peace”
  • “Gratitude”

To practice mantra meditation:

  • Sit comfortably with eyes closed
  • Silently repeat your chosen mantra with each exhale
  • When thoughts distract you, return focus to your mantra
  • Commit to regular practice for at least 10-20 minutes

The steady repetition of my “I am” mantra has taught me patience – a key skill for any beginner! Sticking with this simple I Am mantra meditation builds the “meditation muscle” needed for more advanced practices later.

Tip: Experiment with a few different mantras until one resonates then stick with it!

5. Mindfulness Meditation

Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises by paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally.” This is the essence of mindfulness meditation.

When you learn to meditate, you anchor your attention deliberately on the richness available here and now with openness and curiosity – like your breathing, listening to birds or tasting a raisin slowly – you tap into mindfulness.

Mindful meditation helps beginners:

  • Reduce daily stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improve sleep, mood, focus and emotional regulation
  • Cultivate appreciation and connection with the present

From the hundreds of free online guided mindfulness meditations I most enjoy 10-minute sessions out in nature. Pausing amidst trees and sunlight guides me effortlessly into being fully present.

Tip: Anchor your mindfulness practice with cues in your daily routine – like pausing before eating lunch mindfully.

6. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-kindness meditation taps into the innate power of compassion. Rather than fixating on what’s wrong, you cultivate empathy, warmth and care for yourself and others through kind intentions.

Here’s how to practice loving-kindness meditation:

  • Sit comfortably and relax your body
  • Center your attention on your heart
  • Silently repeat caring phrases of compassion
  • Start by directing the intentions towards yourself
  • Then expand the field of compassion to include loved ones, neutral people, difficult people and finally out to all people everywhere

Feeling lonely or critical towards myself, I was touched by the power of loving-kindness meditation to soothe my deepest pain. Charting the way to genuine self-love with wisdom and patience is healing.

Tip: Express the intentions in your own most sincere vocabulary – like imagining being hugged gently if “May you feel safe and loved” doesn’t resonate for you.

7. Visualization Meditation

Visualization meditations guide you to imagine scenes that evoke specific states – like walking through a peaceful forest to feel calm or picturing your body filled with warm light to feel nurtured.

Creative visualization has powerful psychophysiological effects. Athletes, for example, report increased confidence and performance when visualizing future success. Studies even indicate visualization boosts immunity.

To stimulate the relaxation response with visualization meditation try this simple practice:

  • Sit comfortably with eyes closed
  • Picture your favorite peaceful nature setting – a beach, green valley, quiet lake etc.
  • Explore the landscape in your mind while maintaining relaxed steady breathing
  • Engage all your senses to make the visualization immersive and healing

After anxiously tossing and turning one sleepless night I played this 10 minute beach visualization meditation. Navigating the sandy shore and crashing waves soon had me drifting into deep restorative sleep.

Tip: Tailor the meditation to your desired state – visualizing drinking warm cocoa can ease anxiety while picturing your dream job manifests clarity and motivation!

8. Music Meditation

Music speaks directly to our emotions making it a powerful meditation aid for beginners. Choosing tracks with calming instrumental sounds – like solo piano, strings, synth and acoustic guitar – offers an effortless pathway to serenity.

Here are scientifically validated ways music enhances meditation:

  • Slow tempo compositions synchronize breath and heart rates to relax the body
  • Soothing instrumental timbres elicit the relaxation response quieting the mind
  • Uplifting melodies release feel-good neurochemicals like serotonin improving mood

I created a playlist of my favorite neoclassical and ambient songs with soft emotional melodies but no lyrics to get lost in. Listening while deep breathing fills me with relaxation and joy.

Tip: Nature sounds like rain, ocean waves or singing bowls make peaceful ambient meditation music too!

9. Chakra Meditation

The seven chakras in meditation traditions represent connected energy centers running vertically through the body that influence physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Specific meditations can energize and balance each chakra.

  • Root chakra – Feel grounded and safe
  • Sacral chakra – Express emotions and passions
  • Solar plexus – Build confidence and willpower
  • Heart chakra – Cultivate love and compassion
  • Throat chakra – Speak authentically
  • Third eye – Gain wisdom and insight
  • Crown – Connect to the divine

There are many great guided meditations that lead you to tune into each in turn. I recommend this 20 minute chakra meditation for beginners. Sensing vibrant color frequencies flowing through my energetic body always leaves me feeling rejuvenated and aligned.

Tip: Bring balance by focusing chakra meditations on energy centers that feel dull or congested rather than overcharged.

10. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation popularized by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi involves silently repeating a Sanskrit mantra for 15-20 minutes twice daily. What’s unique is your mantra – or mantras if you become advanced – get assigned by a certified TM teacher based on ancient Vedic tradition.

TM helps beginners by:

  • Effortlessly settling the mind without needing to control thoughts
  • Allowing your nervous system to rest deeply
  • Naturally accessing heightened states of consciousness

I took the training last year and can attest that the tailored mantras create a smooth slide into profoundly calm and expanded awareness. The commitment to consistency also unlocks exponential wellness benefits of meditation over time.

The only barrier for beginners with TM is cost given the certification process. But used consistently Transcendental meditation can take your practice to deeper levels of consciousness with less effort.

Tip: Ask about sliding scale fees from your local TM center and incorporate TM group meditations too for added community support.

Find Your Perfect Beginner Meditation

Starting a meditation practice when you’re just beginning can seem difficult. But choosing an accessible guided meditation attuned to your needs makes establishing a nourishing routine easy.

As the new year unfolds, commit to trying one new meditation per month from the diverse styles outlined here. Or sample them all – each offers distinct healing benefits for mind, body and spirit at your own pace.

Whichever you pick have patience. Like learning any instrument, meditation takes practice. As you strengthen concentration and awareness over time you’ll notice everyday life feels more relaxed, inspired and connected.

FAQ on Best Guided Meditations for Beginners

Q: How can a beginner start meditating?

A: If you’re brand new to the practice, start with a simple meditation technique. Find a quiet place, get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. It’s important to remember that it’s a practice, and it’s normal to get distracted. Over time, with regular meditation, you’ll get better at maintaining your focus.

Q: What is the best meditation app for beginners to learn?

A: One of the best and most popular apps great for beginners is the Headspace app. This mindfulness meditation mobile app helps beginners make meditation a habit. It provides guided meditations, some of which are free, and has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for beginners to learn.

Q: What is the best free online guided meditation?

A: There are many free online guided meditations available, especially for beginners. The best free one would depend on what you’re looking for in a meditation. However, beginners commonly start with Headspace, which offers several free guided meditations.

Q: What is the best meditation technique for beginners?

A: Mindfulness meditation is one of the simplest techniques and is great for beginners. It involves focusing your attention on your breath and observing your thoughts without judgment. Other options can include guided imagery or body scan meditations, which can also be helpful for new meditators.

Q: How can meditation help reduce stress?

A: Regular meditation practice can help reduce stress by calming the mind and relaxing the body. Many meditation practices involve deep breathing, which can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, promoting relaxation. Additionally, mindfulness meditation may promote metacognitive awareness, helping you tackle stress from a different perspective.

Q: Can I learn to meditate with a meditation app?

A: Absolutely, a good meditation app can provide step by step guidance for beginners. They include various guided meditations and also often provide tips and reminders which can help to make meditation a habit.

Q: Are there benefits of meditation for beginners?

A: Yes, even beginners can experience benefits from starting to meditate particularly reduce stress, increased focus, and more positivity. Regular meditation practice, even as a beginner, can make a significant difference in your mental and physical health.

Q: How often should a beginner meditate?

A: If you’re brand new to meditation, start with just a few minutes each day. As you get more comfortable with the practice, try to gradually extend your sessions to 15-20 minutes. Some people find that meditating once or twice a day works best for them. Remember, it’s more important to make meditation a regular habit than to meditate for longer periods of time.

Q: Is it necessary to use a meditation app to start meditating?

A: While a meditation app can help guide a beginner and provide a structured introduction to the practice, it’s not necessary. Many people learn to meditate successfully using books or online resources. However, a meditation app can add convenience and structure, which is particularly beneficial to beginners.

Q: Can meditation apps help in mindfulness and meditation?

A: Yes, meditation apps can provide convenient and effective meditation guidance suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. They can help guide you to become more mindful and incorporate regular meditation into your daily routine, which can be particularly useful if you’re new to the practice.

 

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