Discover the Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners to Start Meditating




Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners. Woman meditating on beach with birds in the background.

I used to think meditation was all about “emptying your mind” and sitting still for hours. As someone with a busy schedule and wandering thoughts, that seemed impossible! However, I’ve since discovered there are many simple yet powerful meditation techniques that even beginners like me can start practicing right away. In this article, I’ll share the 11 best meditation techniques for beginners I’ve tried that have helped me reduce stress, increase focus, and become more mindful of my daily meditations.

I’ll also provide actionable tips and personal examples to help you start meditating in an approachable way. So whether you think you “can’t meditate” or have tried and struggled in the past, read on to find a technique that resonates with you. With an open mind and a little practice, you’ll be well on your way to incorporating this transformative practice into your life!

Key Takeaways

  • Breath awareness meditation trains you to pay attention to your breathing and return to the present moment.
  • Body scan meditation promotes deep relaxation by slowly and systematically scanning your body.
  • Walking meditation anchors you in mindfulness while gently moving.
  • Mantra meditation involves silently repeating a phrase to calm and focus the mind.
  • Loving-kindness meditation centers on wishing wellness, happiness, and peace upon yourself and others.
  • Guided imagery meditation uses visualization of soothing scenes to relax and refocus.
  • Mindfulness meditation builds awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present.
  • Movement meditation mindfully links physical postures to anchor in the body.
  • Sound meditation facilitates focus and calm by listening to instruments’ sustained tones.
  • Visualization meditation is envisioning desired goals and outcomes as already achieved.
  • Transcendental meditation repeats a personal mantra silently to settle into a deeply tranquil state.

1. Breath Awareness Meditation

The most basic yet essential beginner meditation technique is breath awareness. This simple practice involves focusing your attention on your breath, noticing how it feels as it flows in and out.

How to Practice

To begin, find a comfortable seated position with your spine upright and correct posture. Gently close your eyes and bring your awareness to the physical sensations of each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to where you feel your breath most strongly, whether it’s at your nostrils, chest, or belly. Try counting each breath cycle up to 10, then starting back at 1 again. When thoughts inevitably arise, gently return your attention back to your breath. Aim to stay focused on your breathing for 5-10 minutes as you start out. Over time and with practice, you can increase the duration.

TIP: Label each inhale as “In” and exhale as “Out” to keep your mind focused when it wanders.

I like doing this meditation first thing in the morning to ground me in the present moment before getting caught up in my daily to-dos. The simple act of tuning into physical sensations helps me feel more centered, calm, and ready to take on the day mindfully.


“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller BrainyQuote

As an example, it is essential to understand that meditation is not about doing nothing, but rather about creating space for your thoughts and emotions to arise and pass without attaching any judgment or meaning to them. 

2. Body Scan Meditation

Body scan meditation promotes relaxation and body awareness as you systematically pay attention to different parts of your body.

How to Practice

Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Close your eyes and bring attention to your feet and toes, noticing any sensations without judging them. Slowly “scan” up your body, paying attention to each body part for 30 seconds or so as you move up. When you reach the top of your head, reverse direction back down to your hands and feet. 

If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the part of your body you’re scanning and let go of all other things. I like doing this meditation when I’m feeling tense or restless. It helps me identify where I’m holding stress so I can consciously relax everything in those areas. Slowly scanning and “observing” my body is deeply calming and a nice reset any time of day.

3. Walking Meditation

Walking meditation allows movement while cultivating mindfulness as you pay close attention to the physical sensations of walking.

How to Practice

Find a quiet, peaceful area 10-15 steps long where you can walk slowly back and forth undisturbed. Stand still for a minute, feeling your weight on your feet and the ground beneath you. When ready, take a step forward, going slowly and paying close attention to each subtle sensation as you lift, move, and place your foot with full awareness. Repeat on your other side. 

Continue for 5-15 minutes. I discovered walking meditation on a nature trail near my home. Focusing on the vivid sights, sounds, and feelings of walking through the woods anchored me in the present moment. It felt rejuvenating to move mindfully through nature.

One simple meditation technique for beginners is to focus on your breaths, allowing your mind to settle as you observe the rhythm of each inhale and exhale.

4. Mantra Meditation

In mantra meditation, you repeat a phrase or “mantra” in your mind to give your attention a focal point, allowing thoughts and distractions to gently fade into the background.

How to Practice

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and choose a simple mantra like “peace,” “let go,” “I am home,” or “om.” In your mind, begin silently repeating the mantra with intention. If thoughts arise, return to silently repeating your mantra. Set a timer for 5 minutes. When it goes off, sit for a minute or so allowing the mantra to fade before opening your eyes. Repeat daily, increasing the time as it gets easier. The first time I tried mantra meditation, I chose “let go.” It felt powerful to repeat this phrase, as if I were releasing stressful thoughts. Mantras help me tune out distractions and feel tranquil.

5. Loving-Kindness Meditation

Also known as metta meditation, this practice fosters compassion toward yourself and others by silently repeating positive phrases.

How to Practice

Sit comfortably and think of a loved one. Silently repeat phrases like “May you be happy,” “May you be peaceful,” and “May you be free from suffering.” Next, bring someone neutral to mind and repeat the same phrases. Then do the same for an “enemy” or someone you have conflict with. Lastly, wish those phrases upon yourself. I’ll admit — that when I first tried loving-kindness meditation, I found it challenging to genuinely wish happiness upon someone I disliked. But this practice has helped me cultivate more patience, empathy, and care for all people.

6. Guided Imagery Meditation

This meditation guides you to envision detailed scenes using all your senses to promote relaxation.

How to Practice

Make yourself comfortable sitting or lying down without distractions. Close your eyes and choose a soothing natural setting like a beach, forest, or grassy meadow. Imagine the details — sights, textures, smells, sounds, etc. Engage all your senses to visualize being there. If your mind wanders, gently refocus on the imagined scene. I like doing this guided meditation when I want to transport myself somewhere peaceful. Envisioning all the vivid details of breathing ocean air and listening to waves crashing makes me feel immersed, present, and calm. It’s a nice mental escape.

7. Mindfulness Meditation

This research-backed meditation builds present moment awareness by training your brain to focus and redirect attention.

How to Practice

Get comfortable and close your eyes. Bring full attention to bodily sensations, thoughts, sounds, or your breath. When your mind wanders, gently return focus to the present moment, cultivating a state of tranquility by observing without judgment. Just keep returning attention to the present. Start with 5-10 minutes. Studies show mindfulness meditation boosts concentration, emotional regulation, and even brain gray matter density. When I feel distracted or overwhelmed, taking 10 minutes to tune into the present without judgment helps me recenter.

8. Movement Meditation

Whether it’s walking, yoga, Tai Chi, or dancing, mindful movement is something that anchors your awareness in your body’s sensations as you flow from one position to the next.

How to Practice

Choose a movement meditation practice and find a quiet space. As you transition between positions, focus attention on your breath and physical sensations. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your body. I’ve found that mindfully practicing yoga helps me better connect with and listen to my body. Moving slowly with focused awareness makes me feel more centered and “in tune” with myself.

9. Sound Meditation

Listening to instruments like singing bowls, chimes, or gongs helps calm the mind by giving it a focal point beyond thoughts.

How to Practice

Get comfortable without distractions and close your eyes. Play a “meditation bowl” or other instrument with a sustained, resonant tone. Breathe deeply and focus all your attention on the sound until it fades away. Repeat if you’d like. The first time I tried sound meditation, I was amazed by how quickly my mind calmed down and my emotions settled simply listening to a singing bowl tone. It captured my attention in an effortless way that felt soothing.

10. Visualization Meditation

Visualization Meditation.  Woman in a beautiful field of flowers and trees.

Also called creative visualization, this meditation helps you envision goals, dreams, or experience desires as already manifested.

How to Practice

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and think of a goal (ex., dream home, trip, career milestone, etc.). Picture yourself already achieving it — Where are you? What does it look/feel like? Engage all your senses. If thoughts intrude, refocus on the vivid details. Many high-performing athletes, celebrities, and executives practice visualization meditation to actualize goals and boost motivation, clarity, and confidence. After visualizing publishing my book, I felt more inspired pursuing that dream!

11. Transcendental Meditation

This popular, mantra-based practice allows your mind to settle into a calm, focused state so deep rest and rejuvenation can occur.

How to Practice

Sit comfortably with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day. Silently repeat your personal mantra with intention to help settle scattered thoughts. Let go of distractions each time they arise to return to your mantra.

  • Transcendental meditation requires professional guidance to receive your unique mantra during an initial training session. Fees apply for lifelong follow-up and support.

Transcendental meditation is rooted in ancient Vedic traditions from India but has become a widespread practice. Studies show it helps reduce anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and more. It can facilitate a deeply tranquil meditative state.

TIP: Try the free UCLA Mindful App for beginner meditations!

Now that you’ve learned 11 meditation styles to try as a beginner, explore what resonates. Don’t overthink it or expect fireworks right away. Just sit, breathe, and return your wandering attention again and again. With practice over time, the benefits will unfold.

Conclusion on Beginner Meditation Techniques

Incorporating meditation into your life can seem intimidating as a beginner, but I hope this article helped unveil its simplicity. Start where you are, even if it’s just two minutes of focusing on your breath or listening to a singing bowl. Experiment with different techniques without judgment to find what suits you. Over time, the practice will become more comfortable. Just like building physical muscles, training your attention takes consistency — so try to meditate daily.

As someone who thought I “couldn’t meditate,” I’m now a regular practitioner. By starting small, listening to my body, and returning to the present moment again and again, I’ve found inner stillness and clarity that permeates the other areas of my life. Give meditation an honest try and stick with it. In this busy modern world, carving out mindful moments to check in with yourself is a game-changer and lifelong skill. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. I hope these tips help you get started! Here’s to more peace and purpose on your path ahead.

FAQ on Best Meditation Techniques for Beginners

Q: I am new to meditation, how can I learn how to meditate effectively?

A: That’s a great starting point! You can start by practicing simple meditation techniques which involve focusing on your breath, a phrase (mantra), or the sensations in your body. Guided meditation for beginners is also an excellent way to start. Remember, it’s a great journey and the purpose of meditation is not to control your thoughts and feelings but to better understand and engage with them.

Q: What type of meditation is best for a beginner like me?

A: There are many meditation techniques beginners can start with. Mindfulness meditation is an effective form of meditation for beginners as it involves training the mind to focus on the present moment. Guided meditation is another beginner-friendly type as it provides a guide to meditation, helping you learn the basics while being led by a skilled meditator.

Q: How can a beginner start meditating for better sleep?

A: If you’re looking to improve your sleep quality, you may want to try body scan or progressive relaxation. These techniques involve focusing on various parts of the body to relax and unwind. Also, practicing meditation for a short period before bedtime can help. Regular meditation practice, besides improving sleep, is also beneficial for your overall mental and physical health.

Q: Can you recommend any quick meditation techniques for beginners?

A: Certainly! There are many quick meditation techniques suited to your busy schedule. You can try breathing exercises that will only take a few minutes. Mindfulness is another technique that can be practiced anywhere, while going about your daily routine. And if you’re still unsure, don’t worry – guided meditations are available in various lengths to accommodate your needs.

Q: What’s the typical length of a beginner’s meditation session?

A: When you’re just starting to meditate, short sessions are the best. A beginner’s meditation session might be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. As you become more comfortable, you could gradually extend your sessions to 20 minutes or more. However, there’s no specific “right or wrong” session length. It’s more important to maintain a regular meditation practice.

Q: I struggle to quiet my mind while meditating. Do you have any meditation tips for beginners dealing with this?

A: Many beginners worry about this, but meditation isn’t about silencing the mind. Instead, we’re learning how to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgement. It’s normal for the mind to wander during meditation – when this happens, simply notice it and gently guide your focus back to the object of your meditation, whether it be your breath or a mantra.

Q: How can guided meditation assist beginners to start meditating?

A: Guided meditation for beginners can be an invaluable tool. In a guided session, a meditator takes you through the steps of the meditation, allowing you to follow along without having to worry about what to do next. This can be particularly beneficial for beginners as it provides a clear guide to meditation, reducing the chances of getting distracted and reducing stress about doing it “right”.

Q: Can anyone learn how to meditate, regardless of age or health condition?

A: Absolutely! One of the biggest advantages of meditation is that it’s universally accessible. Regardless of your age or physical health, you can begin a simple meditation practice. Some techniques, such as mindfulness of breathing or body scan, can be adapted to fit your circumstances. Always listen to your body and adapt your session as necessary.

Q: Do I need special equipment to start meditating?

A: Not really. The most important ‘equipment’ you need is a quiet and comfortable space where you won’t be interrupted. Other than that, you might find a meditation app or preset guided meditation helpful. Some individuals find extra comfort using a meditation cushion or chair, but these are optional.

Q: Is it normal to feel like I’m not making progress when I begin meditating?

A: Yes, it’s completely normal and you’re not alone. Remember that meditation isn’t about achieving a particular state of mind. Rather, it’s about maintaining awareness and learning to accept your thoughts and feelings as they are. Progress in meditation is often subtle and occurs over time. Keep practicing daily, and eventually, you will begin to feel the changes.