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Meditation: Tips for Beginners

Lower your stress level with an age-old method: breathing. "Meditating can help us relate to everything else in our experience with greater skill, greater compassion, and greater ease," says Boston yoga and meditation instructor Joshua Summers. These tips will get you started.

Tips for Beginners
Start Slowly
If you'd like to meditate but feel you don't have time, start with one minute a day, says Summers. "The amount of time itself is somewhat irrelevant. The key is to start with something manageable and build on that. No one can really say, 'I can't find a single minute.'" After a week, add another minute, and keep adding a minute every week. In 20 weeks, you'll be sitting for 20 minutes; in a year, almost an hour.

Be Consistent
Meditation requires consistency, being there whether you want to or not. You'll have days when you just don't feel like it, but that's precisely the time you should get on the cushion to observe and work with your resistance, says Summers. "There are great lessons within the resistance." Meditating at the same time every day may also help solidify your practice.

Go Easy on Yourself
Let go of the idea that the goal of meditation is to stop thinking. "If you go in with that agenda, you're in for a lot of frustration," says Summers. The experience of meditation is different for everyone. The point isn't not to think; it's to be aware of your thoughts and learn to let them be.

Get a Group
Sitting with other meditators at least once a week can fuel your practice. "There is something supportive about the group dynamic that helps to hold you in the environment," says Summers.
Here and there, I found the elusive present, listening to my breath as if it were the only thing that mattered.

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