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How to Start Meditating: 5 Basic Steps for Meditation

You’ve been wanting to start meditating but don’t really know how? This article provides you with the 5 basic steps for meditation that will definitely make it easier to start and keep up your meditation practice!

The dictionary defines meditation as “the practice of focusing your mind in silence, especially for [spiritual] reasons or in order to make your mind calm”.

But I’ll be honest with you. It doesn’t have to be so clinical. Ultimately, almost any activity can become “meditative”. It simply requires your presence in the moment and your full attention on your body, breath, and surroundings. Keep reading to find out about the 5 basic steps for meditation.

Join my easy, guided 3-day Meditation Challenge and put these 5 steps into practice!

Image showing a beach at sunset with the copy underneath: Meditation: the practice of focusing your mind
Meditation: the practice of focusing your mind

Now, ‘focusing on one thing’ is easier said than done, though, isn’t? When was the last time you waited for a bus without checking your phone meanwhile? When was the last time you had a quiet meal – without any distractions; no phone, no TV, no magazine, book, or anything? When was the last time you went for a walk, just to go for a walk – not to walk your dog, not to get to the supermarket, not even to meet up with friends and chat?

You get it. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Meditation isn’t all that hard. It’s our ego that gets in the way. Meditation just goes against everything our fast-paced society teaches us: don’t waste time, be productive, check off your to do list, work more. The hard part is getting out of our heads, out of societal expectations, and feelings of guilt. ‘Cause really – who of us has time to spare to just sit down and ‘do nothing’?

A lot of us, when we first embark on a meditation journey, might feel restless. Instead of quieting our thoughts, we might think “What am I even doing here?”, “I don’t have time for this” or “Oh, I cannot forget to buy toilet paper on the way home”. Let me tell you what! It’s ok. You committing to starting a meditation practice, you showing up and actually giving it a try is the hardest part. And since you are here, reading this, you are already doing great. Check out below the 5 basic steps for meditation and you’ll be way on your way to finding sparkles, daily ✨

The other good news: meditation doesn’t necessarily have to mean sitting somewhere in silence for 1 hour without a single thought plopping into your mind. There are different types of meditation, allowing you to find the one that suits you. Some popular forms of meditation are – for example – breath-based meditation, visualisation practices, mantra meditations or other mindfulness practices.

Today I’d like to share with you 5 basic steps for meditation that have helped me in finally stick to a meditation practice.

Step 1: Prepare

Preparing yourself, your space and your time can really help in the beginning. Yes – in theory you should be able to sit in a busy shopping mall and still be able to focus on your meditation. But let’s get real: we are just starting out and creating a new habit is tough enough, so let’s make it as easy and enjoyable for ourselves as possible 😊 right?

Find yourself a space in your home in which you can ideally be undisturbed. If you like incense, Palo santo, or scented candles, feel free to create an aromatic aura for your meditation. Remove obvious distractions – turn off the TV or your work phone, keep the door closed. Make sure to be seated comfortably. Have a bolster or cushion handy. Maybe place blocks under the knees for support.

You should be relatively comfortable for your meditation without totally slouching. Sit upright, with your spine straight, shoulders back and chin parallel to the floor. Feel the crown of your head reaching up and your hips rooting down. Let your hands rest on your thighs – palms up or down. Be comfortably upright without being stiff or rigid.

An image showing burning incense: Step 1 of 5 basic steps for meditation: prepare
Step 1 of 5 basic steps for meditation: prepare

Step 2: Goal setting

As part of your preparation in the 5 basic steps for meditation, goal setting can be important. First of all, I recommend setting a goal for starting a meditation practice itself. A goal based around the idea of, “This year I will start meditating”. However, it is usually recommendable to formulate your goals more specifically, i.e. SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

So, instead of saying, “This year I will start meditating”, you could make it SMART by adding the respective parametres. Your goal could then read: “I will start meditating every morning for at least 5 minutes, starting tomorrow until the end of the year”. Now you know exactly what to do. It is a set me-time appointment in your calendar.

The second, smaller goal could be set for your individual meditation practices and revolve around the specific time that you want to meditate that day. Keep in mind to make your goal ‘realistic’ and ‘achievable’. If you know that you will not get through 30 minutes, start with 5 minutes. It’s ok. But really commit to your 5-minute goal. Set your phone timer with a pleasant tune and don’t come out of your practice before the timer is up.

Step 3: Breathe

Alright, you’ve done all that – well done! You’ve gone through the hard part of formulating a goal, committing to your meditation practice, and preparing your space. You’re comfortably sitting on your cushion with your timer set for 5 minutes. Now what?


Yup. Just that. Start to actually notice your breath. By doing so, you automatically focus your mind’s attention on one object and help it to quieten. Start noticing each separate inhale and exhale. Observe what happens in your body as you inhale: your lungs fill up, the chest rises, the belly inflates. Then follow your breath as you exhale: the belly deflates, the breath leaves the lungs, and your chest slowly falls into place.

There is no needs to control your breath, although I find it really helps me focus. As you become more aware of your breath, experiment with breathing a little deeper, filling the lungs a little bit more, and also exhaling more fully. Notice the difference in your body and emotional state as you do. Now keep going.

A neon sign reading "breathe". Just breathe: step 3 of 5 basic steps for meditation
Just breathe: step 3 of 5 basic steps for meditation

Step 4: Be kind

Okay. You’re doing great, breathing, focusing, following these 5 basic steps for meditation. And then, all of a sudden, the reminder to buy toilet paper pops back into your head. Followed by the thought of what else you wanted to get at the shops. And before you even realise it, your head is creating a mental shopping list.

At this point you sense yourself losing focus of the breath. Maybe you feel frustrated. But it’s ok. Really. You’ve caught yourself drifting off – that, right there, is progress! Catch the thought, then let it move on. Return to your breath. In through the nose, and out. Repeat.

Be kind to yourself and take the pressure off. This meditation practice is there to support you. It’s non-judgmental. Yes, it is one of your daily goals – but it should not become another ‘to do’ that you tick off. Find enjoyment and ease within your practice. And remember, it is just that: a practice. We will – most likely for most of us – never perfectly master our minds and ego. And that is also okay. But it is a tool to help us slow down, connect more with ourselves, and maybe along the way develop a greater sense of calmness, peace, and serenity.

Step 5: Keep going

As mundane and cliché as this might sound, it is so true. Whatever happens or life throws at you, keep going with this goal you set for yourself – to better yourself and your life quality. You missed yesterday’s meditation because a meeting got pushed in at work? It’s ok. Return today. You’re too frustrated today and your mind seems to be jumping around more than usual? It’s okay, too. Come back to the breath as many times as it takes. Just keep going.

An image showing the sunrise.
Just. Keep. Going. You got this!

You are stronger than you think you are. Just return to these 5 basic steps for meditation whenever you need, whenever you feel yourself drifting. And if you have made it this far, I truly believe that you have the stamina, dedication, and inner strength to do this and to keep going!

If you want some guidance for the start, join my free 3-day Meditation Challenge here!

Keep going,

Keep sparkling ✨

Kim Carolina

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