Meditation, for Beginners
“Everything that is happening physically is a manifestation of what’s happening spiritually,” local yoga practitioner and wellness influencer Jazmin Porter says. To tap into her level of mindfulness, we asked Porter to guide us through how we can better use our brains to manifest all the good things.
What is meditation? “It’s like learning where your restart button is,” says Porter. Whether your aim is to destress, heal, or seek more abundance or enlightenment in life, there’s an array of meditation styles out there to try (mindfulness, transcendental, cellular-guided, and then some). “It’s like trying on new shoes. Which fits well?” There’s no wrong answer, Porter says.
Whichever you pick, find a comfortable seated position and try just three to five minutes to start. “Sitting with yourself, using your breath, and not trying to force the thoughts out of your mind,” says Porter, though the aim is trying to quiet the mind.
Over time, she says, “You’ll be able to increase the amount of time you can go within. You’ll find a different depth and connection to yourself.” And don’t fret if your first session gets hijacked by your own pesky brain. “All this stuff comes up in your head, like ‘Oh, wait. Did I turn off the stove?’ Coming back to the breath is how you escape that.”
Delve into the art of breathing.
Breath is the unsung hero of our day-to-day lives. “It’s something we take for granted. We ignore it,” says Porter. But in the world of meditation and healing? “Breath work is a tool we use to bring people back into their body and out of their head.”
Bringing awareness to the breath—deepening it, sipping in more at the top, pulling navel to spine—can quiet the mind. And a regular daily breath practice has even been found to aid in muscle recovery and improved cardio for athletes. Start with a four-part breath—a deep inhale on a four-count, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and “sitting in that empty space,” as Porter calls it, for (you got it) four counts. “It’s really simple and anybody can do it.”
Create your Zen zone.
“Our society is about fitting into the box. Meditation is the opposite. Build the box around yourself, in whatever shape you want to, whatever size you want to.” That pertains to your meditation digs, too. Carve out a space big or small (or even outdoors) that’s reserved for your tranquility time alone, and you’ve set the stage for deepening your practice, she advises.
Sure, you’ll want some practice space essentials: Something to burn (sage or frankincense are both good options), an intention to set (“This is my meditation space” is a good one to begin with), and a comfy pillow or thick rug to sit on (even if it’s from HomeGoods).
But all the extras are up to you, whether that means plants, crystal bowls, quartz, therapeutic-grade essential oils, or even a book to inspire your practice (Porter is a big fan of Evette Rose’s Metaphysical Anatomy). It’s all about being open to the things, smells, and sounds that help you get to a centered place to clear your mind, she says. “Turn your intuition on and move toward whatever feels good.”