Meditation / Wellness

5 Beginner-Friendly Meditation and Mindfulness Exercises


When I tell people that I create and produce meditations, I’m often met with furrowed brows and a cautious “oh—really?”. Overall, the people I run into are curious about meditation, but usually exclaim that they “could never sit still for that long”.

But meditation is so much more than sitting cross-legged in a silent room, chanting Om. Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced in a myriad of ways, many of which won’t interfere with your daily routines. In fact, the majority of my personal practice happens while chasing my toddlers around the park or folding laundry.

While I love a long, deep meditation, it’s the short and sweet sessions that sustain me throughout the day. Here’s an introductory breakdown of my favorite beginner-friendly exercises. I hope these practices encourage your mindfulness journey and help to set you up for success.

1. 1-Minute Breathing

Especially when you’re first giving meditation a try, setting a timer helps your subconscious relax so you can focus solely on your breath. You won’t have to continuously wonder, “how long should I be sitting here?”, because you’ll begin the practice with the awareness that there is an end in sight. This trains your brain to trust the process and better accept the task at hand. I recommend starting small, at just 1-minute until you feel confident and comfortable enough to increase the time. And remember—1 minute of mindfulness is long enough to provide a day’s worth of inspiration. It’s not about how long you go, it’s about how you feel during and after the practice.

Begin by setting a timer for just 1-minute. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, and simply focus on your inhales and exhales while your device keeps an eye on the clock. If your mind wanders, gently direct your attention back to your breath.

2. Walk with Awareness

Next time you’re taking a walk, cleaning the house, or pursuing a farmer’s market, focus your awareness on your surroundings. Allow your eyes to slowly, individually soak up all the things around you, paying special attention to color, texture, and depth.

This visual practice is all about being present with your physical reality. The goal is to hone your awareness on anything physical around you, other than yourself. By taking this observant perspective, you can better remember that you are just one being in this incredibly intricate and vibrant world.

As you practice this exercise, you can eventually expand your awareness to include sounds, smells, and sensations.

3. Let Go—In the Shower

What’s better than a cozy shower to begin or wrap-up your day? Similar to Exercise 1, the shower is great place for mindfulness because there’s an end in-sight—you know that your practice will only last the duration of your shower.

For this mindfulness exercise, you’ll practice both breath awareness and “cleansing”, or refreshing the mind. Keep your focus on your gentle inhale and exhales as you did in Exercise 1, but this time, also allow space for your thoughts to gently rise into your awareness. As you breathe, refreshing the air in your lungs, softly release the thoughts that no longer serve you. Let go of little stresses from the day that you don’t wish to carry with you into tomorrow. Through this short, mindful practice, you’ll cleanse both body and mind and reset for another new day.

4. Mantra Practice

Mantra doesn’t have to mean chanting in Sanskrit. In fact, I oftentimes use the intentions I set for work and home life as personalized mantras during my meditation sessions. But what exactly is a mantra, and why use it?

A mantra is a word or phrase that one repeats over and over, usually in your head. This process allows your awareness to focus solely on the mantra, and serves as an anchor for your mind when it wanders (similar to focusing on the breath). Mantra also subliminally infuses your subconscious with the essence of the words you say. For example, if you want to increase how calm you feel on a daily basis, your basic mantra could be “calm” or “I accept peace”.

Give it a try! Whether you’re stressed at work or relaxing by the pool, add a little meditation practice to your day by picking a mantra that suites your desires. Softly repeat your mantra at a pace that feels right in the moment, remember to breathe, and return to your mantra when your thoughts wander.

5. Bedtime Body Scan

That moment when you climb into bed at night is perfect for squeezing in a little mindfulness practice. One of my favorite bedtime meditation exercise is a body scan, which calls your awareness to different parts of the body (both physical and energetic). By focusing your attention to each area of your body, individually, you can acknowledge any tension lingering in the body and prompt your muscles to relax.

To begin, settle into bed and take a few deep breaths. Direct your awareness to the crown of your head, nothing any tension that may linger there from your day. Relax these muscles, and use your breath to “breathe a little peaceful space” into this area. Once satisfied, move your awareness down the body and repeat the process. My typical path goes: crown, between the brows, mouth/tongue/jaw, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, stomach, hips, thighs, calves, feet.

To take this up a level, try to identify any thoughts that come to mind when you locate tension in your muscles. What thoughts, feelings, and situations from your daily life are behind the muscles tension? Can you let a little of this stress go? Can you breathe a little peaceful awareness around these feelings? Practice exploring both your physical and energetic bodies in this way to relax your whole being for a more restorative sleep.

Give it a Try!

Hopefully these exercises soothe any anxiety you may have had about meditation, and inspire you to give it a go! Remember, your mindfulness practice can be fluid and adapted to fit your busy lifestyle, especially when your goal is simply to balance your energy and manage stress throughout your day.


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