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Mindfulness 101: What to Expect at Mindfulness for Beginners

By July 29, 2019October 15th, 2019No Comments

Thinking about going to a mindful meditation workshop but nervous about what to expect? Get answers to all the meditation questions you’ve always wanted to know but never wanted to ask. We’ll tackle the most common mindfulness client questions and the advice our longtime students would give to any first-timers.

What do I wear?

Meditation can be done wearing anything! You can also always adjust your sitting posture (chair, cushion, lying down) to accommodate the outfit you are wearing. If you have time to plan ahead, it’s best to wear something that makes you comfortable. Favor elastic waistbands, loose fitting clothes, and athletic gear. Wear layers or bring a shawl/blanket since your body temperature can fluctuate during meditation. Slip-on shoes and socks make it easy and comfortable to go barefoot during practice.

Will I be on the floor? 

Not if you don’t want to! Mastermind’s brain health-based workshops always offer regular chairs for seated meditation practice. Some students prefer to sit or lie down on the floor. If you want to meditate on the floor, we recommend bringing a cushion, pillow, or mat to support you.

Will I be stretching?

Typically, mindfulness meditation workshops don’t explicitly require stretching unless “mindful movement” is included in the description. However, at the start of a meditation, the teacher might guide you through gentle stretches to bring your awareness out of the mind and into the body. Remember that you can tailor the class to fit you – you can do different stretches or abstain entirely if the guidance doesn’t serve you.

Do I have to be still during meditation?

Bringing the body to stillness is an excellent way to encourage the mind to find stillness as well. If possible, find a comfortable position for practice and maintain it throughout. See if you can minimize idle movement and shifting. If you do have to move because of discomfort, make it a conscious movement – acknowledge your intent to shift and then do so with minimal effort. Especially for beginner meditators, discomfort and pain can be prohibitively distracting from the object of focus. Always treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just like you would treat a friend.

How do I breathe during meditation?

There is no right or wrong way to breathe. Typically meditation is practiced while breathing in and out through the nose. If you are not able to breathe comfortably through your nose, breathing in and out through mouth is another great option.

Any other general advice about my first class?

Get there early to acclimate to the environment and introduce yourself to the teacher. You will feel more grounded in the space and be better prepared to learn and practice. It is not fun to stress out about getting to a meditation class!

Did I miss one of your unasked questions? Do you have another piece of advice for beginner meditators? Send me an email at [email protected]

As Chief Mindfulness Officer of Mastermind Meditation, Dorsey Standish brings research-backed mindfulness and mindful movement to clients throughout the state of Texas. A lifelong learner and scientist, Dorsey has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and is enrolled in the UT Dallas Applied Cognition and Neuroscience Master’s Program. After mindfulness transformed her own work, health and relationships, Dorsey left her corporate role at Texas Instruments to share the power of mindfulness with others full-time. Dorsey’s teachings combine neuroscience research with her experiences in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and multiple weekend and 10-day silent meditation retreats. Join Dorsey for one of Mastermind’s upcoming applied mindfulness programs at mastermindmeditate.com/programs