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How to Learn Meditation - Resources for Beginners (Best Free and Paid)

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

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This is not a written guide for an actual meditation, instead we intend to point you toward all of the best resources online (and in-person!) to develop your meditation practice.


If you're new to meditation, you may be asking "what does meditation even mean?", and looking for a straightforward definition. Due to the variety of styles and practices as well as the way they are woven into religions all over the world, the term 'meditation' is actually a very broad term that encompasses all of the possible practices. The word meditation comes from a French word "meditacion" meaning "thought, reflection, study", but the roots can be traced back much further.


There are plenty of blog posts circulating which describe methods but meditation is something that is very hard if not impossible to do while reading text, so let's get into some of the best ideas and resources for visual, audio, and in-person meditation practice.


1.0 Create a Meditation Space


Selecting a calm, clutter-free place is the first step in creating a meditation space. Sure, technically you should be able to meditate anywhere but this is generally not realistic or practical for beginners. Therefore, in your own home you should strive to have a dedicated space used only for meditation. Comfortable seating should be used, and the lighting should be mellow and relaxing. Include calming decor like plants, artwork, or incense. We also recommend including some type of storage such as a basket or small box for personal items. Overall, the objective is to establish a tranquil and unique, personalized setting that encourages your meditation practice.


2.0 Use Online Guided Meditations to Get Started Meditating Now for Free


For those of you wishing to get started right now, see below. We've compiled our favorite Youtube meditation channels and linked to some beginner oriented videos. Some of them have guided meditations to foster a particular intent, and some are more general. Keep in mind that depending on the length of time, these could have interrupting ads which will interrupt your concentration.

Once you find something that suites you, you can subscribe and save your favorite videos.

3.0 Complete Virtual Courses and Apps for Meditation

The world of online courses has exploded and you can find everything from 7 day video courses to multi-week 1:1 training with a meditation expert. Below are our favorites, including online learning platforms, apps, and specific instructors. These courses will allow you to try out various methods, and ultimately find a practice that's unique and works best for you.

  1. Udemy - though you may be familiar, maybe you didn't realize they had meditation courses as well! Here is our pick for beginners: Meditation for Beginners

  2. The New York Times has completed an exhaustive study on meditation apps, but we will save you the time - Headspace was their top choice. You can find the article here.

  3. Chad Foreman - this meditation teacher offers 1:1 coaching sessions for just $69 each.

4.0 Read Books Related to Mindfulness

"read philosophical text daily" quote

  1. "The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation" by Thich Nhat Hanh: Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Zen master, shares his insights and practical guidance on mindfulness meditation. This book offers simple and accessible techniques to bring mindfulness into daily life, emphasizing the importance of being fully present in each moment.

  2. "Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life" by Jon Kabat-Zinn: Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in bringing mindfulness to mainstream medicine, explores the transformative power of mindfulness in this book. He provides practical exercises, meditations, and reflections to help readers cultivate mindfulness in various aspects of life.

  3. "The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science" by Culadasa (John Yates), Matthew Immergut, and Jeremy Graves: This comprehensive guide to meditation combines traditional Buddhist teachings with modern neuroscience. The book provides a detailed and systematic approach to meditation practice, offering step-by-step instructions and stages for developing deep concentration and insight.

5.0 Attend a Meditation Retreat


Attending a meditation retreat can be a valuable investment in your well-being, and offer a dedicated space for self-care, learning, and inner exploration. It provides an opportunity to step away from the demands of everyday life so you can ignite (or re-ignite) your meditation practice.


Here are three affordable meditation retreats in the USA that offer a balance between cost and quality:

  1. Insight Meditation Society (IMS) - IMS offers residential meditation retreats based on the Theravada Buddhist tradition. They provide a range of retreat options, including shorter retreats and longer silent retreats. IMS operates on a sliding scale, allowing individuals to choose a price that fits their budget.

  2. Drala Mountain Center - Located in the Rocky Mountains, Shambhala Mountain Center offers a variety of meditation retreats with a focus on mindfulness and contemplative practices. They offer affordable options, including work-study programs and discounted rates for certain retreats.

  3. Spirit Rock Meditation Center: Spirit Rock offers retreats in the Insight Meditation tradition, blending mindfulness and compassion practices. They provide a range of retreat lengths, from weekend retreats to longer residential programs. Spirit Rock offers sliding scale fees to make their retreats more accessible.

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