Sven Wombwell
Article by: Sven Wombwell
Estimated 12 minutes read

Are you constantly feeling irritable, anxious, and unable to focus? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the beginner's guide to meditation. But if you're new to meditation, it can be challenging to know where to start. From understanding the basics of meditation and how it affects your brain and body, to learning simple techniques to get you started… we've got you covered.

Take a deep breath. 

monk in robes meditating in forest

What Exactly is Meditation? A Comprehensive Guide to Meditation Practices

Meditation is a mindful practice that has been embraced by a growing number of people across the globe. It's an ancient practice. Meditation has roots dating back thousands of years in Eastern culture.

Recently, though, it has attracted a lot of attention for its potential health benefits that go far beyond its spiritual and religious origins.

Meditation is "a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth."

There too many different types of meditation to cover in one guide to meditation. They range from well-known practices like Zen meditation and mindfulness meditation to less well-known styles such as Transcendental Meditation (TM), Vipassana, and loving-kindness meditation.

Despite the different styles, they all share one core goal. That is, to create a state of inner tranquility and awareness.

So, what actually happens during meditation? It's truly different for everyone, but typically, people relax into a state of deep relaxation. This allows the mind to slow down. You'll let go of thoughts, worries, and distractions.

Meditation is not about switching off the mind entirely, though. It's simply about becoming aware of thoughts and feelings as they arise and then letting them go without getting caught up in them. This mindfulness helps individuals detach from negative thoughts, even those that may have affected them for years.

And anyone can do it. You don't need to be religious or spiritual to meditate, nor does it require any special equipment, meditation centers, or classes. All you need is a quiet place to sit or lie down for a few minutes, and, of course, some patience.

Benefits of Meditation

From increased focus and concentration to improved relationships, meditation has positively impacted various aspects of one's life. Here are a few examples. 

Increased Focus and Concentration

Have you ever found yourself easily distracted while trying to complete a simple task? If so, adding just a few minutes of meditation to your routine could help. 

One study found that meditation participants showed improved attention and cognitive control. These improvements can also lead to better decision-making skills and increased productivity.

Better Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, many people struggle with falling or staying asleep. That's where meditation comes in. 

In one study, patients who practiced mindfulness meditation experienced improvements in sleep quality and insomnia symptoms. Meditation is a natural and non-invasive way to improve sleep, unlike pharmaceutical sleep aids.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are a common part of modern life, but they don't have to rule your life. Fortunately, meditation can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders

Improved Relationships

Meditation has also been shown to improve relationships by enhancing our empathy and compassion towards others. Research has found that couples practicing mindfulness meditation showed more positive emotions, including greater caring and intimacy. 

Boosted Immune System

Meditation is known to offer multiple benefits for the immune system. Regular practice of mindfulness meditation enhances the function of immune cells. 

In fact, the University of Florida reported that regular meditation practitioners had a higher immune function and a lower inflammation response than non-meditators.

Relief from Chronic Conditions

Meditation has been shown to provide relief for several chronic conditions. Multiple studies have found that mediation can help to relieve symptoms of chronic pain. 

Studies have found that meditation reduced the intensity of chronic pain for participants who suffered from a variety of pain-related illnesses.

Better Sexual Functioning

Meditation can also have a positive impact on sexual functioning. Meditation practice is associated with increased sexual arousal and desire, as well as an overall improvement in sexual functioning. It also has positive side effects, like reducing anxiety, improving intimacy, and reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction.

What Are the Different Types of Meditation?

Let's walk through some of the most common types of meditation to help you get a better sense of the options available.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation involves following the lead of an instructor or a recorded audio session that walks you through the meditation process. This can be helpful for beginners or those who prefer a more structured experience. 

Guided meditation can take many forms, ranging from visualizations that transport you to a peaceful setting to body scans that help you tune into sensations in your body and release tension.

The Body Scan Technique

The body scan technique in meditation involves systematically directing attention to different parts of the body, typically starting from the feet and moving upwards. Practitioners focus on sensations, such as warmth or tension, without judgment. This technique promotes mindfulness and relaxation by increasing awareness of bodily sensations and reducing stress.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves cultivating an awareness of the present moment without judgment or distraction from the thoughts and sensations that arise. 

This can involve focusing on the breath, body sensations, or sounds in the environment. The practice of mindfulness meditation can help increase your resilience to stress, improve focus and attention, and promote a greater sense of emotional regulation.

Mantra Meditation

Mantra meditation is a practice that involves repeating a word or phrase (known as a mantra) to help quiet the mind and center your focus. The mantra is a focal point for your attention, helping you let go of thoughts and feelings that might pull you away from your meditation practice. 

Some popular mantras include "Om" (a familiar sound used in many Eastern spiritual practices), "so hum" (I am that), and "lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu" (may all beings be happy and free).


Qigong is a Chinese practice that involves balancing and regulating the breath, body, and mind through gentle movements and exercises. This practice can help promote relaxation, improve the flow of energy (known as qi), and enhance overall physical and mental health. 

Qigong can be performed standing or sitting and involves a series of movements designed to promote balance and harmony in the body.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that has become popular as a gentle form of exercise and meditation. 

Practicing tai chi involves a series of slow, flowing movements designed to cultivate balance, flexibility, and strength. Tai chi can help reduce stress, improve posture, and help with chronic pain or joint issues.


No guide to meditation would be comoplete without mentioning Yoga. Yoga is a practice that combines physical postures (known as asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation to promote overall well-being. The practice of yoga emphasizes flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation and can be adapted to suit a wide range of abilities and needs. 

Yoga is a holistic approach to physical and mental health and helps reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote a greater sense of connection to self and others.

Guide to meditation image of a young man mediating on couch in apartment

Meditation for Men: A Beginner's Guide

Are you one of those guys who thinks meditation is not for you? Maybe you've heard people talk about the benefits, but you dismissed it as just another hippie trend.

It's time to rethink your stance. Meditation is not just for yoga fanatics or spiritual gurus. It's for regular guys like you who want to de-stress, improve their focus, and achieve inner peace. 

Here's a beginner's guide to mediation to help you get started on your journey. 

1. Set Aside the Right Time

When starting a meditation practice, one of the most important things to do is to set aside the right time. It can be tempting to fit it in whenever you have a spare moment, but this isn't a practical approach. Instead, try to create a routine and stick to it as much as possible. This could mean meditating first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or before bed.

If you're not used to sitting in silence for an extended period, start with just a few minutes and gradually build up to longer sessions. You might find it helpful to set a timer to keep track of the time and prevent you from peeking at your watch every few seconds.

2. Find the Right Place

Ideally, you want somewhere quiet and peaceful where you won't be disturbed. This could be a spare room in your house, a secluded spot in a park, or even just your car.

If you're at home, try to create a dedicated space for your meditation practice. This could be as simple as using a cushion or yoga mat to mark out your spot. If you're meditating outside, have appropriate clothing and a comfortable place to sit.

3. Be Aware of Your Senses

This involves tuning in to what you can feel, hear, and see around you. For example, you might notice the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body, the sound of birds singing outside, or the way the sunlight shines through the trees.

By focusing on your senses, you'll be better able to stay present in the moment and let go of any distracting thoughts. 

To begin with, it can be helpful to close your eyes as you meditate and concentrate on your breathing. Then, as you become more comfortable, you can start to expand your awareness to your other senses.

4. Focus on Circular Breathing

When you meditate, your breath is an anchor to the present moment. It's the one thing that keeps you grounded amidst the chaotic thoughts and emotions that swirl in your head. That's why you need to focus on your breath when you meditate. 

But it's not enough to breathe in and out like you usually do. You need to cultivate a particular kind of breathing - circular breathing. 

Circular breathing means breathing in a continuous cycle without any pause between inhalation and exhalation. This kind of breathing can help you achieve a calm and relaxation that's impossible with regular breathing. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Sit comfortably in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed. 
  2. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to relax your body. 
  3. Begin by inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling fully through your mouth. 
  4. After a few deep breaths, start to breathe in and out through your nose, keeping your breaths continuous and smooth. 
  5. As you breathe in, feel your belly expand, and as you exhale, feel it contract. 
  6. Try to make your inhalations and exhalations equal in length. For example, you can inhale for four counts, hold for two counts, and exhale for four counts. 
  7. Keep focusing on your breath and let other thoughts drift away. 

5. Shift Your Focus Back to Your Breath When Your Mind Wanders

One of the most challenging aspects of meditation is keeping your mind from wandering. It's natural for thoughts to arise, but the key is not to dwell on them. Instead, acknowledge them and gently bring your focus back to your breath. 

When you notice your mind straying, remember that it's normal, and don't get discouraged. Take a deep breath and shift your attention back to the inhalation and exhalation. With practice, you'll find that your mind wanders less and less.

6. When Finished, Continue to Focus on Breathing

Once your meditation session is over, don't rush to open your eyes and return to your daily routine. Instead, continue to focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Sit with your eyes closed and breathe in and out without saying any words or counting. 

This is a way of gradually transitioning back to reality. It helps you carry the calm and serenity of your meditation practice into your daily life. 

7. Repeat Often

Now that you've learned to practice circular breathing, it's time to make it a habit. Start with a few minutes daily, and gradually increase the duration as you get more comfortable. Ideally, you should aim to meditate daily for at least 20 minutes. 

To make it easier to stick to your practice, you can find guided meditations and apps that offer various meditation techniques. 

Guide to Meditation Key Takeaways

Meditation may seem daunting at first, but the benefits it offers are abundant and well-documented. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving focus and overall well-being, meditation is a practice worth investing your time in. 

And with the wealth of resources available to you (like this one!), there's no excuse not to start today. But why stop there?  While you're on the path to self-improvement, don't forget about the rest of your physical, sexual, and emotional health. 

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So whether you're looking to improve your mind or body (or if you're like most men, both!), take the first step towards a better you today. Contact Male Excel and start living your best life.

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