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Begin Your Meditation Journey: A Guide to 5-Step Mindfulness Meditation

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A woman meditation with her hands in prayer position

I had an interesting conversation with a friend last week. He recently started meditating but found it challenging to focus for more than 10 minutes. I encouraged him, saying it was a GREAT start, and suggested a technique that helped me when I was a beginner. I'd love to share this method with anyone looking to get closer to their mind.

This technique involves five stages, each lasting four minutes. But hey, don't worry, you can adjust the time based on your attention span and schedule. Baby steps!


  • Approach your meditation practice with kindness, friendliness, and a non-judgmental attitude. Be your own cheerleader!
  • If sitting still for 20 minutes sounds daunting, reduce each stage to three or even two minutes. No rush!
  • Find the most comfortable position for yourself, understanding that this might take a few days or weeks. It’s a journey, not a race.
  • Remember, the practice itself is about bringing your mind back to your focus. Don’t get angry if you find yourself lost in thoughts—gently bring your attention back to your breath and the present moment. Think of it as guiding a playful puppy.
  • Let your breaths flow naturally and effortlessly. No need to force anything.
  • Keep your face, shoulders, and tummy relaxed. Channel your inner jellyfish!
  • Don’t chase your thoughts away or hold onto them. Let them come and go just like your breaths. Imagine they’re clouds drifting in the sky.

Necla seated in cross-legged position, smiling.

Getting Started

Find a comfortable seated position of your choice. Ensure your spine is straight and tall—think of yourself as a proud giraffe! If you're sitting on a chair, keep your feet grounded like roots of a tree.

0️⃣ Observation

Before closing your eyes, take a moment to look around. Notice the colors and shapes of the objects around you. Pretend you're in an art gallery and everything is a masterpiece. Use all your senses: notice any smells, tastes, or sounds. If you smell cookies, I'm jealous!

1️⃣ Turning Inward

Close your eyes and turn your attention inward. Feel your body’s presence in the here and now. Check in with yourself like you're your own best friend. Observe how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally at this moment without trying to change or judge anything. Focus on the tip of your nose and count your breaths: inhale, exhale, one; inhale, exhale, two. Count to ten and then restart at one for four minutes. Don’t worry if you lose count—it’s not a math test!

2️⃣ Inhale Awareness

Do the same for your inhales: inhale, one; exhale. Inhale, two; exhale. Stay aware of your breath. If you catch yourself thinking about what to have for dinner or daydreaming about vacations, gently return to one. No biggie!

3️⃣ Sensation Focus

Stop counting but keep your focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the bodily sensations that come with each breath. Notice where you feel the breaths the most—nose, throat, chest, belly. Search for small details your breath creates in your body. Watch your breath like a cat watching a mouse. Curiosity is key!

4️⃣ Narrowed Focus

Imagine holding a magnifying glass to the tip of your nose where the breaths come in and go out. This narrows your focus. Previously, you observed your breath throughout your body; now, observe just the tip of your nose for another four minutes. You’re now a breath detective!

5️⃣ Letting Your Mind Wander

Let your mind go wherever it wants to go. Let it roam free while you observe. Notice your thoughts and where your mind tends to wander. You might discover your brain loves planning imaginary vacations. Stay here for another four minutes.

Happy meditating! And remember, every breath is a new beginning.

Breathe for change, now.