Yes, meditating can be sitting in a room by yourself, cross-legged, eyes closed, for hours on end.
But meditation is also so much more than that!
And there are ways to make it accessible for yourself as a beginner.
To start, use your breath. It's always there and provides a nice anchor point for beginning to train your mind to pay attention, which is the first stage of meditation.
And yes, you literally have to 'train your mind' at the beginning.
A few ways to start meditating for newbies:
1. Do square breathing. Inhale to a count of 1, 2, 3, 4, hold for 1, 2, 3, 4, exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, hold 1, 2, 3, 4. Or use a count that works for you but keep the breath even. Two minutes, go!
2. Sit or lie down - again, anywhere. The location and position do not matter. Place your palms on your belly. Feel your breath move in and out through the palms. Every time you notice your mind wander, gently bring your attention back to the sensation in your palms. Two minutes. You can do it.
3. Count your breaths (quietly in your mind). Starting at 11, count backwards. Inhale, 11, exhale, 11; inhale 10, exhale 10 and so on. If your mind wanders (as it is built to do), don't fuss, don't judge...simply start your count again at 11. Two minutes, gently focus on the count.
4. Extend your exhale twice the length of your inhale. Inhale 1, 2, 3, exhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Repeat for two minutes. You've got this.
5. Use an app. NO, this is not shameful. NO, this is not cheating on meditating. Literally millions of people use meditation apps every single day because they work. They provide structure, guidance, and support and we can all use more of those things! Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer are a few of the more popular apps.
Don't get caught up in the how, just do it.
You CANNOT DO IT WRONG.
Get to know your mind. Extend the time as you get comfortable and less freaked out by your crafty little mind!
Start small and remember this handy little phrase to keep your practice going: a little and often!