9 sites to help you get started with meditation

by Linda Nansteel Lovell

A Google search on the word “meditation” yields an astonishing 250 million results in a half a second. Who knew…or even suspected? The annotated list of nine sites which follows is not meant to be the best or the most popular of those sites. These are simply sites which have something of interest to offer a beginning meditator, whether it's about the science supporting meditation or guided meditations to use online or anything in between.

Tara Brach is a popular teacher whose website offers a library of guided meditations as well as an interesting set of links in Resources. Look for “Talks for Beginners.” Free, with a button for donations.

Sharon Salzberg is another popular teacher. Behind the About tab: bios of teachers who’ve influenced her, a Glossary, and recommended Resources (including meditation centers around the country). Free, with a button for donations.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is part of the National Institutes of Health. These pages present a good summary of many of the scientific aspects of meditation and its effects on the body and brain.

This New York Times site is both a “how-to” and “why-to” meditate manual, written in a straightforward manner for people who have no experience. It offers a number of meditations to download. Of particular interest: “3 Ways for Children To Try Meditation at Home.”

The popular magazine Psychology Today groups quite a wide range of links into three categories: Meditation Basics, Recent Posts on Meditation, and Meditation Essential Reads.

Yoga Journal magazine has created a “hub” of tips and guided meditations. Favorite sections: “Get Started Guide” and “Meditation Basics.”

Alice G. Walton goes into considerable scientific depth in this Forbes magazine article. The science is fascinating – but the illustrative story of a woman in chronic pain brings it all to life.

The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers a list of resources and free guided meditations to download.

The Mayo Clinic offers a free, 7-minute guided meditation using a candle flame as focus.

Samira Shuruk