Open Meditations

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Simple guided meditations without ads or intros.

Ten minutes to support your daily practice.

What is Open Meditations?

  • a podcast of 10-minute guided meditations
  • free to use, and free of ads and intros

How do I start?

  • Try to find a place that you can sit with your eyes closed for the duration of the recording.
  • Try to sit with an upright, but relaxed spine. (imagine a string pulling the crown of the head, then let the string go slack and feel the spine stacking comfortably)

Why breath?

  • We’ll usually use breath as the object of meditation, simply because it’s readily available to almost everyone.
  • Being conscious of your breath is a useful skill outside of formal meditation. Noticing your breath throughout the day can help you get a sense of your mood (Are you breathing deep or shallow? Are you holding your breath? When you breathe, where does it move in the body?)
  • Depending on their personal history, it’s possible that breath and body-focused meditations aren’t right for everyone. You can contact me at derick [at] openmeditations [dot] org with any questions.

What “tradition” does it belong to?

  • These meditations are not affiliated with an organization or group, nor are they specific to any one tradition.
  • They’re a version of what comes when I lead meditations in person.
  • Take a look at the additional resources below to see some of the influences for Open Meditations.

More tips:

  • If you have an issue closing your eyes, you can let them close half way, letting your unfocused gaze stay on a single point in front of you.
  • Try not to force or control the breath. Instead, let it lead the body and mind.
  • If you find your mind to be especially tired or restless, unable to focus on the meditation itself, you can take 3 deep breaths — active inhale and complete exhale — as the full-body feeling of a deep breath can help ground you in your present experience
  • If you come to the end of a meditation and realize you were thinking the entire time, that’s fine! Note the places your mind went. Don’t worry about whether a particular meditation “counts” or not.
  • If you’re able to (and feel the desire to), you might sit for a few more minutes in silence, following the breath and sensations in the body. Think of it like the savasana at the end of yoga class.
  • Ask yourself “how is my breathing right now?” a few times a day.

One way to start a daily practice:

  • One goal for any habit is to get to the point where it feels easier to keep doing than to stop doing (even if it’s sometimes difficult in the moment)
  • Choose a specific time (right when you wake up works well)
  • Commit to practicing every day for 20 days (even weekends!)
  • See how you feel on day 20.

How did this podcast start?

  • At work in SF: I was doing yoga teacher training at the Yoga Society of San Francisco while also working at a startup in the city. I taught hatha yoga in the mornings and spent my days at the office. I started leading short breathing exercises to my co-workers before and after company workouts.
  • At work in NYC: A colleague and I started a daily meditation group in the office. Sometimes I would lead. Other times members of the group shared recordings they had found. We had a few that we liked, some free, some paid apps. When people with paid subscriptions missed, we'd search our phones for alternatives. Eventually we settled on one or two free recordings that we all liked well enough. But it was difficult to balance variety with convenience while keeping things simple and accessible. I started leading more often. Someone suggested I start recording. These recordings were the beginning of this podcast.

Additional resources (unaffiliated — I don't get paid for clicks)

  • 🎒 - donation-based Vipassana meditation courses. These are the “10-day silent retreats” you might have heard of. Many find these courses quite intense, but I think they’re a worthwhile use of time.
  • 🏡Yoga Society of San Francisco (Brahmananda Ashram). A place I’ve lived and trained. A wonderful space.
  • 📚The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi. One of my favorite resources for developing a relationship with the breath.
  • 📚Living Buddhist Masters by Jack Kornfield. A survey of Buddhist traditions in Southeast Asia. Shows the rich variety of practices and techniques even within a few specific regions and cultures.

Useful tools I've used (unaffiliated — I don't get paid for clicks)

  • 📱Meditation apps - from Headspace to Calm to Insight Timer (the Waking Up app is excellent 💯). I think apps, like podcasts, are a great place to start. Just choose one and try it out for at least a month to see if it works for you (or listen to Open Meditations 😄)
  • Pocket Meditation Timer. Very simple, no distractions. It’s free!
  • CDN TM30 kitchen timer. A simple kitchen timer. I mostly like it because you can set it to vibrate instead of beep.
photo of derick

Derick Olson teaches, writes, and programs in New York City.

You can reach out to me with any questions or comments at:
derick [at] openmeditations [dot] org

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