What is Transcendental Meditation and how to do it

By Anita Parker – on in Health
Could Transcendental Meditation be your cup of tea? Learn about the controversial famous wellness practice and how you can sort-of do it for free.

Ellen, Russell Brand, David Lynch, Jerry Seinfeld, Gisele Bündchen, Tim Ferriss, Tom Hanks, Hugh Jackman, Martin Scorsese, Oprah, Eva Mendes, Paul McCartney and the list could go on. Transcendental Meditation has its fair share of celebrity adherents. And yes, the practice’s name does require capitalization. Because TM isn’t only a meditation technique, it is also a registered trademark. Getting Scientology vibes? You are not the only one. And in many ways, the two are not unlike: both are built around a precept of secrecy and selling undisclosed knowledge to access some sort of spiritual well-being. To its credit, TM is allegedly taught by a non-profit organization, the David Lynch Foundation. And who are we to judge. Perhaps we should leave it to Buddhist monks who have made it a life’s work to teach the healing art of meditation completely free of charge. Right, Buddhist monks don’t judge. Still, how does it differ from paying to attend a Spanish or yoga class or even a $5 app offering guided meditation? Arguably in many ways, but let’s not go there. The question is, however, up for debate, and debated it is. Nonetheless, TM’s questionable past and present business (-less) model does not make the practice less beneficial for its followers. 


Meditation is good for you

This brings us to meditation at large, of which TM is only one of many branches. Normally completely free, this truly valuable habit is extremely simple, although not always easy, way to relieve stress and promote mind and body health. We encourage you to look into non-controversial techniques that won’t unnecessarily take your money and will potentially improve your quality of life.


But what is Transcendental Meditation

Still set on knowing what the work of the Beatles’ guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is all about? Well, we obviously are not in on the secret, and even if we did, you’d have to take out your credit card and meet with a certified teacher to be too. What we do know is that what has been described as an effective method taught in an environment that feels like an exclusive rich people club entails 20 minutes of meditation twice a day. Fortunately, you don’t have to join a too-cult-like-for-our-liking organization do so.

Judging by the all-knowing Internet and according to sources gathered by The Daily Meditation such as Wikipedia, Quora and, all TM boils down to is basically mantra meditation. What’s that exactly? A mantra is a sacred sound or word which is repeated over and over again in the context of meditation to help clear the mind. What would distinguish the organization’s technique from, say its free alternative, is the disputable fact that MT members are attributed a personalised mantra.


Sure, we cannot provide a special mantra as a certified TM teacher would, but how about you chose your own? Or seek an affordable mentor to guide you through your first steps into the meditation world?


DIY Transcendental Meditation Technique

If you are ready to give this a try and incorporate it into your daily routine, here is The Daily Meditation’s version of the very expensive TM technique:

  1. Start by choosing a mantra or simply use “OM”.
  2. Sit somewhere calm. It does not have to be in the lotus pause, nor crossed legged, nor on the floor. Just make sure to be well seated and comfortable. Close your eyes and relax.
  3. Be mindful of your breath. Observe as you inhale and exhale.
  4. Bring your mantra to mind and clear every other thought you might have.
  5. Visualize the mantra and let it take over your mind. Don’t try to control the mind.
  6. Start reciting the mantra and meditating on the sound. Feel it resonate within you.
  7. Repeat it 108 times or the equivalent of 20 minutes.
  8. Finish by expressing gratitude for the session.


While it sounds easy, you might find applying the principal harder than it seems. Not thinking about anything is hard, never mind achieving pure consciousness. This is where the mantra comes in handy. Think you need a pricey celebs-approved training to start implementing meditation into your life? Think again. Wait, don’t.

Cover credit: @namastehannah | Instagram