To meditate effectively, it’s important to develop a practice that works for you. Unlike physical yoga poses, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. The highly personal practice can be practiced in any way that you feel comfortable. Once you’ve developed your skills, you can use meditation to reduce your stress levels, balance your mind, and become more present and aware in day-to-day life. To help focus your mind, it’s a good idea to create a relaxing space to meditate. If you’ve got the room, consider filling a spare room with a comfortable yoga mat, a cozy blanket, and some scented candles.
Like most holistic therapies, there are a few misconceptions surrounding meditation. If taken to heart, these may prevent you from progressing as smoothly as you’d like. In this article, we explore 5 myths about meditation.
There is Only One Way to Meditate
Some people believe that there is only one way to meditate. If this was true, every practitioner would need to use the same position – even if it didn’t work for them. Thankfully, this isn’t the case at all. There are a number of different styles and techniques to choose from. Below, we discuss a few of the most popular.
The first style is Breathing Meditation. Perfect for beginners, this technique is simple to practice. To use Breathing Meditation, all you need to do is watch your breath and give your mind something to focus on.
To practice Breathing Meditation, find a quiet space and sit comfortably. Next, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and release the air through your mouth. Notice how each breath feels as you draw fresh air into your lungs and how it feels when it leaves the body. Don’t try to control your breathing, simply observe it in its natural state. If your mind begins to stray, don’t panic! Mind wandering is completely normal for beginners. When it does, gently bring your focus back to your breathing.
Another popular style is mindfulness meditation. Focussing on the sensations within your body, this tech-nique allows you to concentrate on the present.
To practice Mindfulness Mediation, start by listening to your breathing. After a few minutes, notice other sensations within the body; for instance, observe any tension and tingling within the muscles. When using this technique, it’s important not to analyze the sensations. Instead, try to be a neutral observer. Allow the sensations to pass through your mind without becoming hung up on them.
Mantra Meditation is another popular style. Commonly, the Sanskrit word ‘Om’ is used as a mantra. How-ever, any meaningful word or phrase can be used in this technique. By repeating a certain word or phrase you can focus the mind.
To practice Mantra Meditation, find a quiet space and sit comfortably. Slowly repeat your chosen word or phrase aloud or silently. Try to focus solely on the Mantra instead of the world around you.
Perfect for those who hate sitting still, Walking Meditation is another popular style. While this can be practiced anywhere, a garden or local park is ideal.
To practice Walking Meditation, stroll through an aesthetically pleasing environment. As you walk, focus on how your body moves. Take note of how your arms swing as you walk and how your legs lift and extend. As with all types of meditation, beginners may find their mind wandering. If this is the case, gently bring your focus back to the movement.
2. You Have to Empty Your Mind
If you’re a beginner, meditation can seem daunting. Many newbies believe that you have to empty your mind to meditate; however, this isn’t the case at all! Instead, meditation can help to empty your mind when used correctly. If you sit down with the intention of clearing your mind, you will probably struggle. This is because our minds are rarely at rest, especially when we are trying to learn a new process. Instead of trying to clear our mind when meditating, we should allow each thought to come and go naturally.
3. Meditation Takes Hours
Some practitioners choose to meditate for hours on end. While this is admirable, most of us are too busy to fit this into our daily routine. The misconception that meditation must last for hours leads many people to believe they can’t fit it into their life. Thankfully, though, this isn’t the case. Meditating for as little as 5 minutes per day can still benefit our physical and emotional health.
With a variety of different styles to choose from, pick one that fits into your daily routine and try to stick to it. The key to meditation is consistency. If you usually have 5 minutes to spare before bed, use that time to sit and reflect on your day. If you find yourself with more or less time than usual, adjust the duration accordingly.
4. You Can Expect Quick results
Some people believe that meditation can provide quick results. While it’s true that meditation can reduce your stress levels, don’t expect immediate results. It takes time, patience, and dedication to learn how to meditate effectively. This means that it may take a few weeks for you to notice the benefits of your prac-tice.
For best results, think of meditation as a skill you are building. Although some of the steps may seem un-necessary, you need to master the basics before moving onto the more complex parts. If you build up your skills gradually, the end result will be worth the wait.
5. Meditation is a Religious Practice
Some people believe that meditation is a religious practice. While meditation is present in a number of religions including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, it doesn’t have to be used in a spiritual way. Though some practitioners use the craft to connect with their higher self, others meditate to reduce their stress levels and clear their mind.
Before using meditation, it’s important to be clear on the myths surrounding the topic. Knowing what advice to follow is important if you want to develop your practice. For best results, pick up some comfortable clothing to wear whilst you meditate. While the weather is warm, a loose-fitting yoga top a pair of sweatpants will be ideal.