Many people may think that meditation is a bit out there or too ‘woo woo’ for them. Meditation is what you make of it and it’s different for everyone and with every meditation you do you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself. We cannot train the mind with the mind, it’s like a wild animal that needs to be tamed and to do so, we need discipline, patience, kindness and tools. So, I have compiled a small list of common myths about meditation that often stop people from starting.
1. Meditation can be done anywhere, at any time.
When you think of meditation what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it someone sitting in a quiet space with incense burning, candles, herbal teas, gongs and looking REALLY still and at peace? If so, you’re not alone. Although all of those things help to create an environment to meditate in, they are not the meditation itself, that comes from you. The ideal time to meditate is first thing in the morning when we are more connected to our subconscious mind and free from the information overload world, we live in. However, let yourself off the hook, if you aren’t an early riser or have a hectic schedule you can do a short lunchtime meditation or before bed and still reap the benefits. It’s also ideal to meditate in the same place each time, as this helps to remind the mind that we are preparing to meditate, but again this doesn’t have to be the case. You can meditate in the car, on your morning commute or walking in the park.
2. "I don’t have time to meditate"…Meditation doesn’t have to last for hours.
When people think about meditation, they may think that you need to sit still in silence for hours on end. Some of the shorter meditation techniques and practices can be just as efficient as an hour-long meditation. 3 to 5 minutes is enough to start feeling subtle shifts in the mind and body. Meditation is like giving the mind a spring clean, de-cluttering or cleansing and taking time out of your day to practice can really start to make positive changes in your life and improve your overall well-being.
3. Use a chair.
You do not have to be able to sit crossed legged to meditate, you can use a chair or cushions and bolsters to help you feel more comfortable. If you are using a chair, place your feet firmly on the ground, with a straight spine, shoulders relaxed, chin slightly tucked in and hands resting in the lap or on the thighs, palms facing up or down. Placing a cushion between the lower back and the chair can also help keep the spine straight. A straight spine during meditation helps the ‘chi’ or energy flow freely through the body, especially along the spine.
4. You may fall asleep and that’s okay.
Falling asleep is a by-product of being relaxed, and when we meditate, we are helping the mind and body to de-stress and relax. So it’s perfectly normal to fall asleep, especially in the beginning. Remember we are taming the mind which has many old patterns and habits as well as living in unprecedented times which takes its toll on the mind and body, so when we stop the exhaustion my kick in. When we first begin to meditate shorter practices are better to prevent falling asleep and sitting upright either cross-legged or in a chair helps.
However, if you want to lie down and you fall asleep it’s okay, just be sure to set an alarm if you’re meditating before work! If you fall asleep during a guided meditation then your subconscious mind will still take in the words, just on a deeper level that you may not remember.
5. Long Deep Breathing
One of the simplest types of breathing is Long Deep Breathing, which brings our attention to the journey the breath takes through the body. The beauty of Long Deep Breathing is that it can be practised anywhere, lying down, sitting on a chair, on a train, or in a waiting room. It instantly calms the mind and brings awareness back to the body.
So, get comfortable, set your timer and allow yourself to be in the present moment, go within and reconnect with YOU.