The Four Biggest Meditation Myths
In the midst of our busy lives, daily meditation can be a powerful tool, by helping relax body and mind, while ultimately making your day more focused and productive. But there are many misapprehensions surrounding meditation: Often people don’t know how to approach it, feel too intimidated to try it or believe they couldn’t possibly succeed. With that in mind, Light Watkins, meditation teacher and author of Bliss More: How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying, busts four myths surrounding the practice, and proves that anyone can achieve (and enjoy) the reward.
Myth #1: You must sit in a “meditating” position
Reality: When most people envision meditating, they picture sitting like statues with their legs crossed, backs straight, and fingers curled in a “mudra” position. In reality, this rigid posture is often uncomfortable and isn’t ideal for achieving a settled mind. “You should sit comfortably when you meditate, almost as if you were watching television,” explains Watkins.
Myth #2: Your mind is “too busy” to meditate
Reality: “The mind is an ally to the practice,” Watkins says. Especially as a meditation beginner, it’s imperative that you view your mind as the body’s friend, not foe. Developing a meditation routine happens in three stages: first, you create this new habit and cultivate a relationship with your mind; secondly, as you break your old habit of not meditating, the calcification in the mind begins to break down; and finally, following the mind’s lead, ayour body will purge itself of stressful triggers and memories. “Your mind is the body’s exhaust pipe,” Watkins says, “pushing all the bad things out.”
Myth #3: You have to do marathon meditations
Reality: In order for your body to attain the desired relaxation response—a feeling of rest that’s deeper than sleep—15 minutes of meditation (in a seated, eyes-closed practice) is your optimum time frame. “Meditating for less than ten minutes won’t do anything for you,” explains Watkins, “but there’s no need to do it for a half hour.”
Myth #4: You don’t have time to meditate
Reality: Setting aside just 15 minutes a day to meditate will actually allow you to do less and accomplish more; it’s a refund on time. As Watkins puts it: meditation is a catalyst for dynamic action. Practicing helps improve your focus, connections, sleep quality, and communication; when you don’t meditate, you inevitably must use more time and energy to stay younger, be healthy, digest food, and negate poor choices. Simply put, making time to meditate is a choice—but the outcome is always a positive one.