Forget everything you thought you knew about meditation…
If you think meditating is all about mantras, lotus positions and long periods of concentration, think again. According to those-in-the-know, meditation can be super simple and there are styles to suit everyone, regardless how little time we have. The team behind MINDBODY, a top health and wellness app, helps to unravel the myths.
Myth No.1 You have to sit in a cross-legged position
Meditation is about being comfortable, so if this means you are most relaxed propped up or sat on a cushion, then so be it. The traditional cross-legged lotus position is considered the best pose for meditation because it places all the primary Chakra energy centres in alignment, making spiritual perception easier. But it isn’t the only meditative position and not everyone can do it. It requires open hips and a lot of practise. Instead of battling with this particular pose, find peace in a comfier position and make use of tools, such as a yoga block, blanket or meditation cushion.
Myth No. 2 There is only one way to meditate
Any activity that gets you to focus and allow the subconscious to let go can be meditative – colouring, drawing or even cooking, for example. Illustrator and keen yogi Kate Phillipson launched Yoga Life Drawing to fuse her two passions and says drawing is a moving meditation and a great way to relax and unlock creativity. Mindfulness is also considered a form of meditation.
Myth No. 3 Meditation takes years of dedicated practise
You can quickly learn the basics of meditation and it’s not about achieving total ‘perfection’. Like anything, regular practise helps you to improve and means you’ll learn more, but the benefits of meditation can be almost immediate.
A study led by Harvard University found that as little as eight weeks of meditation helped people experience decreased anxiety and improved stress regulation.
Myth No. 4 You need a special place to meditate
It’s a common misconception that you need to create a sacred and special environment to meditate effectively. But you can observe and focus on the breath to feel the immediate effects of meditation anywhere, whether it’s at your desk, in the supermarket or on the tube. While it’s best to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment, if you feel your emotions start to get on top of you, observe your breath for five minutes and focus on the breath entering and leaving your body.
Myth No.5 You need to ban distractions, including technology
Many apps and online programmes have helped to bring meditation into the mainstream. Technology such as Muse and apps such as Headspace have guided users through focused meditation and can be a practical way into the discipline.
If you find you’re distracted by something in the room, don’t rush to block it out. Just acknowledge the distraction before bringing your attention back to the breath. If you try and eliminate every single thought that pops into your head, you might just end up frustrated.
Myth No. 6 You don’t have time to meditate
With common benefits including improved concentration and decreased blood pressure, meditation is absolutely worth your time – as limited as it may be.
You’re likely to feel more productive and calm after a meditation session, meaning you can fit more into your day. Focusing on the present moment also means you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, so you can focus on the ‘right now’ and make the most of your time. Even just five minutes in the morning can be enough to set you up for a more productive and positive day.
Download the MINDBODY app to access meditation classes