My first attempt at meditation wasn’t very successful in-fact, I found it frustrating and really it didn’t get much better the next time either ! But I was determined to make it work, how embarrassing a yoga teacher who can’t meditate for any longer than a few minutes. I realised that just trying to learn to do this by myself was not going to be the best way to “master” it so I signed up for an Intensive Meditation Course. It was whilst learning in a very non threatening, casual environment that my preconceived beliefs were dispelled and I realised these common misconceptions are actually what hold us back.
Myth #1: You must sit upright and cross legged.
Whilst I don’t mind sitting cross legged for short periods of time I don’t find it over relaxing sitting fully upright. After a few minutes I start to feel my body begin to slump and I found myself constantly recorrecting my posture, eventually my knees got sore from being crossed for so long (because after years of battering away at the gym they just aren’t the same anymore. So it was a relief to be told that you can meditate pretty much anywhere!! Lying down, sitting in a chair, walking, swimming, having a shower, practicing yoga. I realised I was actually already meditating – my yoga practice alone was a form of meditation, my morning walk was too and so was my staring into space whilst having my morning tea.
Myth #2: You must have a blank mind
How is that possible when we have up to 70,000 thoughts a day we think it’s possible to have a clear and empty mind ? How can you have a blank mind when the brain is meant to think, isn’t that its function? So it’s OK to have thoughts and it’s important to give yourself permission to accept that your mind may wander. All we need to do is know how to bring it back each time and not beat ourselves up about it. Eventually with patience and time we can teach the brain to be less busy and more quiet.
Myth #3: There must be silence
The meditations I enjoy the most are “Guided Meditations” that lead you through a visual encounter keeping your mind focused on the journey. This is great if you are a visual learner like me because you can really picture yourself on that deserted beach or in that picturesque rainforest and truly create that sense of peace and tranquility. Music can also be a wonderful meditation tool I particularly love listening to the meditation bowls you can feel the vibration resonate through the whole of your body.
Myth #4: You need to dedicated a lot of time
Every minute in my day is accounted for I really don’t have an hour a day to spare.
You don’t need much time at all to reap the benefits of meditation, in 10 minutes and you can be done ! Sure if you have more time to spare great take longer . But once you have the skill down pat you can do it at any time, in any place for as short as 60 seconds. Imagine yourself standing in a queue at the supermarket waiting to be served , rather than stressing about the size of the queue and that you don’t have time for this, use the time more productively take a few slowly deep breaths focusing on each one. You’ve just done yourself a short but powerful meditation!!
Meditation in todays world is a learned behaviour – be patient and don’t judge yourself let the myths be behind you and start today. Refine it & learn new techniques and strategies by taking a meditation course or simply experimenting on your own.