Science and Western medicine are now proving what Ayurveda has known for thousands of years, that meditation is good for your mind, body and spirit. With today’s hectic lifestyles and technology invading every aspect of our day, meditation is the best method for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Plus, it only has positive side effects! So let’s debunk a few meditation myths.
Myth #1 – Meditation is hard
The myth is that you have to sit in the lotus position in a quiet place and float a foot above the ground to receive any benefit from yoga. The truth is that you can be sitting in any position — on the floor or in a chair — and anywhere. I often meditate on airplanes. Many people think meditation is hard because they are only focused on the results and whether or not they are doing it right. The fact of the matter is meditation is as simple as being mindful of your breath in and breath out. There are many styles of meditation and it is good to seek out a meditation teacher to help you get started, find the style for you, and then maintain a practice.
Myth #2 – Your mind needs to be completely empty to meditate
Thoughts are a normal part of your life. If you had no thoughts, you wouldn’t be living. So, consider thoughts as visitors. They have a beginning and an end. That little space between each thought is what we consider “The Gap” where you can slip into pure consciousness and pure peace while meditating. You have complete control over how much attention you give your thoughts. When a thought comes into your mind during meditation, simply recognize it for what it is, and then let it go. You may feel that you have way more thoughts than anyone else, but that isn’t true. We all have them. Just being able to recognize it as a thought and letting it go will benefit your practice.
Myth #3 – It takes years and years to receive any benefits from meditation
Actually, the benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. There are so many scientifically proven benefits to meditation. Check out some scientific studies here.
Myth #4 – There isn’t enough time in the day to meditate
The great thing about meditation is that you’ll discover physical, emotional and lifestyle benefits from meditating even just five minutes per day. Paradoxically, if you devote time to meditation each day, you’ll find that you have more time for the things you love. Try to give five minutes in the morning to meditation every day. Once that becomes a habit, add five minutes in the evening. Then you can gradually start to add minutes on to the length of your meditation. You’ll find that you will be able to accomplish more by doing less when you have a regular meditation practice.
Myth #5 – You must be religious or spiritual to practice meditation
The truth is that meditation doesn’t require any specific religious or spiritual beliefs. Many people with various religious beliefs practice meditation without any conflicts with their religious beliefs. Some consider it contemplative prayer. Many people meditate just to experience an inner quiet and the numerous physical and emotional benefits of the practice.
Myth #6 – I am doing it wrong if I don’t have an out-of-body experience
Some people expect the classic hippie tales of meditation where you might see colors, moving images, have visions, levitate out of your body. While you can have feelings of extreme peace, calm and bliss while meditating, the real “experience” and benefits of meditation are seen outside of our meditation practices when we are going about our daily lives. The calm, peace and oneness that we cultivate during our practice carries into our daily lives and allows us to be more creative, compassionate and centered.
About the Author
Rochelle Barcellona is an animal-loving, family-and-friends-embracing, yoga-meditation-and-ayurveda-teaching, happy red-headed yogi who owns Nourish Mind Body & Spirit in Northern California. You may learn more about Rochelle here. Rochelle may be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and 916-353-5200.
(Photo of Rochelle courtesy of Bella Barcellona Photography.)