Your Meditation Questions Answered!
Wow! I got so many off-line questions about meditation, I thought that I would take a minute to answer some of the most common ones. It feels like many of you are really interested in meditating (which really is another form of prayer, so no wonder you are drawn to it!) but are wanting a little more logistical guidance.
1. How long should you meditate?
The pinnacle (according to the Chopra Center) would be 20-30 minutes, 2 times a day.
This is a little lofty for beginners, so I would say once a day for 20-30 minutes is a great start.
If you are using guided meditation, your timer is built in. I use my phone timer (turn the volume down low) if I am not following a guided meditation.
2. When should you meditate?
Ideally, you should meditate first thing in the morning. Why? First, because are mind has yet to get overloaded with thoughts. Second, you will be less likely to skip if it is the first thing we do. And third, it sets the tone for our whole day.
When I’m in my routine, I get up about an hour before the kids wake up and get straight to it! No email or text checking first!
3. Where should you meditate?
You are best off to pick one quiet and comfortable location and stick with it. You will notice your “place” will have a pavlovian effect on you – your mind will settle down be just being in your meditation spot. Make your spot special: I like to burn a little candle when I meditate.
4. How should I sit when I meditate?
You can sit any way you want! No, you do not HAVE to be in a lotus position with your hands in gian mudra…
I like to sit in a comfortable chair because my hips and back distract me if I’m sitting on the floor. I usually choose not to lay down (but you can!) because I’ll fall asleep. I have a blanket handy to keep warm! I usually keep my hand lying in my lap, palms up. That feels comfortable to me.
5. What do I do when I meditate?
If you are using a guided meditation, like the one offered for free during the 21-day Meditation Challenge, all you need to do is listen and relax. Focusing on the words should keep you from thinking too much about your list :) But, if those thoughts creep in, don’t fret or berate yourself for doing it “wrong.” There is no right or wrong! Just gently re-focus your attention.
If you are doing your own meditation there are two easy ways you can do this:
One, is a breathing meditation. During this you focus on your breath. You can count to 6 on the inhale, then count to 6 on the exhale.
The second is a “mantra” meditation. Select a word you would like to repeat in your head as you are relaxing. You can pick words like…peace, relax, release. You can also pick a sanskrit mantra like Soham – pronounce So Hum.
I remember thinking that speaking in sanskrit was creepy and cultish, but now I’m totally over it and actually prefer it. Since the words have no meaning to me, they produce less thoughts.
6. What should I expect to happen during and after meditation?
If you are a really good meditator you should expect a mystical, out-of body experience, wherein your spirit leaves the physical body and travels in your astral body.
Got you! I’m totally kidding.
You should expect to:
a) fall asleep
b) have thoughts
c) pay attention to guided words or your mantra
That’s it, guys!
After meditation is the most important part. As Davidji says, it isn’t about the 30 minutes of meditation, its all about the 23 1/2 hours after. Think of meditation like going to the gym: you wouldn’t expect to lose 10 pounds after one day, but you will feel the benefits immediately. So stick with it.
I hope this helps! Please keep asking questions if you have more! I am so excited that so many of you are willing to try it. Let’s check in after a couple weeks and see how we all are doing!