Meditation is more than an act during a yoga class. Meditation is a lifelong journey. Daily practice can positively impact all areas of your life—not just your yoga practice. It has been hailed as a method of boosting mental health, improving chronic pain, and reducing stress. Most importantly, studies show it helps one develop an appreciation for the life that surrounds them.
While meditation has definitely become more mainstream in recent years, it is still highly misunderstood. Misconceptions often become barriers, blocking the profound health benefits meditation can offer, mentally and physically. For this reason, we are tackling the most common misconceptions of meditation and are offering their alternative truths.
- MYTH: Meditation only works when you are still and sitting upright.
TRUTH: According to experts, meditation can be done sitting cross-legged, on a chair, on a sofa, laying down or even while walking. Relaxing into your most comfortable position will bring a greater opportunity to connect and increase alertness. So, stop worrying about sitting like a statue. Neither movement nor position hinder meditation.
- MYTH: Effective meditation only occurs when you “empty your mind”.
TRUTH: The goal of meditation is not to stop your thoughts or even clear your mind. Meditation is the practice of being less immersed in your thoughts. It is recognizing the difference between thinking and being lost in your thoughts. Once your thoughts show up, let them go. Once you acknowledge your thoughts are temporary, they lose their power.
- MYTH: Meditation takes too much time.
TRUTH: Meditation helps improve focus. Many who meditate in the morning, report that they feel more productive throughout the day. While life is busy, a regular practice of meditation can actually create the time it consumes in your day. Decide how long you will meditate prior to beginning so that time does not become a distraction. As little as 5 minutes can offer an instant mental refresh.
- MYTH: Meditating correctly equals an immediate feeling of calm.
TRUTH: Meditation will not always result in calm. You may experience a range of feelings—uncomfortable, itchy or fidgety—this is simply resistance. If emotions overtake you, do not struggle to contain them. Let them come up and then release them. Being fully present in these feelings without losing yourself allows for healthy growth.
Now that we have addressed the most common of meditation myths, we would like to offer the most important truth the practice of meditation can teach… You are not your thoughts. Read that again. YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS. Remove their power over your everyday life. Become truly present in the moment and practice mindfulness so you can awaken to the many possibilities of your life on the mat and off the mat.
Not sure where to start? It starts with showing up. No matter your experience with yoga or meditation, Yoga Body Shop has a class for you. Our trained instructors will weave this important pillar of yoga practice into each class. Get started today with our 2-Week Introductory Offer.