Family obligations! Work! The news! Turning your mind off from the distractions that buzz around all day can be a seriously difficult feat. Enter meditation: it's one way to help detach from the craziness of life, and instead experience that inner calm we all strive to settle into, even if it's just for a few minutes each day.
Not convinced you can actually meditate? Trust us, you can. Below we debunk the common myths many newbies fall for — and offer up suggestions that can help you find your inner zen instead.
Myth: You Have to Sit On the Floor
When someone says the word "meditation," it often brings up an image of a woman sitting on a yoga mat in a quiet room; the scent of incense wafting in the air. But none of those things really needs to happen in order to calm your mind. With focus, meditation can happen anywhere — on the train, at the gym, even in between meetings at work. Start with a simple breathing exercise before letting your mind wander for a few minutes.
Myth: You Need Lots of Time
An all-too-common misconception is that meditation requires a ton of time and effort. Sure, a yoga class or meditation retreat requires some commitment, but a daily habit of self-reflection — one that lasts five minutes or less! — can be just as beneficial. Make it a part of your morning routine, before jumping out of bed and pouring a cup of coffee.
Myth: You Need a Reason to Meditate
For some, meditation is an escape from a concrete thing — say, a stressful work life or an unhealthy addiction. But that doesn't mean you need a specific motivation for wanting to meditate. Truth is, you can do it simply because you think it'll be good for your mental health — and that’s more than enough.
Myth: You Must Also Practice Yoga
Oftentimes, the terms meditation and yoga are used interchangeably. While the two practices can incorporate the other, you don't need to be able to nail a downward dog to practice self-reflection. Remember, meditation can happen anywhere — and, with enough focus, under any condition — so don’t wait for your next vinyasa class to engage your brain.
Myth: Meditation Follows a Certain Order
When it comes to focus and relaxation , there is no right or wrong. Sure, there are suggestions and tips, but the most important realization is figuring out what works for you. The secret lies in a bit of self-reflection, trial and error, and trusting your body’s best judgment.
Myth: Meditation Means Tapping Into Religion
For some, meditation can be a truly spiritual experience. For others, it’s simply a way to detach from the world and clear your mind of toxic thoughts. Either way, both versions are equally valid, and one can choose to make it about religion or not.
Myth: Meditation Should Solve a Problem
Most exercises have an end point or goal, but meditation doesn't have to — it's more of an ongoing process without structure. So you don’t need any rhyme, reason or problem for engaging in self-reflection. All are welcome to meditate whenever, wherever, however.