We have all seen the research that proves practicing meditation is good for improving both our mental well-being and our physical health. People of all ages, from school children to seniors, can benefit from daily mindfulness.
So why don’t more people meditate? Contrary to what some believe, meditation does not have to be weird, difficult, or take up a lot of your time.
I have listed (and debunked) the Top 10 reasons people have given me over my years as a yoga teacher as to why they are not willing to explore meditation.
1. I have to sit cross-legged or in that painful lotus position.
As long as you are keeping your spine straight, you can sit any way you like. You can even sit in a chair if it is difficult for you to get down on the floor. There is no reason to be uncomfortable while meditating. I have even known people who practice meditation while lying down, but I don’t suggest that for beginners because it’s too easy to get sleepy!
2. I have to be still to meditate.
There are many meditations that require movement, such as walking, eating, and drawing meditations. Some people are really attracted to these movement oriented meditations, while others prefer quieter, more introspective meditations. I encourage you to experiment with different types of meditation so that you can find one that works best for YOU.
3. I have to close my eyes.
There are plenty of meditations that require visual attention on a certain object with eyes wide open.
4. I have to wear special clothes.
As long as what you are wearing is comfortable, you are good to go!
5. Meditation takes too much time.
A successful meditation can be as short as one conscious breath. Most people will increase the amount of time they practice over time, but even if you only have one spare minute you can have a successful meditation!
6. I need everything to be quiet in order to meditate.
I put off meditation for years because I could never find a way to turn off all the noise around me. Cars would drive by, the refrigerator would hum, the clock would tick, the neighbor’s dog would start barking, it went on and on. Those are EXCUSES. One of my best meditation sessions happened at a busy bus stop. And you will find out that focusing on sound is one of the easiest ways to “sneak” meditation into your life.
7. Meditation is too hard.
People tend to think this because we are a goal-oriented society obsessed with end results. Meditation is a PROCESS that may or may not yield the results you expect. Don’t worry about the results, because they change over time anyway. Just put in the effort, and everything else will fall into place. Meditation is one of the easiest things you can do because it’s foolproof. Really!
8. Meditation is boring.
Meditation awakens the natural curiosity we lose as we grow into adulthood and amass real-world problems. When we are curious about something there is little room for boredom because our minds are occupied.
9. I can’t shut my mind off.
You don’t have to! There are many meditation techniques that involve following random thoughts as fast as they appear. An active mind can be a great point of focus, as long as the focus is done as an observer of the thoughts with no intervention or manipulation.
10. I don’t know how to meditate.
I have been in your shoes, and I know how difficult it is to get started. But in this age of knowledge-for-the-masses, it is easier than ever to learn about the benefits and techniques of meditation!
Meditation is like any other skill-based practice in that one improves with conscious application. Being curious about the world you live in is an important first step in awakening the mind. And mediation is to the mind what exercise is to the body, so what are you waiting for?
This was an excerpt from Kris’s book: How to Sneak More Meditation Into Your Life. If you liked it, please consider buying a copy from our bookstore.