Meditation – Breaking Down the Myths

Meditation at Wolgan Valley

My first attempt at meditation wasn’t very successful. In fact, I found it frustrating and really it didn’t get much better the next time either!! But I was determined to make it work, how embarrassing a Yoga teacher who can’t meditate for any longer than a few minutes. I realised that just trying to learn to do this by myself was not going to be the best way to “master” it so I signed up for an Intensive Meditation Course. It was whilst learning in a very non-threatening, casual environment that my preconceived beliefs were dispelled. I realised the many common misconceptions or myths about practicing meditation are actually what holds us back.

But let’s first explore exactly what meditation is & why we all should meditate!!

What Is Meditation?

Meditation can be defined as the ability to move into a state of stillness and clarity … Moving the mind into a state of emptiness or “turning off” the thinking process. For me, Meditation is an opportunity to simply let the mind have a rest from its every day “chatter”.

Meditation teaches us the art of “welcoming” and being mindful. And I honestly believe all individuals can use their inner strength to help nurture and heal themselves. Whilst being mindful means being aware of our thoughts, emotions, and how we are feeling both physically and mentally.

Why Meditate?

There are many styles, methods & ways to perfect a meditation practice. But, before you even start practicing meditation, you will need to establish why you are meditating in the first place!!

Some of the reasons people meditate include:-

  • Reduction of stress & anxiety
  • Improving mental health
  • As part of a religious practice
  • Finding inner peace
  • Improving sleep
  • Enhancing the feeling of being calm &/or narrowing focus
  • Clarity of thought

Establishing your WHY should be paramount before exploring the different styles of meditation.

Types Of Meditation Practices

There are generally six (6) popular types of meditation practice that you should consider exploring:

  • Mindfulness meditation.
  • Spiritual meditation.
  • Visualisation (or guided) meditation.
  • Moving meditation.
  • Mantra (or chanting) meditation.
  • Guided meditation.
  • Transcendental meditation.

Each of these meditation practices have their own benefits but what about those myths (or misconceptions) we all have about mediation?

Myth #1: You must sit upright and cross-legged

Whilst I don’t mind sitting cross-legged for short periods I don’t find it over relaxing sitting fully upright. After a few minutes, I start to feel my body begin to slump and I find myself constantly recorrecting my posture. Eventually, my knees get sore from being crossed for so long (because after years of battering away at the gym they just aren’t the same anymore). So it was a relief to be told that you can meditate pretty much anywhere!! – lying down, sitting in a chair, walking, swimming, having a shower, or practicing Yoga.

It was only after gaining this insight that I realised I was already meditating via my Yoga practice!! As well as during my morning walk and so too with me staring into space whilst savouring my morning cup a tea.

Myth #2: You must have a blank mind

How is that possible when we have up to 70,000 thoughts a day we think it’s possible to have a clear and empty mind? How can you have a blank mind when the brain is meant to think, isn’t that its function? So it’s OK to have thoughts and it’s important to permit yourself to accept that your mind may wander. All we need to do is know how to bring it back each time and not beat ourselves up about it. Eventually, with patience and time, we can teach the brain to be less busy and quieter.

Myth #3: There must be silence

I enjoy a “Guided Meditation” the most!! This is a meditation that lead you through a visual encounter keeping your mind focused on the journey. This is great if you are a visual learner like me because you can really picture yourself on that deserted beach or in that picturesque rainforest and truly create that sense of peace and tranquility. Music can also be a wonderful meditation tool I particularly love listening to the meditation bowls you can feel the vibration resonate through the whole of your body.

Myth #4: You need to devote a lot of time

Every minute in my day is accounted for I don’t have an hour a day to spare. So it’s fortunate for me that you don’t need much time at all to reap the benefits of meditation – 10 minutes and you can be done!! Sure if you have more time to spare great take longer. But once you have the skill down pat you can do it at any time, in any place for as short as 60 seconds. Imagine yourself standing in a queue at the supermarket waiting to be served, rather than stressing about the size of the queue and that you don’t have time for this, use the time more productively take a few slow deep breaths focusing on each one. You’ve just done yourself a short but powerful meditation!!

Developing Your Own Meditation Style

Meditation in today’s world is a learned behaviour – be patient and don’t judge yourself. Let the common misconceptions or myths be behind you and just start today. Over time you will refine it by learning new techniques & strategies or simply by experimenting on your own. Alternatively, if you would like to shortcut the learning process, find yourself a meditation teacher that you can relate to.

What is important though is to set up a daily practice that focuses on the breath, present moment, and without distraction. By meditating the right way, you will gain greater awareness & control over your emotions … Ultimately bringing more joy & abundance to your life!!

Want To Know More About Our Meditation?

I have developed the Pure Yoga Modern Mindfulness Meditation practice to make it easier for people to successfully adopt a daily Meditation practice.

Our Modern Mindfulness Meditation is simply a mental training practice that teaches you to welcome each moment and each thought. So that you can slow down, let go of any negativity, and calm both your mind and body.

Included in our Online Yoga Community are two (2) new (live) Meditations each week. To experience a sample of what these are like, please feel free to listen to the following …

Meditation For Acceptance

Morning Meditation

Morning Sunrise Mediation

Alternatively, if you would like to me to help you personally on your “Meditation journey”, please give me a call (0410 472 983) or shoot me an email (lthornthwaite@pureyoga.com.au) … I’d love to be of service to you!!

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