We’ve received a lot of questions about how, exactly, one should meditate since launching the March Meditation Challenge. We asked Lifters in the Meditate habit to share the techniques they use.
Time of Day
Rise and shine, most people on Lift meditate in the morning.
Does the time of day affect how quickly you benefit from meditation? Our data says not really. Two-thirds of all survey respondents started feeling benefits within a week and that percentage stayed constant regardless of what time of day you meditated.
Three-fourths of survey respondents reported that they sit on the floor or a chair when they meditate. If you don’t like to sit, you can lie down, walk, stand, or do yoga. One person reported meditating as they swam. The most important thing is to find a position that you’re comfortable staying in for the duration of the session. It’s hard enough to maintain focus without your foot falling asleep!
The next most popular position after sitting was lying down. Surely you’d fall asleep, especially if you are one of the 86% of people who close their eyes when they meditate, right? If you do fall asleep, take comfort in knowing that more than half of survey respondents (58%) had fallen asleep during a meditation session at least once.
Choosing a style of meditation may seem like the most overwhelming decision to make when you first start meditating but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t be anxious about about choosing the right style immediately. Experiment with different styles, apps and techniques until you find what works best for you.
"What style of meditation do you practice?"
We see all sorts of styles on Lift. The most popular include:
- Counting your breath: great for beginners.
- Guided meditation: following the instructions of a teacher in person or via an app/recording. Instructors will take you through various awareness excercises like counting your breath, scanning your body, noticing sounds and visuals around you. Great for beginners.
- Mindfulness Meditation: Defined by expert Jon Kabat-Zinn as ‘moment to moment non-judgmental awareness.’ Related styles are Vispassana/Buddhist.
- Zazen: Seated meditation with roots in Zen Buddhism.
- Yoga incorporates meditation, too.
Click on the terms in the word cloud to go to a google search of the word. To learn more about different meditation styles, you can also browse the check-in notes in the Meditate habit & ask questions using the comment feature.
Length of Session
We mentioned this in our last post, but when you’re just getting started begin with small sessions and build up the duration over time. Most people on Lift meditated between 3-5 minutes per session when they first began the habit.
Don’t feel like you need to work up to a crazy session length, either. Lifters meditate an average of 16.8 minutes per session.
Need more help?
44% of people who signed up for the March Meditation Challenge are meditating regularly for the first time. The same percentage of people reported feeling frustrated during their sessions.
What do first-timers struggle with?
- Fitting the habit into their current schedule
- Not enjoying their session/getting bored
- Fidgeting or being unable to concentrate during a session
- Anxiety over whether they’re doing it “right”
You might be surprised to learn that frustration with your meditation practice didn’t correlate to experience level: you had a 50% chance of feeling frustrated regardless of how long you’d practiced meditation. As a wise Lifter told us:
"Give it time – meditation is a process, not a goal. Follow your own rhythm & you’ll get the results you need."
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