Meditation has become a popular recommendation to habituate in order to reduce stress and gain clarity of mind. However, there seems to be a looming intimation when it comes to sitting cross-legged and breathing for 20 minutes. Monica Adams, a meditation studio owner, and mindset coach debunks the top 4 myths on meditation to ease the mystery around this ancient practice.

1. I have to clear my mind in order to meditate, but my mind is too busy to turn off.

Many believe the first step in meditation is to turn off their brainpower. Not only is this not true it’s also not possible. The term, mindfulness was coined for a reason. We need our minds to breathe, become self-aware, and observe our thoughts.

“Trying to give your mind a command to stop thinking is as effective as giving your heart a command to stop beating- it doesn’t work.” – Emily Fletcher, Author of Stress Less, Accomplish More

Rather than asking our thoughts to stop, redirect them. Of course, where you redirect your thoughts depends upon the meditation style you choose. A grateful body scan is a great meditation, to start with. To try it simply bring all of your awareness to each body part, feel gratitude for its capability, and breath ease into it.

2. Meditation Takes Too Much Time

While I recommend a good 20 minutes for an optimal meditation experience you can work your way up to that timeframe and begin with a 3-minute dip into bliss.

The reason why meditation isn’t a priority for most is that it hasn’t been given a fair chance. Once you begin your practice and commit to it, you will wonder what took you so long to start!

Begin by sitting upright, eyes gently closed, and call to mind a loved-one whether that be a friend, family member, or even your pet. See there eyes, smile, and full-face as if they are right in front of you. Enjoy the feeling of love, gratitude, and joy you have when thinking of how much this person means to you. Bring your hands to your heart and lock in this feeling into your center. I’m willing to bet it will begin to feel so wonderful you will surpass 3 minutes.

3. Expecting A Transcendent Experience

While meditation has a great PR representation to envoke an out-of-body, ethereal, life-changing experience, expecting that will sabotage the subtle joy it brings.

Our instant gratification culture has diluted our ability to enjoy an unfolding process. Yes, we can feel a radical shift in our well-being, however, this typically happens post-meditation. After the 20 minutes have passed and we’re called to blink our eyes open.

If we go into a meditation with the expectation to feel enlightened after 2 minutes we’re setting ourselves up not only for failure but for frustration, not meditation.

4. It’s Only For Yogis

Meditation doesn’t play favorites. It is available to the young, old, the sports fan and the executive. You don’t need to be spiritual or hold a headstand as a pre-requisite to meditate.

Most of my meditation studio members aren’t yoginis, their simply people who want to reduce their stress and find peace within their day.

The only requirement is time, mindful awareness, and an open heart.

When will you begin your meditation practice?