The Mind is technically a processor. Always processing information from everything around you, anything that’s picked up through any of your senses. The busier your world, the more information you end up taking in.
Meditation is about slowing your thoughts down. Allowing you to take on one piece at a time to identify quickly as to whether it serves you. Sitting with your thoughts may seem scary, but you’d be surprised at how much easier it becomes the more you practice. Like brushing your teeth, it become part of your daily routine.
1. Length of time vs. consistency of practice
Length of time
Similar to how there are many types of meditation to choose from, you can also choose what length of time you meditate for. Some meditation have specific times associated with, others are more liberal and you can choose. It comes down to what effect each meditation, and meditating time has on the body and mind.
In Kundalini Yoga, the advised length of meditation times are:
- 3 minutes: improves circulation and stabilizes the blood.
- 11 minutes: begins to changes the nervous and glandular system.
- 22 minutes: balances the three minds (positive, neutral and negative) so they work in sync with one another.
- 31 minutes: allows the glands, breath, and concentration to affect all the cells and rhythms of the body.
- 62 minutes: changes the gray matter in the brain. The subconscious “shadow mind” and the outer projection are integrated.
- 2-1/2 hours: changes the psyche in its co-relation with the surrounding magnetic field so that the subconscious mind is held firmly in the new pattern by surrounding universal mind.
But the most important part of your meditation practice is not so much length of time, it is consistency of practice.
Consistency of practice
For the long term, a daily practice of 3 minutes is better than once per week of 62 minutes. And yogic science says that the number of days you spend on a specific meditation has a specific result as well. In Kundalini Yoga, we often practice a meditation for 40 days.
- 40 days = to make change a habit.
- 90 days = to confirm the habit.
- 120 days = the new habit is who you are.
- 1000 days = you have mastered the new habit.
While a 3-minute practice has a different effect on the body and mind to a 62-minute practice, the body is really like any other instrument. A consistent practice trains the Mind over a period of time (hence why we refer to changing, making and confirming habits).
For example, it’s the same with playing an instrument like a guitar. According to Guitar Habits: “If you have only one hour to play over the entire week, it is better to practice every day for 5 to 10 minutes than get it all done in one hour on a Saturday morning.”
2. Choosing your mediation
You may be a beginner, or a dabbler in meditation, but a key thing with choosing your meditation is looking at what you want to achieve.
For example, if you want to improve your relationship with yourself and those around you, then a Loving Kindness Meditation might be a good choice. Or if you want to balance any negative thoughts (or the negative mind) then a Wahe Guru Wahe Jio meditation may be useful. You may just want to have some peace and quite, so a Tratak Meditation (a gazing meditation) might be most suitable. Because meditations is part of so many different traditions, there is a great number of meditations to choose from.
3. Take the pressure off – how to get started
While the Yogi’s say it’s good to meditate every morning (between 3-6am), this isn’t always possible.
It’s good to meditate at the beginning of your day so you can take your practice with you throughout the day. All you need to do is get the meditation done in your waking hours. If you feel you’re really strapped for time, sit on the bathroom floor straight after you’ve showered, sit on the kitchen floor while something is cooking in the oven, or even just before you go to sleep at night.
Here are two tips to get you started:
- Set an alarm in the morning to do a 3-minute meditation. Aim to do the meditation practice daily, for 7 days. Develop a habit or ritual.
- If you miss your morning slot, don’t panic. Review the day ahead and reset your alarm for a time that is more suitable. Aim to do the meditation in your waking hours.
Both a 3-minute and an 11-minute meditation can be squeezed into your busy day. But do what works for you to get started.
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