Meditation Practice Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the essential concepts for a beginning meditator?
A common myth that meditation is focused on trying to make your mind STOP will most likely increase stress instead of reduce stress.
The best practice for a new practitioner is to start sitting comfortably with a tall spine, if you need support use the support of a chair, the wall, or a cushion.
Take 5 slow and deep breaths and increase by 5 breaths per day until you reach 15 minutes.
If you notice your mind is not present say “thinking” in your mind, be aware you are not present and then bring your attention back to your breath.
I have been meditating for 34 years and I wish I would have learned sooner that mediation is not destination focused, its best if you seek to be present with what you are experiencing in the moment instead of trying to stop your mind or change your experience.
2. Do you need to sit in lotus position to successfully meditate?
Your meditation position should be supported and comfortable. You may be seated on the floor, in a chair or a standing position that supports body and breath with a tall spine the least effort and as comfortable as possible.
Lotus position is a great option for seated meditation if you can do so comfortably.
3. What are the most common types of meditation?
A. Focus techniques
1. Techniques that focus the mind and cultivate one-pointedness
a. Focusing on the breath at the opening of the nostrils
b. Envisioning a flame in a windless space
c. Envisioning the central channel
d. Practicing mantra
B. Open Techniques – Witness exercises
1. Techniques which cultivate open, spacious, nonjudgemental awareness
a. Watching your thoughts & feeling move through the mind like clouds moving through an open sky
b. Being aware of your awareness
C. Integrated Techniques
1. Techniques which integrate mental focus & open awareness
a. Focus on the spaciousness of the gaps between the breaths
b. Remembering and honoring the Universal within diversity
c. Awareness of individual & universal connection simultaneously
4. Does meditation reduce stress?
Meditation can reduce stress yet it can also increase stress. I recommend students with high anxiety start with breathwork practices then progress to mindfulness practice and then on to meditation
5. Is meditating for less than an hour helpful?
YES any amount of meditation is beneficial! Especially if meditation is a new practice for you I encourage you to gradually increase your time and to start with the:
One Breath Meditation
Take a slow and deep inhale and notice sensations in your body.
Engage a full and complete exhale as you soften your face, shoulders and hands.
6. What important elements would you include in your meditation space have in terms of ambiance?
The most important aspect of your meditation practice is your inner environment, therefore the most important aspect of your meditation space is that you can sit up with a tall spine as comfortably as possible. By creating as much physical comfort while minimizing the possibility of falling asleep, you will reduce the “monkey mind” or mental chatter that may result from being uncomfortable.
7. What items are needed in your meditation space?
The ideal mediation space is where ever you are presently. Yes, this is advanced practice to be able to center your mind, body and heart wherever you are yet it is the ultimate goal of meditation. Can you stay centered and relaxed in traffic, with a fussy child, isolated at home, watching the news, anywhere or anytime? Although it’s not easy to stay centered in a “perfect” environment, it is easier than in the midst of chaos.
8. What room temperature do you recommend for meditation spaces? What about humidity levels?
The room temperature and humidity should be set as cool as you are comfortable, which will help you stay present yet not become sleepy. Set the humidity based on your location, health conditions and ideal comfort level.
9. Do you think learning meditation in the time of COVID is a good idea?
Meditation can be practiced anywhere and anytime so it’s not surprising that many new meditators are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn and practice meditation. Meditation is a powerful practice to reduce stress and anxiety, and with the current global crisis more people are seeking out practices to reduce stress at home.
10. Is the focus of meditation to stop my mind?
A: If you notice your mind is wandering say “thinking” in your mind, guide your awareness back to your body, center your attention on the practice or technique your are working with. This isn’t a problem, it is your meditation practice.
Meditation practice helps calm your inner environment. It’s essential to sit up comfortably with a tall spine to reduce the wild monkey mind.
Post any additional questions in the comments below