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Meditation Myths

by Heather Schuerlein, L.Ac, Dipl.OM

      Meditation Myths, Adirondack Wellness Group in Queensbury, NY

Zen. Om. Mindfulness. Have you come across these words lately? Mindfulness and meditation have gotten the spotlight in recent times as fabulous ways to improve your mental and physical health. Many cultures use these techniques, and meditation has a long history as an age-old practice for health and well-being. Most Americans today have heard of meditation, yet some are still hesitant to jump in. There are so many benefits of this practice, but unfortunately there are also a lot of myths out there that discourage people from trying it for themselves. Let’s debunk a few of these myths and set you up for a sustainable meditation habit.

Meditation is still and quiet

When you think of meditation, do you envision a Buddhist monk, dressed in robes, sitting cross-legged and frozen in time? While this is a common idealization of meditation, it is not the only way. Some forms of the meditation do recommend still, quiet practice, but there are many ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your life.

One of my favorite ways to meditate is to listen to a guided meditation, while relaxing in a comfortable position. This can be sitting or even lying down, as long as you don’t fall asleep! (But if you do, that’s okay too). There are endless sessions on Youtube to try. Check this one out for overthinking and anxiety by Jason Stephenson. (Jason's meditations are fantastic and free, and one of my favorites. There are plenty of others to try if you don't like those. Just type in "guided meditation" into the search bar and find something that resonates with you). 

Have you ever gone on a walk to clear your head? That sounds like walking meditation! While some practices encourage using a labyrinth path, you can take any walk, preferably in nature, and make it a meditation. Check out Jack Kornfield’s method for walking mediation and try it out the next time you need some embodied connectedness.

I am too busy for meditation

After a busy day of work, kids, cleaning, social activities, or whatever you have on your plate, it’s easy to feel that there just isn’t enough time in the day for meditation. But the reality is that mediation can take as few as 5 minutes! Even a small session can transform your headspace and make you more productive. Once you develop a habit, you’ll find yourself wanting to set aside more time, or practice a few times per day. One of my favorite books is about meditation for busy people, entitled “Breath Mamma Breathe” by Shonda Moralis. As a working Mom running my own practice, going to school, and taking care of a household, time is not an abundant commodity. This book helped me carve out a minute or two for myself.

One of the best times to meditate is right when you wake up in the morning. To start a fool-proof mediation practice, set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier in the mornings. Your body won’t miss those ten minutes of sleep, but your mind will benefit greatly from the dedicated time. Studies have shown that meditation can actually change your brain plasticity – helping you to adapt better habits, relieve pain patterns, and be happier. Anyone can find a few minutes a day for that!

Meditation is religious

While many religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, use meditation as part of their spiritual practice, meditation is not inherently tied to any one religion. Meditation is the act of slowing down, focusing on your breath and your environment, and calming the mental chatter in our brains. If you are a spiritual person, there are many ways to make your meditation practice a spiritual practice if you so wish. At its core, however, meditation is for anyone as it is your own personal practice.

Find your Zen

One of the best things about meditation is that it doesn’t require anything at all to start. All you need is a comfy place to sit, your mind, and your breath. If you enjoy a little guidance with your meditation, you’re in luck. These days there are so many awesome (and free!) resources out there to get started and help build your confidence. You Tube is a great starting place for mediation music, relaxation, and guided meditation. Daily OM also offers mindfullness based classes very reasonably priced. Remember, mediation is a practice. You won’t be “good” at it; the process is the journey. So carve out some time and zen out!

Dr. Bryan Schuerlein offers Chiropractic Acupuncture Queensbury in Queensbury, NY