Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, has become extremely popular over
the last few years. While meditation can be very simple, there are several common
mistakes and misconceptions about meditation that you’ll want to avoid if you’re new to
Getting started on the right foot increases the odds of maintaining your meditation
practice and getting the most benefits from it.
Use these tips to avoid meditation pitfalls:
1. Sit up straight. Slouching may be comfortable for a couple of minutes, but it
takes more strength than you think to support poor posture. Sit up straight and
let your skeleton support your weight.
2. Start slowly. Just a couple of minutes is enough to start. There are two good
reasons for this. It’s easier to be compliant when you only have to sit for three
minutes at a time. It’s also challenging to meditate for an extended period of
time if you’re not experienced.
3. Meditate multiple times each day. By sitting for just a couple of minutes, you
should have time to sit for multiple sessions. You might want to try meditating
for a few minutes each hour.
4. It’s all about the breath. Your breath connects you to the moment and helps to
keep your mind focused. The breath isn’t something to be focused on intensely,
rather it acts as an anchor to maintain awareness of the present.
5. Count if necessary. If you’re struggling to maintain awareness of your breath,
count your breaths. Count each inhalation until you’ve reached five and then
6. Keep your eyes opened slightly. It’s easier for your mind to wander from the
present if your eyes are closed. Keep your gaze lowered and soft.
7. Acknowledge thoughts but avoid dwelling on them. All thoughts should be
treated the same. They’re just phenomena passing through. Let them go and
return your attention to the breath.
8. Be patient. It seems like it should be easy to concentrate for a few minutes, but
the mind likes to stay busy. It’s a challenging habit to break. Be patient.
9. Sit comfortably. It’s not necessary to sit with your legs folded up like a pretzel.
Any position that can be held comfortably for the planned time is good enough.
10. Use a timer. Without a timer, you’ll find yourself worrying about the time and
continue to peek at the clock. Set a reliable timer and you won’t be as
preoccupied with the time.
11. Increase your meditation time by 5 minutes each week. Avoid the temptation
to progress too quickly. Ideally, you’ll look forward to your meditation sessions.
Progressing too quickly causes restlessness and agitation.
12. Consider getting expert assistance. There are many free opportunities to
meditate with others. Look for local meetups or contact your local Buddhist
temple. With so many people meditating, you’re bound to find an expert willing
13. Take every opportunity to meditate. Meditating at home under perfect
conditions is great practice, but the ultimate goal is to have the ability to
meditate anywhere. A skilled meditator can meditate on a 99-degree packed,
loud, smelly, subway.
14. Be persistent. If you’re meditating each day with the full intention of improving,
you’ll eventually become a skilled meditator.
15. Stretch first. Your meditation position should be comfortable and easy. If your
position feels like a stretch, you won’t be comfortable. Stretch first.
16. There’s no reason to be concerned about your hands. Just place your hands
comfortably on your lap. Allowing your hands to be lower can eventually pull
down on the shoulders and become uncomfortable.
Meditation can bring you both mental and physical benefits. Use these tips when
beginning to meditate and you’ll quickly become skillful at a practice you can enjoy
for the rest of your life.
If you are looking for mindfulness tools to get started we invite you to use any of our free resources. These can be found on our website. www.tlpearson.co