Do you think meditation is always relaxing? Are you confused about if yoga is a religious practice? Keep reading because we have set the record straight with 6 common misconceptions of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.
5 Common Misconceptions About Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga
1. During mindfulness and meditation you need to quiet your mind
Trying to quiet your mind is like herding cats.
When you tell someone not to think of a pink elephant, the first thing they do is think of a pink elephant.
The whole idea of mindfulness is to become aware of your thoughts, not try to stop them.
When we notice our thoughts, we have the option to gently redirect our attention back to the breath.
This notion is similar to the quote by Jon-Kabat Zinn:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
Just as in life, we can’t stop any things that are out of our control- the only thing we can control is how we respond to them.
Mindfulness practices strengthen our ability to respond to our thoughts and life circumstances in healthy and productive ways.
2. Mindfulness is Always Relaxing...
This is not always the case.
Although mindfulness meditation can be relaxing when practicing at certain times- it can also feel tortuous, tumultuous, and stressful at other times.
It's important to remember that every day and each moment is unique.
Every time we show up to our practice our minds, energy levels, and attitudes are different.
Try to let go of your expectations and what you think mindfulness meditation should look like.
3. Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga are religious practices
Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga are secular and scientific processes that increases one's ability to pay attention to the present moment with kind awareness.
We are essentially training our mind to focus more efficiently by anchoring our attention to the body and breath.
You do not need to follow any particular spiritual or religious path to practice mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
4. You need to formally practice meditation first thing in the morning, sitting on the floor with your legs crossed like a pretzel and a straight back- no moving!
I like to encourage my students to not be so rigid when approaching mindfulness practice.
It's all about finding what works best for you.
I personally meditate lying down.
After a long day of teaching high school, lying down feels more like self care to me and I actually look forward to this part of my day.
Some people would find that they would fall asleep practicing the way that I do and would rather practice earlier in the day sitting up.
We are all unique.
The main thing is to find a comfortable pain-free position.
This could look like lying on the couch with a pillow under your knees to support your lower back, swinging in a hammock outside, or sitting on a park bench.
Check out the blog post: What Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga Look Like to get some ideas on what your practice can look like.
5. You need to practice meditation for years before you see results
Researchers have found that the brain changes in as little as eight weeks of mindfulness meditation.
They found that the gray matter in the brain, responsible for emotional regulation and problem solving increased in density.
They also found that the part of the brain responsible for the stress response, the amygdala, decreased in size.
Check out the blog post 10 Science-backed Benefits of Mindfulness.
The key to seeing results is consistency.
Frequency of practice is more important than duration.
For example, doing a 5 minute mindfulness practice daily will be more beneficial than doing a 20 minute practice twice a week.
Interested in reaping the benefits of mindfulness practice? Join the FREE 7 Day Mindfulness Challenge.
Join the FREE 7 Day Mindfulness Challenge
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Hi, I'm Alyssa
Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and herbal medicine have been fundamental to my own journey in life. I hope to share my experiences and perspectives in order to inspire and connect with others.