The simple answer is yes of course it can but……
Traditionally speaking, meditation is something that spiritual practitioners spent years perfecting. You may have an image of an ancient yogi with a long white beard, meditating quietly in a cave for his entire life. Perhaps a disciplined Buddhist monk who practises meditation for many hours each day in the temple.
These images are not incorrect and there are people across the world who make their meditation practice a key aspect of their lifestyle. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the way that we all practice.
In this article, we are going to be placing our focus on whether meditation can be done just in your spare time or whether it needs to play a more significant role in your life.
Can You Meditate As A Hobby?
No two people are the same and no one can tell you that how you practice meditation is right or wrong. In short, as long as each session provides you with some sort of benefit or pleasure, there is no reason that meditation cannot be merely hobby.
However, in order to see the true and long lasting benefits of meditation, your practice does need to be high on your priority list. You will also need to create a consistent practice.
Many people enjoy engaging in a hobby such as gardening, cooking or reading so why shouldn’t we do meditation as a hobby? This is not an activity that requires any particular skills to get started and there is no denying that meditation is fun; these are both things that are similar to other hobbies.
One of the things about meditation that causes some people to say that it cannot be used as a hobby is that the goal of this practice is to train the mind and calm the thoughts with the intention of obtaining better mental clarity, improved focus and concentration and lower tension levels. However, in order to achieve this, meditation is something that needs to be incorporated into your life with some sort of routine.
That being said, there is no reason why you cannot do hobby meditation but what we need to keep in our minds is that the results of this experience may be vastly different.
One part of meditation that draws in a lot of people is the fact that it can greatly contribute to our stress levels and even a single session can have hugely calming benefits. You don’t need any special ability, all it takes is to lie on a yoga mat, sit in a seat or even take a walk through nature and focus on your breathing. This mindfulness meditation can go a long way in meeting your goal of reducing tension.
What’s more, meditation can merely be a pleasurable experience and something that a lot of people do purely for this reason. Meditating is often incorporated into a lot of other well being practices such as yoga, tai chi and even mental health care. For this reason, it is entirely possible to do a single meditation hobby practice and still enjoy a lot of the benefits.
Going beyond that, meditation does not have to be the simple act of sitting and focusing on breathing techniques or altering your train of thought. There are many hobbies that already exist which can be meditative. The very nature of meditation is that you focus on the present moment and just because the tradition act involves keeping the body still and is something almost akin to a ritual, this doesn’t mean that your experience of it has to be this way.
For example, getting out into the garden, reading books, walking in nature or swimming can all be hobbies that encourage you to be in the present moment and notice sensations in the body and thoughts in the mind.
What Age Should You Start Meditating?
One of the most wonderful things about meditating is that there is no right or wrong age to start. Of course, very young children may not be able to fully grasp the concept so it is important to wait until they are at a point in their life where meditation makes a little sense.
However, we are all different and when and how we begin will depend on the individual. As a general rule, children as young as three or four years old can begin meditating although their practice won’t likely be anything like that of an adult.
But what is truly amazing is what happens in the brain when we meditate. While it is clear that, in order to experience the full benefits of this type of practice, you will need to work on your meditating skills every day, changes in the brain happen even in just a single meditation.
The best way to describe how meditation works is to talk about how it causes a reduction in the flow of beta waves. The parietal lobe, one of the brain hemispheres responds to this by slowing down and as a result, this causes the senses to slow too. Because of this reaction, the mind is then much more easily able to calm down and focus.
But there are other ways in which this hobby can affect us physically and most of them are incredibly good. For example, meditation is known to reduce the blood pressure and this can help heart health. It has also been shown to improve mental health which is something that we all need to pay attention to with the increasing pressure we find ourselves under in our day to day lives.
For all of these reasons and more, it makes sense to begin meditating as early as possible. The sooner that we allow ourselves to begin this hobby, the sooner we can benefit from it.
What Are 3 Types Of Meditation?
There is a common misconception that there are only three types of meditation whereas this is a complex exercise that comes in many forms. When you are looking at developing a meditation hobby, you may want to try something that is similar to the traditional forms of meditating that we are accustomed to seeing. There are many meditation groups where you can become a member and practice with others, or you can get started from the comfort of your own own, even if you have no ability or previous experience; meditation is one of the few habits that doesn’t require extensive studies, although it can help.
Mindfulness meditation is potentially the most popular method. It involves keeping yourself in the present moment, typically by focusing on the breath and allowing yourself to feel things that happen in the body and in the mind. It allows you to develop a greater sense of self, improve your focus and calm your stress levels.
Focused meditation is often done by using your one or more of the senses. Most commonly people will use their sight and focus their attention on anything in the room. Many will light candles and place their attention on the flame. Again, this helps to gain a greater understanding of the self and it does this by allowing you to work on your concentration.
Mantra meditation involves chanting a mantra in order to create positive changes. This mantra is often seen as an intention and everyone will have something different.
Transcendental meditation is one of the types of this exercise that requires teaching. Students are given mantras that are unique to them and everyone has something different. This meditation is typically done for 20 minutes twice a day and the results on the body and mind are said to be phenomenal.
Movement meditation combines meditating with other activities such as qigong, yoga or tai chi.
Progressive relaxation is a great form of meditation is you are looking for something to lower your tension level and promote relaxation. With the eyes closed, you draw your attention to each part of the body and relax it.
Visualisation is a great meditation hobby as it involves using the mind to conjure up images. But it is important to not only see these images in the mind but allow yourself to feel them by engaging the senses. A lot of people use this practice to set intentions and help them to achieve goals alongside other encouraging activities such as self help books and breathing techniques.
Loving kindness meditation involves opening up the self to the love and compassion of others whilst also developing these feelings in your own mind. This can be a great way of strengthening your bond with loved ones and all the other people in the world.
Spiritual meditation is used all over the world by those who are looking to develop a connection to a higher power. This is typically a religious practice, often seen in faiths such as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. Regardless of whether you believe in a God or Deity, the power of the universe or another form of higher consciousness, this type of meditation might work well for you.
Can Yoga Be A Hobby?
Much like meditation, yoga is something that a lot of people believe to be more of a way of life than a hobby. However, similarly to meditating, the point of yoga is to calm the mind, relax and ultimately, have fun. If you download any yoga app and listen to the intructor, they will tell you that the very nature of the technique is to enjoy yourself.
Yes, there are ancient practitioners who have a much more disciplined and serious practice but it is also important to remember that these people were far from a stick in mud and valued the quality of things like love, laughter and joy so why wouldn’t yoga be something that can be done for enjoyment?
The best part about yoga is that you can do it from home. As we mentioned, a yoga app can be a very useful tool but you may also wish to follow an online teaching series. This is also a very beneficial exercise and will contribute to your overall health and well being.
But again, if you wanted to see constant results, you may need to develop a regular practice. However, just doing yogic sessions once a week can be enjoyable and can help to focus the mind and calm you.
Practitioners all around the world spend time meditating and while this is a tradition that is largely associated with the east, in western culture, meditating has become an interest for many people.
But when we read about it on the internet or hear our friends talking about it, we are often led to believe that meditating is something that must involve significant lifestyle adjustments with meditation taking center stage.
While it is true that meditating can form a larger, more significant practice, it is also perfectly possible to do this as a hobby, committing to no more or less than you find enjoyable. Even using meditation like this will see you taking advantage of the many benefits of a meditation practice such as a heightened sense of self, improved concentration and deep relaxation.
But it is also worth remembering that meditation doesn’t always have to be done in a cross legged position with the eyes closed and the hands at the heart. The very nature of this practice is about calm, peace and being present. This means that in the event you are unable to sit and concentrate on the breath, you can still meditate. The best way to do this is by doing another hobby that will allow you to immerse yourself in the present; this could be listening to music, reading, gardening, exploring nature or walking, perhaps. This is your practice and you are free to enjoy it in any form that you see fit; the key is exactly that – enjoyment.