20 minutes generally is the optimal time but it really depends on your goal. More and more people are realising the benefits of meditation and as such, many of us have developed a meditation practice as part of our self care routine. Researchers have noted that more than 14% of people in the USA have tried meditation, proving its popularity.
However, a lot of people ask the question of what is the appropriate length of time for a meditation session and how often a practitioner should meditate to get the most results?
In this article, we are going to be looking at the right length of time for a meditation session and how many meditation sessions you should be doing every day.
How Long Should I Meditate For?
If you are practising a mindfulness meditation, experts recommend spending around 40 minutes a day on this type of practice. However, the popular Transcendental Meditation that many people favour suggests doing half of that at just 20 minutes every day.
20 minutes seems to be an optimal time for your daily meditation since other types, such as Benson Meditations suggest doing 20 minutes each day. However, when we look at one of the more disciplined practices such as the Shamatha meditations practised by monks and nuns in Tibet, we see that their goal is just 5 minutes or 10 minutes for one session. The monks and nuns would take part in these five minutes practices many times per day.
But, with all of this in mind, when you think about the amount of time you should spend on your meditation practice, the truth is that it is a very personal decision.
You might compare this to a physical practice; where one person may be able to spend 30 minutes doing strenuous exercise sessions, other people might find that longer periods are too much.
With this in mind, it is crucial that each meditator finds a balance in her or her own practice. Meditators should spend enough time per day doing meditation so that they feel the benefit but not so much time that they feel that meditation has exhausted them.
According to Chopra developing a regular meditation practice is essential. There have been more and more studies that have shown that they benefits of meditation are more easily accessed when participants commit to a daily practice; this is sure to bring excellent results.
Whether you are taking part in mindfulness practices or spending time with a meditation teacher, doing this on a regular basis is one of the best ways to see the benefit.
Many people try to incorporate a meditation experience into their day every day, but the problem is that they are not consistent with this. Meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety but these emotions may only be exacerbated if you are trying to replicate the one time that you managed a 90 minute session.
For most people, 30 minutes per day will be sufficient. This allows you to incorporate meditation in your life without disrupted other aspects of your life.
Can You Meditate Multiple Times A Day?
One question that comes up time and time again is whether it is OK to meditation more than once each day. If this is one of the things that has been plaguing you, you will be pleased to know that, where meditation is concerned, anything is possible. The most important things are that you are comfortable and your practice is developed for you.
While others may do meditation once a day, some people find that they can fit more into their daily life.
The question is really about the quality of your meditation. There is very little point doing three separate meditations in any one day if you are not getting a positive result from the practice. It is much better to do one meditation each day and take something from it.
But once again, this is a very personal choice. Some people like to do one session in the morning when they wake up and another before going to bed at night. This is a great way to begin and end the day but some people find that when they meditate at these times, they fall asleep.
While it is important to note when your body needs to sleep and listen to this, continually falling asleep during your meditating sessions can be detrimental to the practice as you will not be able to access all of the advantages of this.
Where Do I Start?
If you are a beginner, it can feel overwhelming when you are being told various things by various people. However, in the beginning, it is a better idea to do just five minutes a day and gradually work your way up.
After a few days, you might try 10 minutes and then a few days more, you could try a little longer. This is the best way to see positive results because if the amount of time you meditate for is too long, it can serve as more of a distraction than something that will have benefits for your health and well-being.
What Is The Science Behind This?
Most of us that practice meditation want to see excellent results and in the main, this is the case but developing a consistent and effective practice is, in fact, something of a science.
So much so, that scientists have been asking similar questions to meditation practitioners and have done the research to find the answers.
One of the most recent studies was done on a group of marines who were about to be deployed. Of course, this would be a stressful time for anyone but results showed that just 12 minutes of meditation each day was enough to make significant changes in the brain.
Another piece of research that was conducted showed that doing 12 minutes of Kirtan Kriya on a daily basis reduced the changes of predictors in the blood that are responsible for causing dementia.
Finally, another piece of research was done showing that the test results of undergraduate students were significantly improved after they took part in just 10 minutes of meditation each day.
The science behind meditation is now so well understood in the west that more and more doctors and medical specialists are using it as a treatment method for patients with a whole host of conditions. There are several of these professionals that have written books on the subject, advising other doctors of the benefits of meditation on the mind.
One example of this is a book called Meditation Interventions To Rewire The Brain by Jeff Tarrant PhD which talks about how to incorporate meditation with neurological practice for patients struggling with such conditions as ADHD, depression and PTSD.
How Will Regular Meditation Benefit Me?
There are so many positive things that meditation can bring and whether you are doing a short daily practice from the comfort of your own home or are attending a meditation retreat in a village in the foothills of the Himalayas, there are advantages to be reaped.
Including this exercise in your day to day life will yield such benefits as stress reduction, improved mental health and better sleep.
Everything that meditation does is thanks to how the practice interacts with the brain. It is proven that when we meditate, higher levels of dopamine are released and this causes a lift in mood and a lot of other positive benefits.
Meditation is also a wonderful way to develop your personal growth. Having a daily session will allow you to discover more about yourself and understand your thoughts in a way that you have not been able to, until now.
What Happens If I Miss A Day?
If you have developed a successful meditating routine, it is only natural that you will want to keep the momentum and take part in sessions each day. But a lot of us lead very busy lives and this can mean that from time to time, you are not able to spend time meditating.
While we would always advise keeping a consistent meditation practice, sometimes it cannot be helped. That being said, there is enough evidence to show that it you miss enough practices, this will start to have a damaging effect and you may not be able to take as much from meditation as you would it you were practicing consistently.
If you find that you are unable to take part in your morning meditation, it is perfectly acceptable to make up for this later in the day. However, if you only miss one session, it is unlikely to have much of an impact. It is only when you begin meditating sporadically that you will find you are not getting the most out of meditating.
Meditating is something that people have done for thousands of years, particularly in some of the Eastern traditions and religions. However, in modern times, more and more of us have come to see that this ancient practice can be extremely beneficial. Meditation can help to improve our mood, increase focus and improve our mental health; it is no wonder then, that it is so popular.
However, a lot of those who take part in this practice wonder about how long you should meditate. In truth, there is no correct amount of time and you should always base this on how you feel. Some may be able to sit in a meditative state for an hour or more whereas others may find that ten minutes is more than enough.
It is also important to make sure that you develop regular meditation practices, since the advantages can be better accessed when you include meditation in your day to day life. Some may like to meditate a few times a day whereas others prefer to do this just once a day; again, it is very much down to your personal preference and how you feel.