How Long to Meditate ForConfession time!  At the start of the month, I challenged myself to practice yoga and meditation every day throughout October.  The challenge was going okay – I was managing to practice probably 5 days out of 7.  I was feeling good once I was on the mat but it was a real struggle to motivate myself everyday, especially with the early alarm in the dark and a long commute in the evenings (excuses, excuses!).  Then, about a week ago, it just kind of stopped.  I didn’t mean it to – I just noticed that I hadn’t actually practiced for a few days in a row.  Oops!

The month isn’t over yet so I still have a week to finish on a high.  And it hasn’t all been bad.  A group of us got together at work and arranged for a yoga teacher to come in once a week.  The first class was last week and I loved it.  It was really good to be challenged by a new teacher; as much as I love self-practice and enjoy practising at home, it felt really good to be in a class.

I’ve also really been enjoying meditating more often.  In fact, there have been some days where I haven’t wanted to practise yoga, but I have been quite happy to sit and meditate for a few minutes.  So I thought today I would share a few things about mindfulness and meditation.

Mindfulness seems to be an increasingly popular term (even politicians are in on the act) but one I think many people use without stopping to think about what it means (oh, the irony!).  For me, mindfulness is about being aware, noticing what is actually happening to you and around you, observing how something makes you feel.  But don’t just take my word on it – here are the thoughts of 10 different teachers on what mindfulness is.

So how mindful are you?  Take this mindfulness quiz and find out.  Assuming that you are still human like the rest of us, you might want to check out be mindful for more information about mindfulness as well as resources and courses to learn more.

So if mindfulness is about being a little bit more aware throughout the day, meditation is more about taking a moment to sit and give your mind an opportunity to relax.  It’s not about chanting, or sitting cross-legged for hours, or forcing your mind to stop thinking.  My absolute favourite resource for meditating is an app called headspace.  Their website is full of good advice and tips on meditation.  The app is free for the first 10 days and asks you to meditate for just 10 minutes a day.  That’s it!  It’s a really good guided meditation with some lovely little videos that help explain what it’s all about.

Still not convinced meditation is for you?  Take a look at the infographics below for some of the benefits of the practice.

Infographic

Infographic

I will be meditating daily for the next and trying to be a little bit more mindful during my day.  But over to you – post your thoughts and comments below.  Do you meditate?  Love it?  Hate it?  Going to give it  go?