The average guideline, for a meditation session, is 20 minutes for a minimum practice. Many advanced practitioners have longer sessions because meditation has become a rewarding experience.
If you have set aside the time, the amount of time practicing is not as important as the quality of the experience. For example: If you manage to focus your mind and reach a state of awareness, the amount of time it takes is irrelevant.
Twenty minutes of fidgeting and self-judgment is a waste of meditation time, but it is a lesson in patience and developing inner calm. This experience will frustrate you and serve as an obstacle to your meditation practice, but the deeper reward is to learn from past mistakes. In some cases, you would be better off to try 5 to 10 minute sessions, just to make a habit of training your mind toward tranquility.
Sessions that bring about states of relaxation will eventually develop into a deeper meditation experience. This also brings attention to the frame of mind you have before meditating: Approach each session without judgment. Approaching each session, without self-criticism, sets the foundation of your practice.
This also explains why some people cannot meditate without the guidance of a teacher. We often talk about “mind chatter, " but it is usually random and unorganized thought. In the case of constant self-criticism, this is also a form of negative mind chatter, which serves to work against us.
Everyone has negative thoughts, but most of them are fear based and are not rooted in reality. We all have the potential to purge negative thoughts from our minds, if we choose to do so. This is why meditation is so valuable - you have the ability to change everything around you by cultivating positive thought.
© Copyright 2008 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, has written many books on the subject of Yoga. He is a co-owner and the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. http://www.aurawellnesscenter.com
He has been a certified Master Yoga Teacher since 1995. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: