I think it’s enough.
Apparently it's not “real” meditation.
Very recently - we were setting up for meditation in class and I was getting into my zone of breath and zen, telling myself “I got this” when the teacher suddenly dropped a T-bomb:
“Sitting for 5 mins is NOT meditating! You must sit for at least 40 mins for it to be a "meditation" practice, if not it’s just a "sitting" practice."
My eyes flew open, and I spent that usually joyful time - having a conversation with my monkey mind.
I’m a yoga teacher, how can I not know this. Had I been doing it wrong all this time?
Baron says “I don’t know” is a good place to be. Alright so I discovered something new about meditation that day.
The real question should be:
Why do you meditate? What is it really enough for?
I meditate because having that 5 mins of quietness gives me my sanity.
I tend to be quick in reacting to situations, and I get angry and frustrated. These days, the only time when my patience is at its edge, is that time of the month. So it works for me.
It also helps with my overwhelm and anxiety. Some days I do more than meditate; some days I don’t even have time to meditate. So there.
Nearly every article about meditation guidance mentions that if you can do only five minutes of meditation, it’s better than none.
If you are a Buddhist monk, meditation is part of your life and the truth is their reasons for meditating is completely different from ours.
In this modern overly busy world, I’m not aiming to get enlightened - I just want to have my pockets of peace and joy when I can.
So if you want to be strict about it - yes I’m doing a “sitting" practice. It’s the definition of Asana after all, according to Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras - which is "to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed.”
What is Meditation?
The sanskrit word for meditation is Dhyana and it means a continuous state of focused concentration without distraction. If we refer back to the true goal of yoga, yoga is the process of quieting the mind in order to reach a higher level of awareness and calm.
Meditation to me
Is a practice of acceptance
Is a practice of non-attachment
Is a commitment to growth
Is an access to breath
is an access to getting present and awakening
Can I get all that in 5 mins? Yes? Do I do it continuously and consistently? I try my best.
How long should you "sit" to get results?
I say whatever is comfortable for you.
As long as it's done consistently, sitting still and breathing deeply for just 5-10 minutes can reap a lot of benefits, like:
Encourage calmness and positivity
Increased focus and clarity
Slows down aging process
Self-care or ME-TIME
You can meditate anywhere - sometimes it doesn’t have to be in a quiet place or for you to be seated in sukhasana, nor do you need a meditation cushion. Try a walking meditation; or do it in your car in between school runs or when traffic is at a standstill.
Do it when you need it most, when you feel anxious; when you feel frustrated. This is where the 5 mins come handy.
Yoga is another tool to get your zen on for an hour or more - and that’s why I love Baptiste Power Vinyasa. The sequence is more or less the same - and that’s the beauty of it. My mind is not scattered - instead of trying to figure out what’s next, it gives me access to move gracefully through each pose with my breath and it becomes like my meditation in motion.
Yin Yoga is another good pathway to a meditation practice - literally you are “meditating" in a very uncomfortable position for 3-5 mins
Yeah ok so what if 5 mins meditation is not real meditation, according to the “true yogi”? What is real or what is not?
What is important is that you do it because any amount of ME-TIME is better than none.
If you can manage 20 mins, do twenty. If 5 mins is all you have, it’s better than doing nothing. Pay attention to your experience and be committed to keep showing up.
And from my experience, 5 mins does make a difference.
Slowly you can build it up.