How long should I meditate for?

It feels like we now live in a time when people are more preoccupied than ever. Whether that is with work, general life responsibilities or even with their thoughts.

This is a shame because without ever stopping for a second people aren’t able to access to peace and happiness that lies within, always seeking something else externally, something new, something worth sharing with their 100s of social media followers.

The ability to sustain the quality of life that is free from infirmity and apprehension is achieved through meditation. It is a process practiced to gain and spread the vibrations.

We all have different reasons for taking time out of our day to meditate. For you, that may be to reduce stress, achieve serenity, and to heal naturally.

The popularity of the meditation has increased purely due to the increase in awareness of the practice. The awareness that you don’t have to devote your life to Buddhism, or any other religion in order to meditate. Consequently, more of us than ever are eager to practice it. However, the most frequent question we get asked by beginners is ‘how long should I meditate to see progress?’. Luckily you’re in the right place, this guide is devoted to answering the question related to how long you should ideally meditate for while we will also have an article looking at the misconceptions of progression in meditation.

How long should you meditate for?

Different research institutes have set various benchmarks for the duration of how long you should ideally meditate for. Some state that practicing for 40-45 minutes every day or 20 minutes twice a day can deliver beneficial results while some suggest short sessions of 10-12 minutes can also be helpful.

Although all of this adds meaning, the answer does not really rely on these numbers; rather it depends on the person practicing.

Meditate as long as you can. If you are comfortable meditating for 5 minutes, then go for it. If you enjoy 60 minutes session, then do that.

What matters most is how effectively you meditate. If you aim for longer sessions but your mind is not ready to co-operate at that moment then stop the practice.  You can always skip the practice if your mind is not prepared for it.

You also have to remember that it is not easy to sit quietly for a long time without any physical activity. This is one of the biggest differences between meditation and yoga, during yoga you’re in constant flow, however, meditation requires you to access the stillness within. This requires conscious effort to have control over the mind. You have to constantly monitor yourself to decide what is best for you. So start meditating today and maintain the consistency of practicing in order to extend how long you’re able to sit for.

Meditation Plans for Beginners, Intermediates and Experienced Practitioners

Meditating regularly yields excellent results, but it is difficult for some people to allocate the time daily.

Instead of skipping the practice entirely, it is recommended to spend at least 5-15 minutes every day. If your job demands your maximum time then, 5 minutes sessions are absolutely fine.

Ideally, take a break whenever you feel stressed and meditate. The task that kept you occupied for a long time could be getting completed sooner than you thought with the meditation practice. That is the power of meditation, it restores your energy and your brain functions sharply as if you are starting a fresh day.

Beginners can start with 5-10 minutes session daily and then gradually increase the duration.  You have to give time to yourself to enter a meditative state. The first few minutes can be considered as time spent for warm up. Once you gain control over your thought process then, your actual meditation time starts.

You don’t have to start with 60 minutes session from day one. If you do so, you may put yourself off from practicing regularly. Small steps at a time yield fruitful results. Being in the ‘meditative state’ is important and starting with long sessions can sometimes be off-putting due to their difficulty.

Intermediates can practice for 10-20 minutes.  There is no perfect definition of ‘Intermediates’ in this context.  Once you are comfortable with 5-10 minutes of a session you can test your tolerance level by increasing the duration. If you are able to control the thought process of your mind for a long time then you have actually benefited from your prior meditation sessions. You notice the results of meditation generally after one to two months of practice.

Experienced meditators can try stretching to 30 plus minutes. You don’t have to push yourself to reach this level. Once you start meditating regularly you get enthralled naturally in this blissful process. There are people who meditate daily for 45-60 minutes even in their busy schedule. It is the result of meditation that makes them continue the practice.

Take a look at the interviews of the successful people in any field – Medicine, Teaching, Business, Engineering, Psychology, Arts and Entertainment etc and understand their lifestyle. Most of them give credit to meditation. It plays an important role in achieving success irrespective of complexity level of the task. So it is recommended to meditate to allow your brain function efficiently and to aid concentration throughout the day.

Results of meditation

We often get asked questions in relation to the ‘results of meditation’ and what someone can be expected to ‘achieve’ with regular meditation practice.

Although there shouldn’t be any goal to your daily meditation routine, instead you should just aim to connect with the stillness within you will start to notice habits changing and new, calmer emotions rising in you after some time practicing.

Be patient as it takes time to see the changes and the changes occur with a belief.

You will experience inner joy, peace, contentment, tranquillity, patience, and positivity regardless of the amount of time spent meditating.

Practically, you may not realize the benefits unless an event occurs that test your patience, emotional quotient, anxiety, excitement or any other emotion that calls for your mental and physical equilibrium.

But you don’t have to wait for any such event. Practice it with full dedication without bothering the outcome. You will benefit sooner than you thought.

Conditions Beginners Intermediates Experienced
Preferred Duration 5-10 minutes 10-20 minutes 30 plus minutes
Complexity Level Difficult to concentrate Medium-Can concentrate after few minutes of warm-up Easy-Generally develops a concentration in few seconds
Frequency Can practice any number of times a day One or two times a day should suffice Once a day would be sufficient

Conclusion

In today’s hectic life, spending 10 minutes is within everyone’s capabilities. Having said this, you shouldn’t limit your practice to this number. Let your experience be your teacher. As the saying goes, “Something is better than nothing”, and the same applies to meditation. Spending few minutes is better than doing nothing.

Also, spending quality time is more important than simply allocating long minutes to this practice. Meditate to break all the barriers that appear between you and your goal; meditate to spread the love and positivity around you.