Friday, July 12, 2013

When is the best time of day to meditate?

The time you choose should be comfortable for you, and should fit in with your daily schedule and the schedule of others. Ideally, the better times for meditation are early morning or late evening.

The ancient teachers of yoga meditation say that the ideal time is about 3:00 or 4:00 am. The times just around sunrise and sunset are also particularly nice for meditation.

First thing in the morning
Recommended for: daily meditation practice.
Your routine first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Before breakfast is generally a good time to meditate.

Whenever you're stressed
Recommended for: as-needed mini-meditation.
Throughout the day, it's helpful to meditate for a few minutes whenever you feel overwhelmed or pressed for time. Meditation can help you settle your mind, feel more relaxed, and think clearly about an appropriate next step or action. It sounds counterintuitive ("I don't have time to meditate, I have so much to do!"). But it's often the thought of having too much to do rather than actually having too much to do that can create the stress. Meditation can help you feel better and less overwhelmed.

On your lunch hour
Recommended for: daily meditation practice or as-needed mini-meditation.
A midday meditation break has a number of potential benefits. It's an effective way to de-stress after a long meeting or difficult conversation. It can relax tight muscles caused by sitting slumped over a computer. By breaking your normal cycle of thinking, it can also boost focus, creativity, and productivity. Plus, it can be a great awareness building tool, allowing you to be more open-minded and accepting of others.

End of your workday
Recommended for: daily meditation practice.
For some people, meditating at the end of the workday is the perfect way to create a natural boundary between work and the rest of life. For beginners or people who find meditation intimidating, using the breath to re-center then can work really well. It's the intention to create a clear boundary that's powerful. What you don't want is to allow work thoughts to run into the evening so that you're neither still at work nor really fully at home. You can miss out on life that way!

Right before bedtime
Not recommended
Avoid meditating too close to bedtime so that doesn't become confused with relaxing into sleep. In meditation, we're practicing the opposite—falling more fully awake. Usually, it's best to have an hour between meditation and sleep so that those two things stay clearly separate in your awareness, your body, and your habits.

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