How Much Meditation Do You Really Need?

Most people start a meditation practice because their blood pressure is high, their wife told them too, or they heard that it could get them enlightened.

So, when people wonder how often and how long they should meditate, what they are often asking is “How long will it take before I get what I want?”

If you treat meditation like a prescription that you’d get from the doctor, you are not likely to stay with it for very long; because no one can tell you exactly how long or how much meditation you need to cure you of your mental, physical, or spiritual ills (and if they do, I’d be very suspicious).

So where to begin?  

I prefer an intuitive approach to meditation, so length of time depends on time allowed, circumstance, and desire.

Your practice should fit into your lifestyle.  My practice changes as my children’s needs change. When they were babies I’d wait until my husband would come home before I meditated. Now that they are older I meditate either early in the morning, before they wake up, or after they’ve gone to school .

So how long should you meditate?  As a general rule I recommend:

  • To begin a practice with a minimum of 3 minutes of sitting meditation a day for one week.   Meditation is a life-long practice that is fun (yes, I said fun) and rewarding, but there’s no need to hurry.  Starting with 3 minutes a day is fine.

  •  Then add one minute to your practice every week after that until you are meditating for 20-45 minutes a day, or an amount that feels good to you.  You can take your time to build a practice that works for you, but do discipline yourself to “show-up” for your practice.

If you’ve never meditated before here is a simple practice that will help to get you started:

  1. Find a quiet spot in your home and light a candle or incense. This will help to set the mood for your practice, but it is not absolutely necessary.
  2. Sit in a chair or crossed legged on the floor.  (Only sit on the floor if it is comfortable for you.  If your back is rounded and your knees are up above your waist, then do use a chair).
  3. Place your hands palms up on your thighs.
  4. Lightly close your eyes and relax your face.
  5. Connect with your natural breath and say “I AM” on your inhale, “Peaceful” on the exhale.

Do this practice and three minutes will go by so quickly that you may want to sit for another 3, or 5, or 15 minutes. And that’s okay.





Photo Credit: Les Jay