Meditation can be full of benefits for the practitioner.  But it is challenging!  Here are 3 things you need to avoid to help you get the most from this practice.

1) You are sleep deprived:

Ever been in a yoga class and hear the snoring people in Savasna (corpse pose)?  Been one of them?  That usually means that those poor sleep-deprived folks can’t even lay back without their brains and bodies expressing relief at the opportunity for rest.  This is the real challenge Savasana and meditation present to the over-worked (who obviously need it); a practice in mental focus is not an opportunity to nap.  Until you get the rest you need on a daily basis your body may not let you tell the difference. Note: If you are learning to meditate in order to improve your sleep or just to get to sleep it’s not bad to start.  You may notice that you have an easier time falling asleep in your bed at night when you do try to focus on your breath. Great!  But just don’t get into the habit of confusing this with a meditation session, in which you do NOT fall asleep.

2) You are trying too hard:

You get that meditation works and you know for sure that you would benefit from it.  So you go after it with enthusiasm, which is AWESOME!  But if meditation is new to you, sitting (or however you choose to do it) for more than 2 minutes at a time may make you run from the room screaming.  Sitting and connecting with yourself is no joke!  You will be confronting the nasty thoughts and emotions as well as the peacefulness inside you that makes you a complicated and lovable human-being.  Take it serious and take it slow.  Start with two minutes and then progress from there.

3) Your body hurts:

If you can’t get comfortable in your own skin you will be setting yourself up for failure when you try to sit still for any focused period of time.  WORD! This is reason #34,865,499 that yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand (that # is totally verifiable…). Yoga can help you get comfortable hanging out in your own body on both a physical and emotional level.  Sometimes being in one position for any period of time can bring up ants-in-the-pants sensations, among other aches and pains.  Try 5 minutes of moving in your body, moving through joints, lengthen muscles that feel cramped before you meditate.  Set up your physical body so that you can be comfortable exploring your emotional and mental bodies.