Meditation: 6 preconceived ideas to dispel right now

Sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed for an hour and completely stopping the flow of thoughts is the image that many people have of the course of a meditation session. No wonder then that, frustrated at not succeeding, most of them quickly give up the exercise. Andy Puddicombe, creator of the meditation app Headspacebrushes aside the clichés about meditation here:

1. The goal is to stop thinking

To sit quietly and block the flow of thoughts? Our mind is not designed for this. Rather, he jumps from one thought to another like a weather vane, and that’s completely normal. “The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking,” says the expert.

No, the goal of meditation is rather to modify the behavior in the face of thoughts. To observe them and to let go. “There is no objective to achieve or mission to accomplish,” continues Andy Puddicombe. Just observing the coming and going of thoughts calms the mind and slows it down. »

This is why one of the main techniques is called focused attention: it consists of concentrating on an anchor point to cling to as soon as the mind begins to wander. For many, this anchor is the breath. “Even after years of practice, there will always be days when the mind is very busy. And it’s totally normal, ”reassures the specialist. His advice for meditating correctly: get into it without having expectations or goals. “You can then just sit back and observe his busy mind with a sense of contentment. »

2. There is only one type of meditation

Meditation has existed for thousands of years in various cultures. It has therefore developed in different ways. “However, there are common themes present in almost all traditions, explains the founder of Headspace. Most of them emphasize the importance of mindfulness and compassion. It doesn’t matter what type of meditation you decide to practice: what matters is that you feel comfortable with the one you choose.

“Whether you’re looking to reduce stress, free yourself from negative feelings, suppress cravings, or find inner peace, there’s a way to do it,” says Andy Puddicombe. The Headspace Guide to Meditation, on Netflix, presents an overview of the different existing forms of meditation and offers various exercises designed for everyday life or for certain specific situations.

3. Meditation only works sitting cross-legged

Do you have to sit cross-legged to meditate? Absolutely not: “We all have in mind this image of a person meditating in a suit, palms facing the sky, index and thumb together, describes the expert. If it works for you, no problem. But the most important thing is to find a position in which you are comfortable, which allows you to be halfway between concentration and relaxation.

Andy Puddicombe explains that you can meditate sitting on a chair, hands on your thighs, without crossing your arms or legs. The feet must be on the ground to provide good anchorage. You can also sit on a pillow on the floor. If you’re new to meditation, the position may feel a bit uncomfortable at first: “The body will then have to get used to staying still and ignoring distractions. »

4. You have to close your eyes

It is possible to close them, but it is not an obligation: you can perfectly keep them open. It is often recommended that beginners close them “to avoid being too easily distracted”, explains the expert. It also makes it easier to focus on the breath.

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Meditation: 6 preconceived ideas to dispel right now

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