Meditation After Eating: Does Eating Impact Your Practice?

Meditation After Eating: Does Eating Impact Your Practice?

Meditation after eating is a topic that a lot of new practitioners are curious about. The main idea is that you are what you eat. If you eat anything from a piece of meat to a leaf, a chemical reaction occurs in the body to digest it.

However, does it really matter when you meditate?

And how long should you wait after eating before meditation?

We’ll be exploring the topic of meditation after eating and multiple concepts of why you should and shouldn’t eat before meditating.

Can I Do Meditation After Eating?

Yes, you certainly can. In fact, as we’ll see below, some people use eating beforehand as a tool to train and advance their meditation practice. This isn’t to say that it’s something everyone should do because there is a time and place for meditation and eating.

Meditation Before or After Eating: What’s Better?

Are you a meditation beginner?

If so, try not to eat before meditating.

Why?

  • You’re just starting out in your practice and need to devote your best-self to the practice.
  • Food can make you feel tired, uncomfortable and lethargic.

For example, imagine eating a big bowl of pasta with some garlic bread before meditating. When you do this, the carb-heavy meals will cause your blood sugar to spike and energy levels to soar.

Quick digestion then leads to massive energy expenditure and a crash.

However, let’s assume that you just ate and went right into your meditation. You may feel bloated and not tired just yet. You sit down, grab your meditation balls and begin meditating.

Initially, you feel great and then digestion begins to work its magic. The sugar in the carbs will then cause:

  1. Energy levels to spike, which may make it more difficult to concentrate and pay attention
  2. Bloating and stomach discomfort, which can negatively affect your meditation
  3. Digestion works to breakdown your food and massive energy expenditures happen

Due to all of these factors, if you eat before meditating, it can have a negative consequence on your meditation. With that said, you might eat something less carb-heavy and be fine. You might be able to meditate with greater ease if you eat something, such as:

  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Salads

Light meals without sugar or any artificial ingredients tend to work best because they’re easier to digest and won’t require a massive amount of energy to breakdown. Overeating is never a good idea before meditation because it’s likely to lead to a wasted meditation session.

If you’re starving before you meditate and it’s causing you to feel uncomfortable and lose focus, then, by all means, sit down and eat a meal.

There’s also a train of thought that when you eat, it pulls your energy into the digestive system, which makes sense. Your body needs a lot of energy to digest your food, but your meditation will push your energy toward the spiritual eye.

I don’t know for sure where the energy goes when you meditate, but if your energy does move away from the organs when meditating, it may not be the best idea to eat before meditating,

Again, I have no way to verify this energy transfer, but if it’s true, then you’ll want to wait three hours after eating to begin meditating.

Many people prefer fasted meditation because it eliminates the risk of food impacting your practice. However, there are also a lot of people who state that “eating or not before meditating doesn’t matter.”

Quick Hack: Digestion begins once you chew your food because your salivary glands will release saliva to move the food through your digestive system. However, a quick 10-minute meditation can often be done right after eating without feeling tired or bloated just yet.

Why Meditation After Eating Shouldn’t Matter

Meditation is a tool that helps you gain control of your thoughts and mind. If you read through this thread on Reddit, you’ll see that someone poses the question of if you can meditate after eating dinner, lunch or breakfast.

The poster even states that it’s a “no no” to eat before meditation.

However, a deleted comment states “that’s just a tip for when you’re starting out,” when referring to eating prior to meditating. He states that meditation is an “all-condition habit,” meaning that you should be able to meditate at any time.

And this is the concept that I stand by for anyone who has been meditating for any length of time.

Meditation should allow you to practice when you’re:

  • Hungry
  • Full
  • Sad
  • Angry

Life is filled with amazing moments – good, bad and uncomfortable. If you continue meditating, you’ll find that it’s a practice you can rely on any time of the day and under any circumstances.

3 Things to Consider Before Deciding to Meditate Before or After Eating

  1. Are you starving when you go to meditate and find that you can’t focus? Perhaps you even have stomach pangs. If this is the case, eat a little something before meditating and see if it helps.
  2. Do you find that eating makes you lose focus? If so, try eating while fasted to see if it helps.
  3. Do you feel bloated after eating? Sometimes, bloating can be utterly distracting and you should avoid eating before meditating.

So, should you practice meditation after eating?

There’s no right or wrong answer.

If you’ve been meditating for a long time, you may find that you’ll reach a higher level of practice meditating on a full stomach. However, for beginners, being cautious of the foods you eat before meditating (or not eating at all) may be better for you.

If you simply find that practicing in a fasted state works best, meditation after eating is not something for you. The key is to meditate the way that you prefer and feels best for you.

Meta Description: Do you want to try meditation after eating? Learn why some practitioners advocate for fasting or eating before your practice.

Is It Okay to Meditate Lying Down?

Is It Okay to Meditate Lying Down?

Meditation practice often focuses on posture. Most people are aware of having to keep their back straight and holding this meditation position throughout their session.

But, is it okay to meditate lying down?

After all, some people can maintain a supine position but not a seated position. For example, you may have a bad back, a disability that keeps you from sitting or may only find the time to meditate when you’re lying down in bed at night (or in the morning).

Is It Okay to Meditate Lying Down?

Can you meditate lying down?

Absolutely.

You want to be comfortable while meditating, but you also want to keep your spine aligned when meditating,

Thich Nhat Hanh always tried to find ways to bring mindfulness to the world. He had a knack for bringing ancient wisdom and modern life together in ways few could. He made it a point to mention that you can practice mindfulness while standing, working, cooking, lying down and in virtually every position you can imagine.

Yes, mindfulness differs from traditional meditation, but they overlap enough in their energies that you can do both lying down.

If you like lotus position or sitting while meditating, do it – it’s the right choice for you.

However, you can meditate:

  • Lying down
  • Sitting in a reclining chair
  • Etc.

The key most important thing is to be in a peaceful place where you can focus on your meditation.

Why Meditating While Lying Down May Be a Good Choice for You

Meditation can be performed with numerous methods, such as saying meditation words, 639 Hz frequency meditation, mindfulness, candle meditation and dozens of others.

You never want to put your meditation practice “into a box.”

What does this mean?

Everyone has a meditation method that they prefer and others that do not work for them. Lying down and meditation may be a good choice for you, if:

  • Sitting in an upright position causes you any level of pain and discomfort.
  • You have difficulty maintaining a straight back.
  • You want to start your day filled with energy and only have “me” time before you get out of bed in the morning.
  • You have trouble falling asleep at night and want to find a way to calm your mind and begin meditating.

Lying down can actually be an energizing meditation to start the day.

Why Meditating While Lying Down May NOT Be a Good Choice for You

Meditation isn’t about the shape as the Buddha says. Instead, you should lay down if it’s beneficial to your practice. For many people, lying down while meditating isn’t for them because:

  • They fall right to sleep. Often, people are short on time, they want to meditate, and they try to squeeze in their practice right before bed. And what happens? They meditate for a few minutes and when they open their eyes, it’s morning.
  • Lying down is uncomfortable. If you find lying down uncomfortable, it’s not the right position for you.
  • You lay on your side or stomach. It’s important to keep a straight back when meditating because it allows energy to move through your chakras with greater ease. In addition, an elongated spine will allow you to feel better after meditation. In fact, a straight back has been linked to moods. One study found that people with hunched backs have recurring major depression disorders.

Tips for Lying Down and Meditating

Going into your meditation can be a challenge. However, the following tips can help you get the most out of your experience:

  1. Support your back. Extend the spine fully and add support if you want to stretch the spine further. Some people place a pillow under their mid back to stretch it out and add support to the spine. However, if you have a supportive bed, feel free to simply lie on your back.
  2. Avoid lying on your side. Laying on your side will not allow for easy energy flow through your chakras.
  3. Pull the shoulders back. When you pull your shoulders back, you’ll extend the chest and also make it easier to focus on your breathing. Inhaling and exhaling is much easier with your back straight and shoulders pulled back.

If you follow these tips, you’re well on your way to enhancing your meditation while lying down. Deep breathing meditation works very well while lying down, but you can try any form of meditation that you like to see if it works for you.

Benefits of Meditation While Lying Down

A few of the key benefits of lying down and meditating include:

  • It’s easier to keep your back straight and puts less of a focus on your posture.
  • Promotes better sleep, which is good for anyone who has sleeping disorders.
  • Reduces the risk of aches and pain.
  • Easier to do when you are constantly on the go from the moment that you step out of bed.

Is it okay to meditate lying down?

Absolutely. And if you’re new to meditation or just like meditating while lying down, you can still experience the benefits of meditation in the same way that you can seated. Give it a try for yourself and see if you prefer meditation seated or lying down.

If you’re new to meditation or just have a lot of key questions that you have never found answers to yet, we recommend reading through our guide: questions about meditation.

101 Guide to Energizing Meditation

101 Guide to Energizing Meditation

Energizing meditation can help you get through your day feeling fresh, vibrant and like you had a good night of sleep. In fact, studies have been done on meditation and energy levels proving that mindfulness meditation can significantly boost your energy.

If this sounds weird to you, chances are you were like me, where meditation led to a brief, quick nap.

However, with the right technique, meditation can provide you with a sense of clarity and a kick of energy.

What Waterloo’s Study on Meditation and Energy Found

The University of Waterloo did a study on Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation. The study found that Hatha yoga or mindfulness meditation were both equally beneficial to the 31 study participants.

Those included in the study had the following schedule:

  • 25 minutes of yoga
  • 25 minutes of mindfulness
  • 25 minutes of quiet reading

When examined after yoga or mindfulness, researchers found that participants had much better results when completing executive functions.

However, that’s not all that the study found.

Researchers note that participants felt more energized after meditation and yoga. Energizing meditation works to improve energy levels, but the study does note that Hatha yoga provided more of an energy boost than just meditation on its own.

Note: You don’t need to do Hatha yoga to get these energy benefits, although it can provide more of an energy kick than meditation. Instead, practicing mindful meditation can also help you feel more energized.

Getting Started With Energizing Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness can both help you feel energized. Some people swear by energizing meditation music, but for this article, we’re going to practice without the music.

If you want to perform energizing meditation, you should focus on the following:

  1. Inhaling while visualizing energy entering the body
  2. Exhaling the stress and negativity out of the body

Deep breathing while meditating will allow you to fill the body with more energy. Some schools of thought are that deep breathing allows you to “jump charge” your relaxation. When you breathe in energy, you relax the body and help regulate the exhausting emotions that you feel.

However, you can also do the same with mindfulness.

Mindfulness is something that a lot of people enjoy because they can do it anywhere . You can practice at work, on the bus or train or anywhere else you want without being in a formal setting. You don’t even need to worry about meditation hand positions or alerting those around you that you’re meditating.

For example, when you’re eating lunch:

  • Slowly chew your food
  • Take deep, meaningful breaths between bites
  • Focus on the food, where it came from, the farmers who planted and harvested it, the sun that helped it grow, the rain that watered the plants
  • Feel the textures and taste of the food on your tongue
  • Find joy in every bite that you take

Of course, you can do the same with meat or any foods that you eat. You can even be mindful walking, thinking about each step, the exertion of your calf muscles and quads, your heel touching the ground and so on.

We’ve written an entire guide on this practice, which you’ll want to read through if you’re new to mindfulness.

Click here to read our guide on how to practice mindfulness.

feel more energized

5 Tips to Feel More Energized During the Day

On top of meditation, there are a lot of small changes that you can do to feel more energized throughout your day, such as:

  1. It goes without saying, but you need to focus on getting better sleep to feel more energetic throughout the day.
  2. Avoid drinking caffeine before bed.
  3. Practice deep breathing exercises before you go to bed.
  4. Put your phone on silent.
  5. Exercise or do yoga to further increase your energy

Of course, a jolt of delicious coffee or cappuccino in the morning can also help, but I do recommend avoiding meditation right afterward if caffeine makes your mind wander a lot.

Energizing meditation can be any meditation that helps you relax and release the tension of the day. If you stay in the moment, focus on your breathing and remain consistent in your practice, you’ll begin to feel more energized and less stressed.

Meta Description: Want to feel energized and filled with life? Read through our guide on energizing meditation to learn how to breathe more energy into your daily routine.

30 Questions About Meditation

30 Questions About Meditation

Are you just getting started with meditation or exploring the practice? You likely have a ton of questions about the practice itself, what you need to get started or even its origins. Don’t worry – we have you covered. We’ve rounded up 30 of the most common questions about meditation to help you learn more about this practice.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. The word “meditation” originates from the Latin word “meditatum,” which means “to ponder.”

The purpose of the practice is to focus or clear your mind, which can help:

  • Reduce stress
  • Allow you to relax
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve concentration

There are many types of meditation, each of which has its own methods or techniques for achieving a calm, relaxed mind. These techniques may include:

  • Focusing on an object
  • Repeating a mantra
  • Focusing on the breath
  • Walking or performing some other type of movement

Where Did Meditation Originate?

Because meditation is an ancient practice that’s been around for thousands of years, it can be tricky to pinpoint its exact origin.

The earliest documented records of meditation are from the Hindu traditions of India around 1500 BCE.

Other forms of meditation have also been documented in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE in Buddhist India and Taoist China.

We can also find written accounts of different meditative states in the Pāli Canon sutras that date all the way back to the 1st century BCE in Buddhist India.

There are many theories on the origins of meditation, but the truth is that we just don’t know.

However, there have been a few key people who have helped spread the meditation practice, including:

  • The Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama or Siddhattha Gotama. His teachings are the foundation of Buddhism.
  • Dosho, a Japanese monk from the 7th century who traveled to China and studied Buddhism. After learning the Zen process, he returned to Japan and shared it with others.
  • Lao-Tze, an ancient philosopher from China and author of Tao-te-Ching. The text became the foundation of Taoism, which speaks of meditation and finding wisdom in silence.

Meditative practices have been a part of many cultures and religions around the world for centuries, even if these practices are not explicitly called “meditation.”

How Can Meditation Benefit Your Daily Life?

Many people find that meditation benefits their daily lives in several ways, including:

  • Developing a sense of peace and balance in your life. One study of more than 150 adults found that using a meditation app for two weeks helped reduce feelings of loneliness compared to a control group.
  • Improving anxiety. One meta-analysis that included more than 1,000 adults found that meditation may help reduce anxiety, especially for people with high levels of anxiety. Another study found that 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation helped reduce anxiety symptoms in people with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Reducing stress. One review found that meditation can indeed reduce stress. Another 8-week study found that mindfulness meditation helped reduce the stress-induced inflammation response.
  • Helping improve emotional health. One review of 18 studies found that meditation helped reduce symptoms of depression compared to individuals in a control group. Another review found that meditation can reduce cytokine levels, inflammatory chemicals linked to depression.
  • Increasing focus. One review found that meditation may reverse brain patterns that contribute to worrying and mind wandering. Even short periods of meditation can help with your focus. One study found that practicing for 13 minutes a day improved memory and attention after eight weeks.

Many people also find that meditation helps improve their pain, sleep and even their compassion.

People are affected by meditation in different ways, so the practice can provide a wide range of benefits that are unique to each individual.

How Does Meditation Differ from Relaxation or Self-Hypnosis?

Meditation can help put you into a calm, relaxed state. You may have also seen people who get so deep into their meditation practice that it looks like they’re in a state of hypnosis. Is meditation really different from these two things?

Yes!

The goal of meditation is to enhance your perception of the present moment. The feeling of meditation is often compared to a heightened state of wakefulness. You become hyper-aware of your mind, body and surroundings.

On the other hand, self-hypnosis is often compared to the feeling of being in a dream-like state.

Meditation also differs from relaxation. While meditation can certainly help you relax, many people find that the practice helps them discover how their minds work. It becomes a journey of self-discovery rather than simply easing tension or stress.

When Should I Meditate?

The great thing about meditation is that there’s no right or wrong time to do it. It’s something that you can do anytime, anywhere.

That said, you may find that you have better meditation sessions at certain times of the day. Meditation is best performed at a time and place that is:

  • Quiet
  • Free of distractions
  • Comfortable

Skilled meditators can meditate in any situation, even in crowded, busy streets. But most people will find that they can only really get into a deep meditative state if they are in a calm, quiet place.

Determine which time of day will work best for your sessions. Many people find that first thing in the morning works best because it helps them start the day on the right foot – and it’s usually quiet in the morning.

How Do I Get Started with Meditation?

Getting started is always the hardest part of any new activity or practice, and meditation is no exception.

Meditation doesn’t require any tools or equipment, but a little guidance can go a long way in making your sessions more fruitful and less frustrating.

Guidance can come from:

An app like Headspace can help you ease into the practice and will provide helpful tips. You can also find many free guided meditations on YouTube that will introduce you to the practice and give you a chance to try it out with no monetary commitment.

Why Should I Meditate?

Everyone has their own reasons for practicing meditation. It’s important to find yours. If you don’t have a personal reason for meditating, you may find it difficult to stay motivated to continue your practice.

Many people start meditating because they want to:

  • Ease their anxiety and reduce the stress in their lives.
  • Improve their symptoms of depression.
  • Discover more about their minds and themselves.
  • Learn how to become more resilient to stress.

Others choose to start meditating because of the brain benefits it offers. Research has found that meditation can strengthen areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness and attention.

How Can I Make Meditation a Habit?

The best way to make any new activity a habit is to do it consistently. Some experts say that it takes 30 days to form a habit, but it may take you more or less time to reach this point.

How can you ensure you practice meditation regularly?

  • Make it a priority.
  • Do it in the morning or just before bed.
  • Create a meditation space that you look forward to being in.
  • Commit to doing just a few minutes a day, and gradually increase the time.

Have patience and be kind to yourself. If you fall out of the habit, don’t beat yourself up. The most important thing is to keep trying your best to meditate regularly.

What is the Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness?

The terms mindfulness and meditation are often used interchangeably. After all, mindfulness meditation is a popular practice.

However, while similar in nature, these two terms technically have different meanings.

  • Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to and being aware of your surroundings or whatever activity you’re engaging in. When someone is being mindful, they are aware of their thoughts, behaviors, feelings, movements and even their effects on others.
  • Meditation is an intentional practice where you bring all of your awareness to your breath or another single point of focus.

During meditation, you may become more mindful of your surroundings, and this is what is known as mindfulness meditation.

While these two practices are connected, they are still separate things. You can meditate without practicing mindfulness and vice versa.

Should Your Eyes Be Opened or Closed During Meditation?

Many new meditators wonder whether they should keep their eyes open or closed when meditating. The truth is that there’s really no right or wrong answer here.

Some people prefer to keep their eyes closed, while others find it easier to stay fixated on an object if their eyes are open.

Try experimenting with your eyes opened and with your eyes closed to see which one you prefer.

How Long Should I Meditate For?

There’s no minimum or maximum time you should meditate for – it’s all about your own personal limit.

Many beginners find that 5-10 minutes a day works for them to get started with the practice. It’s not uncommon for more experienced people to meditate for an hour or more at a time.

Here are a few things to know:

  • If your goal is to reduce stress, 10 minutes is all you need.
  • If your goal is to improve concentration and anxiety, 30+ minutes is ideal.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction therapy recommends practicing for 40-45 minutes each day. In some Buddhist traditions, it’s common to meditate for just 15 minutes at a time.

How Can I Ignore Distractions During Meditation?

One of the biggest challenges of meditation is learning how to ignore or overcome distractions. Imagine that you’re trying to meditate but your roommate is blasting their music, the neighborhood kids are yelling outside, and your phone won’t stop buzzing.

Today, we have more distractions than ever, and that can make it hard to get into the right state of mind for meditation.

How can you ignore distractions? Here are some tips:

  • Set yourself up for success. Give yourself time for your practice. Choose a quiet spot with minimal distractions. Put your phone on silent, and wear headphones. Let your friends and family know that you’re dedicating this time to meditation and that you do not want to be disturbed.
  • Redirect your focus when you get distracted. If you find yourself getting distracted by sounds or thoughts, redirect your attention to your breath or whatever object you’re focusing on. Do not beat yourself up about it—practice non-resistance. Be present with the distraction and redirect your attention back to where you want it to be.

Treat each experience as a lesson. Reflect on how your mind works and what kinds of distractions have the strongest pull for you. By better understanding what distracts you, you can take steps to reduce distractions or learn how to identify them and redirect your attention.

Does Meditation Have to be a Religious or Spiritual Practice?

Although meditation has religious and spiritual roots, it does not necessarily have to be practiced for these purposes.

Many people use mindfulness-based meditation to simply:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Bring a sense of balance and peace to their lives
  • Learn how to improve their focus and memory

Whether or not you explore the spiritual or religious aspects of this practice is entirely up to you. At the end of the day, meditation is simply sitting peacefully.

Should I Meditate If I Already Do Things Like Yoga or Exercise?

Meditation is a mental practice, not a physical one. So, it’s perfectly fine to meditate if you already engage in physical activities, even those that may feel meditative, like running or yoga.

In fact, many people find that meditation helps enhance their exercise routines and gives them the extra energy boost they need to get moving.

Is There a Right or Wrong Way to Meditate?

The great thing about meditation is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. However, it’s important to find a method or practice that works well for you and your needs.

You may find that some methods or types of meditation don’t work well for you. In this way, you could argue that there’s a “wrong” way to meditate simply because the practice isn’t meeting your needs.

But as a general rule of thumb, you can’t really meditate the wrong way or even be bad at meditation. Remember – it’s all about accepting the present moment as it is and without judgment.

What is a Meditation Object?

Meditation objects are used in object meditation, which is a visual-based practice where you focus on one particular thing.

A meditation object can be just about anything:

  • A tree outside
  • A candle
  • A visual picture in your mind

It doesn’t matter what the object is as long as you can maintain your focus on it without judgment or labels.

Why is Breath Awareness So Important in Meditation?

Breath awareness is a traditional focus for meditation practices, but why? Because it’s something that is ever-present and relatively simple to focus on.

Additionally, paying attention to the rise and fall of your breath can help you naturally take longer and deeper inhales and exhales, helping you relax and easing stress.

Breath awareness also helps synchronize the mind and body so that you become fully aware and immersed in the present moment.

Where Should I Meditate?

Just as there is no right or wrong way to meditate, there is no right or wrong place to practice. Skilled meditators can practice anywhere, including the busiest and noisiest of streets in a city.

That said, most people find that the best place to meditate is one that is:

  • Quiet
  • Safe
  • Peaceful
  • Free from distractions

This place can be anywhere, from your front porch to your local park.

Do I Have to Sit Cross-legged When I Meditate?

No, you don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position when meditating. You can sit in whatever position you like. The most important thing is to be comfortable.

Many people find that sitting in a cross-legged position puts too much stress on their knees. The last thing you want is to be in pain or uncomfortable when you’re trying to relax and get into a meditative state. So, find a position that works for you. You can also use a meditation cushion or stool, which will take some of the stress off of your knees.

Should I Listen to Music While Meditating?

It’s perfectly fine to listen to music while meditating. In fact, many people find that music helps them get into a deeper meditative state. Just make sure that you choose relaxing music that won’t be too distracting.

Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. If music helps you with your practice and you enjoy listening to it while you meditate, then continue to do so.

What Do I Need to Get Started with Meditation?

The beauty of meditation is that you only need two things to get started: a peaceful place and time. You can spend money on fancy cushions and courses if you want, but ultimately, all you need is time and a place to practice.

Do I Have to Have a Blank Mind to Meditate?

Many people are intimidated by meditation because they’ve been told they have to empty their minds or keep their minds blank while practicing. But if you’re a beginner, it can be extremely difficult to keep your mind free of noise and chatter at first.

Rather than telling yourself not to think while meditating, just allow things to be as they are in the moment without attachment or judgment. Witness and observe your thoughts, and then let them go. Don’t get caught up in them.

How Do I Stop Feeling Restless or Uncomfortable While Meditating?

If you’re feeling restless, acknowledge it. Observe your restlessness, allow it to be and explore the feeling. Why are you feeling restless? Remember to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to feel this way. You may find that shorter meditation sessions can help you avoid that feeling of restlessness in the beginning. As you get used to the practice, you can extend your time.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable, try moving around and finding a position where you feel relaxed but still awake and alert.

It’s normal to feel restless or uncomfortable when you first start meditating. Even if you’ve been practicing for years, you may still encounter these experiences.

What Should I Do if I Keep Falling Asleep While Meditating?

Many beginners fall asleep during their meditation sessions. It’s normal and common, so don’t stress about it. But if you find that you’re always falling asleep and having trouble progressing with your meditation, here are some tips:

  • Try not to meditate after eating
  • Practice away from the bedroom
  • Take your meditation outdoors
  • Try walking meditation
  • Keep your eyes open while you meditate

How Do I Know if I’m Meditating the Right Way?

There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, and everyone experiences meditation in their own way. That said, there are some things that many people experience while meditating:

  • A heightened sense of awareness – of your surroundings as well as your thoughts and emotions
  • You stop making judgments and simply observe
  • You become enveloped in a state of stillness

You may notice that you feel calmer, more relaxed, more resilient to stress and overall, more motivated and joyful if your meditation is progressing.

Am I Still Meditating if I Have Thoughts During My Session?

Yes, you can still meditate even if you have thoughts. The goal isn’t to stop having thoughts. The goal is to simply observe and witness thoughts if they arise, and then let them go.

If you’re too focused on keeping your mind blank and trying to force your mind into not thinking, it will be extremely challenging to get into a meditative state.

Once you stop trying to empty your mind, you’ll find that your thoughts naturally disappear after practice and time.

How Do I Quiet My Mind During Meditation?

If you have a busy mind that’s constantly moving from one thought to another, it can be challenging to really get deep into meditation.

One way to address this issue is to bring your focus back to your breath. Whenever you feel your mind wandering or notice that you’re getting lost in thought, bring your attention to your breath.

Simply shifting your attention back to where you want it to be can help sharpen your focus. Over time, you may find that your mind is naturally quieter.

It may also help to repeat a mantra or to say “in” and “out” with each inhale or exhale. Taking this approach can help ensure that you’re in control of your mind rather than letting it wander on its own.

How Do I Deal with Back or Leg Pain While Meditating?

It’s common to experience leg or back pain while meditating, especially if you’re new to the practice and sitting in positions you don’t normally sit in. But pain should never be a part of your practice.

If you’re feeling any kind of back or leg pain while you’re meditating, shift your position. Find a comfortable way to sit – any way will do

You can also try:

  • Sitting in a chair or up against a wall to support your back
  • Placing a blanket or towel under your knees for support
  • Using a meditation cushion
  • Ensuring that you’re using good posture when sitting

What Should I Wear While Meditating?

You can wear whatever you like while meditating. There are no rules – unless you are attending formal classes or sessions in facilities that have dress codes.

Whatever you wear, make sure you’re comfortable. Clothing that is too tight or constricting can be uncomfortable or even painful and may prevent you from breathing deeply during your practice.

Is There a Specific Way I Should Breathe During Meditation?

There are many breathing exercises out there, and there are many ways to breathe during meditation. But if you’re just getting started, don’t fixate on these things. Just breathe naturally.

It’s okay if you have shallow breathing. It’s okay if you have deep breathing. Just let it be.

Over time, you may find that your breathing patterns change naturally to become slower and deeper.

Final Thoughts

It’s natural to have many questions about meditation, but at the end of the day, it’s a simple practice. Don’t overthink it, and just allow everything just to be.

Top 13 Meditation Gifts

Top 13 Meditation Gifts

Not sure what to buy the meditator in your life? We’ve rounded up 13 of the top meditation gifts to help enhance their practice. From meditation cushions to experience gifts and subscription boxes, you’re sure to find something for your loved one on our list.

Disclosure: Some of the products we recommend include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. We may earn a commission if you buy something through any affiliate link on our site.

1. Meditation Cushions

A meditation pillow is a great gift idea for someone who is just getting started with their meditation journey. Many new meditators find it difficult to find and stay in a comfortable position. A meditation cushion can help.

The right cushion will:

  • Provide support
  • Promote good posture
  • Take the stress off of your knees

Look for pillows with supportive, comfortable filling (like buckwheat) and removable covers for easy cleaning.

We like this meditation pillow from Florensi. It’s just the right size and comes with a square floor cushion for extra support for your knees and ankles.

meditation cushions

2. Singing Bowls

Singing bowls are traditionally used as a meditation tool to help clear the mind, but they can also be therapeutic. For example, they’re used in sound healing to help ease pain, promote muscle relaxation and even help with digestive issues.

Sound therapy isn’t just a bunch of nonsense, either. A review of 400 studies found that music has physical and mental health benefits.

Plus, singing bowls are just fun to play, and they’re beautifully detailed.

If you’re going to buy a singing bowl as a gift for a friend or loved one, consider the following:

  • Material: Metal and crystal bowls are available. Both are excellent choices, but metal bowls tend to be easier to play (great for beginners).
  • Size: Small bowls are perfect for beginners. Keep in mind that crystal bowls are heavier than their metal counterparts. The size and the weight will affect the resonance.

We like this singing bowl from Telsha. It’s a decent size (5” tall with a 5.5” diameter), and it’s locally sourced. No two bowls are the same, and they come with a wooden mallet for easy play.

singing bowls

3. Meditation Books

Meditation books are great gifts for anyone seeking knowledge on how to improve their practice or even how to get started. Beyond practice, you can find books that delve into more philosophical and spiritual aspects of meditation.

You can find a great selection of meditation books on Amazon, including:

Books make great stocking stuffers and are a thoughtful choice for any meditator.

4. Meditation Session, Workshop or Retreat

Experience gifts are truly memorable. If it’s in your budget, consider booking your friend or loved one a meditation retreat, workshop or session.

There are so many great options for workshops and retreats all over the world, such as:

  • Esalen Institute in California’s Big Sur area. They offer workshops, accommodations, natural hot springs and more.
  • Drala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. They offer a number of retreat events throughout the year. Along with meditation and yoga sessions, they also have hikes and share meals.
  • Kadampa Meditation Center in Glen Spey, New York. This meditation center is a great budget-friendly option. Workshops start at $20. Accommodation starts at $90 per person per night – or $110 for two people. They also have study programs for those who want to learn more about Buddhist teachings.

If you search for “meditation workshops near me” or “meditation retreats near me,” you’re sure to find local options. Just make sure that you do your research to see what’s included and how other people rate the experience.

5. Guided Breathing Tool

Meditation is all about focusing on the rise and fall of your breath. Learning how to slow down your breathing can also help calm your body and mind.

But it’s not always easy to practice your breathing when you’re panicked or you’re new to meditation. That’s where a guided breathing tool comes in.

We love the Breathing Buddha from Mindsight because it’s adorable and educational.

This tiny Buddha changes colors when it’s time to inhale (green), hold at the top of the breath (purple) and exhale (blue).

The great thing about this handy tool is that you can take it anywhere. So, if you know someone who works a stressful job, has trouble sleeping at night or just wants to improve their breathing, Breathing Buddha is a thoughtful gift.

breathing guide

6. Essential Oil Diffuser

An essential oil diffuser isn’t necessary for meditation, but it can help. Aromatherapy can help you relax and get into the right mindset for a meditation session. Depending on the essential oils that you use, they can also help with mental clarity and boost your mood.

There are a dizzying number of diffusers on the market today. Most models are ultrasonic and easy to use. Just fill the water reservoir, add a few drops of essential oil, and hit the power button.

If you want a simple, no-frills aromatherapy diffuser, this one from HLS is a great option. It comes in a few colors and has a modern design that will look great in any home.

Plus, it comes with a set of essential oils: lavender, peppermint, tea plant, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, orange flower, frankincense, cinnamon and cedar.

The LED color light strip can help set the mood, and there’s an automatic timer setting for easy use.

aromatherapy

If you want to go beyond a basic diffuser, try this Himalayan salt diffuser. This 2-in-1 device offers aromatherapy and ionic salt therapy.

The diffuser has genuine Himalayan pink salt crystals, which contain more than 70 trace minerals. It also comes with a set of essential oils: peppermint, eucalyptus, spearmint, lemongrass, tea tree, clove, lavender, orange, nutmeg and Jasmine.

essential oil diffuser

7. Meditation Chair

If a meditation cushion doesn’t offer enough support, a meditation chair may be the next best thing. These chairs are designed to help you sit comfortably in an upright position for meditation.

It includes a backrest (with a lumbar pillow), a meditation cushion and a floor cushion.

If you know someone who wants to meditate but has back problems or mobility issues, a meditation chair is a thoughtful gift.

We love the chair from Friends of Meditation (FOM) because it’s portable, provides ample back support and has a removable cover for easy cleaning.

meditation chair

8. Mindfulness Cards

When life gets stressful, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. If you have a friend or loved one who could use a little reminder to practice self-care and mindfulness, a set of mindfulness cards is a thoughtful gift.

We love the card set from Allura & Arcia. They include little practices or exercises to help you stress less and take better care of yourself.

mindfulness cards

9. Salt Lamps

Salt lamps may not seem like a traditional meditation gift, but they can enhance the practice by serving as a focal point for meditation. They also add a warm, cozy glow that can help you feel more relaxed.

Many people believe that salt lamps can help purify the air.

Their unique shape and beauty make salt lamps a wonderful gift for friends and family members who meditate.

We love the lamps from the Himalayan Glow Store because they’re made from natural Himalayan salt crystals that are hand mined.

salt lamps

10. Meditation Stool

A meditation stool is a wonderful gift for anyone who prefers kneeling during meditation. These stools are specially designed to promote good posture while opening up the body and alleviating pressure on the knees.

Kneeling, instead of sitting cross-legged, can help promote healthy circulation while making it easy to relax and stay in an upright position.

We like the stool from Monk & Llama because it folds up for easy portability and the frame is made from bamboo. It also has a removable cushion and a handy carrying case. Choose from five colors – purple, black, gray, blue and beige.

meditation stool

11. Mindfulness Journal

Mindfulness is a journey, and journaling is a part of that journey for many people. From gratitude to thoughts and emotions, journaling is an excellent tool for exploring the mind and improving mental health.

Meditators will appreciate receiving a mindfulness journal as a gift.

Mindfulness journal

We love this mindfulness meditation journal from the AlreadyThereShop on Etsy. It has daily prompts to help you:

  • Be in the moment
  • Be grateful for everything in your life
  • Practice kindness
  • More

12. Incense

Many meditators use incense to help clear and relax their minds. As a form of aromatherapy, incense can help you get into the right state for a deep meditation session.

Like with essential oils, there are so many types of incense, and they each have their own effects. But here are some of the most popular ones used in meditation:

Palo Santo

Known for its soothing scent, Palo Santo is believed to help raise your vibration and is often used during meditation.

Palo Santo is a tree that’s native to South America, primarily Peru and Ecuador. So, when you’re buying Palo Santo, you’re technically buying chunks of wood. They burn longer, and they produce an intoxicating aroma.

We like the Palo Santo from the Luna Sundara Store because it’s sustainably harvested in Peru and derived from fair trade suppliers.

Palo Santo

White Sage

Sage is known for its grounding and cleansing effects. It’s often used in rituals to clear negative energy and help boost mood.

Many meditators burn sage to help eliminate negative or intrusive thoughts.

We love these white sage smudge kits from MagicBrands because each little bundle includes a white sage stick, selenite wand and Palo Santo.

White Sage

Nag Champa

Nag Champa is one of the most well-known types of incense, especially for meditation. It’s believed to create a sacred atmosphere and enhance meditation. Nag Champa incense is commonly used during morning prayers, ceremonies and special events.

It’s difficult to find real Nag Champa incense, but the Govinda store comes pretty close. We like this kit because it comes with an incense holder.

meditation incense

13. Meditation Gift Box

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the meditator in your life, a subscription box is a thoughtful option.

The MindfulSouls self-care subscription box includes basic essentials and fun little things that are all related to mindfulness, meditation and self-care.

Each box comes with 6-8 items, like healing crystals, jewelry, self-care products, guides and more.

meditation gift box
8 Meditation Hand Positions: Where Do I Put My Hands?

8 Meditation Hand Positions: Where Do I Put My Hands?

Meditation hand positions drive beginners crazy because there’s always the question of, “where do I put my hands when meditating?” And then, you’ll see a world-class practitioner or a Buddha statue and notice they have very specific hand meditation positions.

In fact, there are a lot of hand positions with different meanings, but they’re called Mudras rather than hand positions.

Mudras are very specific gestures and they often have to do with two main things:

  1. Bringing your focus inward
  2. Channeling energy to specific parts of your body

If you’re practicing Kundalini meditation or Chakra meditation, meditation hand positions and meanings may help you control your energy flow.

However, some Mudras may involve the entire body rather than just the hands, so you’ll need to be mindful about this.

Fingers and the Elements They Represent in Meditation

Each of your fingers correlates to an element, and since Mudras are rooted in helping balance the elements, it’s important to know each finger’s elements. The elements for each finger, include:

  • Thumb (Agni) – fire
  • Index (Vayu) – air
  • Middle Finger (Aakasha) – sky
  • Ring (Prithvi) – earth
  • Pinky (Jala) – water

While your hand and finger positions may seem subtle or insignificant to you, it is believed that they can help restore balance in the body.

8 Meditation Hand Positions and Meanings

Gesture of Knowledge or the Gyan Mudra

1. Gesture of Knowledge or the Gyan Mudra

If you envision someone meditating and they’re holding their thumb and index finger together, you already know this Mudra. In fact, it’s the most popular of the bunch. It’s also one of the gestures that are often connected to the chin mudra.

In this pose, you’ll:

  • Keep your arms separate
  • Balance the arm on the knee, close to your elbow
  • Keep your hands to the sky
  • Press your index finger to your thumb

And, when you perform this Mudra, it will help sharpen your memory and is meant to bring you more spiritual knowledge, too.

2. Flowing Air or Vayu Mudra

If you have anxiety, stress, or pain, you can use the Vayu Mudra while meditating to help you hone in on these issues. The Mudra will help you begin regulating the air element in the body and can be performed by:

  • Placing the tip of the index finger to the base of the thumb
  • Keep the remaining fingers straight

3. Fearlessness or Abhaya Mudra

Fearlessness is something we can all work on, especially when there’s so much anxiety and uncertainty in the world. You can maintain this hand position whether you’re sitting or standing, and it involves placing an open palm to the front of you.

Envision someone putting their hand out to say, “stop,” this is how you’ll hold your hand.

The position will help:

  • Ease fear
  • Bring peace
  • Raise protection

However, your right hand is the only one that is used. Raise the right hand to around your shoulder height and push your palm outwards and the fingers to the sky.

You can rest the left hand however you like.

Unshakeable Trust or Vajrapradama Mudra

4. Unshakeable Trust or Vajrapradama Mudra

The Mudra of unshakeable trust is a fun and common way to position your hands. If you feel like you need to be grounded, this is one of the best positions to try. It’s also very comfortable and has a way of calming the nervous system.

So, how do you master this hand position?

  • Lace your fingers together
  • Lift your laced hands to your heart
  • Place the hands on the heart, palms facing the heart

You can perform your entire meditation using this hand position if you find it comfortable enough. After a long, difficult day, this Mudra can be quite calming.

5. Generosity or Varada Mudra

Generosity and kindness are part of this Mudra and it’s one of the positions that you’ll see Hindu statutes holding. Instead of focusing on yourself or correcting something in your life, this Mudra will be about giving and generosity.

However, it’s a little tricky to maintain this hand position without seeing it first.

The steps below may help:

  • Place the back of the right wrist to your thigh
  • Open the palm to the sky
  • Stretch the fingers down to the ground

Your palm will be facing away from you in this pose as if pushing the generosity out of yourself. The left hand does not follow this Mudra, so you can choose one of the other ones on the list if you like.

6. Perception or Buddhi Mudra

Buddhi is one of the Mudras that are used most often and is associated with intellect and perception. The Mudra is meant to help you through your journey by improving:

  • Clarity
  • Mindfulness
  • Understanding

If you’re seeking answers or wisdom, try using this meditation hand position. Your thumb should touch the tip of your pinky while you extend the rest of your three fingers outward. You’ll then want to rest the back of your hand on your knee or thigh when meditating so that your palms are facing the sky in this position.

You can also try placing your hands on the middle or upper thigh if that’s more comfortable for you.

7. Enlightenment or Dhyana Mudra

Searching for enlightenment is one of the incorrect reasons to first start your meditation, but it is something most people hope to achieve over time. Of course, you may never reach enlightenment, but you can still bring some extra enlightenment into your practice with the Dhyana Mudra.

You’ll find that this hand position will help you concentrate and focus.

And for many people, Dhyana Mudra will also bring a feeling of calmness and peace to them when they’re feeling stressed. Beginning this hand position is quite easy:

  • Place both hands together on the lower abdomen
  • Place your palms in the air
  • Place the left hand under the right hand
  • Touch the point of your thumbs together

If you’re following this right, the space between the thumbs will form somewhat of a triangle.

8. Earth Touching or Bhumisparsha Mudra

Buddhists will recognize this hand position because it is associated with the awakening of the Buddha. The symbolism of this Mudra is one of the most important because Buddha touches the earth so that it can be a witness of his enlightenment.

You can begin performing this Mudra by doing the following:

  • Sit down for your meditation
  • Place your left hand on your knee, facing the sky
  • Place your right hand on your knee, facing the earth

The fingers on the right hand must be pointed toward the ground.

Now that you know various meditation hand positions and meanings, you can begin using them in your own practice. Try different hand positions for meditation and find one that you like. If a position is uncomfortable at first, practice it a few times to see if it gets better.

If you still don’t find the hand position comfortable, one like unshakeable trust is comfortable and easy to maintain.