An Expert Answers Your Questions On Meditation
Yes, it’s normal for your leg to fall asleep
We’ve been talking about mediation a lot lately and the positive impact it can have on your mental health. But there’s still a lot more to cover. So we took the questions you asked on Instagram to a meditation expert.
Danny is a teacher at the NY-based meditation studio, MNDFL and an avid meditator. Here’s what he had to say.
I always get distracted by my thoughts when I’m meditating. Any tips to stay focused?
Let’s say your mind is really racing, and it’s all over the place when you’re meditating. One tool that you can use when you’re doing that is to label what’s arising for you. Instead of pushing everything away, allow it to come into your practice and just label it for what it is.
So let’s say you have a thought: I have to go to get groceries later. Label it as “thinking.” Then come back to your objective focus, whether that’s the breath, a sound, a mantra.
Just by labeling what it is, you’re diffusing it, so you’re not getting attached to it. You’re allowing the space for it to be what it is.
My leg always falls asleep when I meditate. Is that normal?
If your leg is falling asleep, it’s totally ok to move around or to readjust. Just be mindful that you’re doing it. And it’s also completely ok to not sit cross-legged. I normally do, but feel free to to lie down, sit in a chair, whatever is most comfortable for you.
How long should you meditate for?
There’s no correct amount of time to meditate, but I would recommend starting out small— five to ten minutes. See what you can do. It’s not about forcing a meditation practice, it’s about what feels right. You’ll find that the more that you meditate, the longer you can go.
Is meditation good for anxiety?
Meditation is excellent for having an anxious mind. What we’re doing when we meditate is creating space. If we can see anxiety arise and see it for what it is--even if it’s just a little moment of space between us and the emotion--we have a little bit more time to respond, rather than get pulled in and attached to it.
When’s the best time to meditate?
That’s a trick question because there is no perfect time to meditate. It’s actually really just up to you and when it feels right.
So at any moment throughout your day, you can meditate. Let’s say you’re on your way to work, you can notice the sounds around you and the details of nature. It’s really about taking space throughout the day to bring you back to the present moment. It’s something that you can take with you anytime and anywhere.
Can meditation really improve my mental health?
Yes, meditation can be really helpful for mental health.
For me, personally, I found it to be life-changing. Throughout my twenties, I experienced a lot of anxiety and bouts of depression. I was exploring different ways to help me with how I was feeling, and I took the leap and tried meditation.
At first, I was noticing small, subtle changes to my daily life. But the more I stuck with it and the more I dove deeper into my practice, I found that I was able to have more space between myself and my anxious thoughts. I was able to develop a relationship with myself. I was able to take care of myself better, and listen to what both my body and my mind were saying.
So I definitely think that meditation can improve your mental health. It does take time and it does take commitment and practice. It’s not a magic pill that you take once and you’re going to be instantly better. But the practice of meditation literally transforms your life if you stick with it.
Thank you Danny and MNDFL for answering our questions!
If you’re ready to give meditation a try, here’s a quick way to get started.
And if you’re in the NYC area, use code IDONTMIND at MNDFL and your first sit is only $10.