There are many different schools of thought about what is the best time to meditate.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common practices, and tips to help you figure out how to fit meditation into your daily routine.
Fitting Meditation Into Your Schedule
The basic rule is simple: There is no “right” or “wrong” time to meditate.
Before you start fretting over the most ideal way to structure your practice, remember that meditation, ultimately, is about connecting with yourself, and finding time to find the space within you.
Anything external, like the meditation posture, routine, location, or time, is secondary. By far, the best thing you can do is to find a time that works with your schedule, and start a consistent habit.
Taking 5 minutes every day at whatever time works best for you is better than the ‘perfect’ routine you can only stick to once in a while.
That said, here are some of the different views you might adopt.
The Benefits of Meditating in the Morning
One of the best times to meditate is first thing in the morning. There are many reasons for this, and it’s no coincidence that many ashrams and meditation retreats start bright and early (sometimes as early as 4:00 or 4:30 am!).
While you don’t need to get up at any specific time, the main benefit of morning meditation is that it allows you to focus, clear away any residual stress from the day before, and start your day off on a positive note.
In other words, morning meditation allows you to set your day up for success.
For most people, there is a tendency to wake up and immediately become consumed by the list of things you have to do that day. As you’re brushing your teeth and getting dressed, you’re probably already thinking about what you need to accomplish.
Setting the habit of a morning meditation, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can help to redirect your energy into a higher state of focus. When you take the time to center on your own well-being first, you’ll find that the tasks you have to do will flow more naturally. You’ll wind up feeling more energized, more productive, and happier.
The Benefits of an Evening Meditation
Another popular time to meditate is in the evening, right before you go to bed. If you struggle with insomnia in any form, evening meditation is definitely worth a try.
Evening meditation is beneficial because it allows you to release and stress or negativity you accrued during your day. It will relax your mind and allow your to fall asleep more easily, and to maintain a deeper sleep throughout the night.
Even if you don’t have problems sleeping, a night time meditation will allow you to rest more fully, and there’s some data to indicate that it could even help you to solve long term problems and boost creative thinking.
If you’re struggling with a challenge that you can’t quite wrap your mind around, an evening meditation can release the problem into the realm of your subconscious mind. You will, quite literally, “sleep on it,” and don’t be surprised if you wake up to find you have an innovative solution you couldn’t have come up with otherwise.
The Benefits of Midday Meditation
Lastly, one important but often overlooked practice is the habit of meditating in the afternoon.
Many people don’t think that a lunchtime meditation is possible, due to the demands of their work, but, again, try to remember that you don’t need to do anything special in order to meditate.
Simply closing your eyes for a few minutes after lunch, before you get back to your desk, can help you to re-focus and build more energy for your afternoon work.
This time is especially important because we have a tendency to have lower energy after lunch. Our natural, circadian rhythm generally has a lull in the afternoon, and this lull is compounded if you eat a heavy meal.
Instead of reaching for your afternoon coffee, take the time to meditate for a few minutes. Empty your mind, focus on your breath, and re-center your attention on your vision or goals.
You’ll find that if you practice this habit consistently, your mind will jump to attention and your afternoon work will feel more on point, and your time will be more productive.
Whatever time you choose, remember that the key is to find quiet time for yourself. Forget about the demands of your external environment, and bring your attention within to quiet the mind.
For more tips and exercises on getting started with meditation, click here.