People have been asking how long should they meditate each day, a short time or a long time.
One person asked whether it is advisable to meditate for a whole 10 hours session.
Well, that’s not a good and feasible idea.
To meditate for 10 hours without stopping? Does the average person has a concentration span of 10 hours? Of course not!
The average concentration span is very short, measured in seconds or minutes.
It’s not a good idea to meditate that long in one session, even if you are a skilled meditator meditating in an ashram or in a secluded place.
Even if you try, it will not be really meditation. Your mind will wonder away, you might fall asleep, and would find it mentally and physically most uncomfortable. This is hardly feasible, and is not necessary.
More, does not mean better or faster results, not in meditation, neither in other areas of life.
Of course, if you have a long experience of years, you might be able to meditate for longer periods than the average, untrained person. In this case, you might be able to meditate for 1-2 hours in one session.
More Is Not Better in Meditation
The mind and body are not trained to mediate for hours, and it is not necessary.
Can you work out at the gym for 10 consecutive hours? No, you might harm your body instead of building muscles.
If a cake requires 50 minutes to bake, will it be a better and tastier cake if you put it in the oven for 10 hours? No, you will burn it.
It’s the same with meditation. More is not better.
The mind and the body should not be overtaxed. They also need periodic rest.
How many people you know can sit quietly for even 10 minutes, not to say 10 hours?
How Long Should a Meditation Session last?
There is no magic number. This depends on you experience, health, and purpose of meditating.
Meditation is like a meal. You eat for 10-20 minutes and the food sustains your body for hours. You do not need to eat continuously, for hours.
Meditating for even just 15 minutes a day can be enough for a beginner. Gradually, as you gain experience, you can lengthen the time to 30 or even 40 minutes.
Practicing meditation for 30 minutes each day is a great victory for willpower and self discipline, and you will surely notice that these meditation sessions are affecting your life in a positive way.
If all you wish is to relax your body and mind, 20 minutes a day might be enough.
However, if your intention is to gain control over your mind and thoughts, and reach a state of inner peace, you will need to devote more time to meditation. 30-40 or more minutes for a session would be more appropriate.
However, don’t jump right away to 30-40 minutes. Do so gradually.
Regular meditation would gradually bring more peace to your mind and to your thoughts.
In time, you might discover that you are in a meditative mood for the whole day, even while working, running tasks and interacting with people.
How Many Times a Day to Meditate?
Start with once a day. After some time, if you feel the need to meditate more, and can arrange the time, you may meditate twice a day.
The second time could be for 10 minutes or more.
I have read somewhere that even 5 minutes of meditation count, and I agree with that.
If you cannot find full 20 or 30 minutes to sit in a quiet place and meditate, split the time into small sessions. You can meditate in installments of say, 5 minutes, and totaling 20-30 minutes a day.
This is better than not meditating at all.
However, if you can arrange to have one complete session of 20 minutes a day or more, that’s better. Of course, if you wish, you can additionally, meditate a few minute here and there, if you are able to arrange the time, and do so calmly and without stress.
Results of Regular Meditation
If you meditate regularly, after a while, you might notice that you are experiencing moments of inner peace in your everyday life.
When would that happen is difficult to tell. This depends on many factors. It can happen in a few weeks, a few months, or much more.
Gradually, your mind would become calm and be under your control, and there would be no repetitive, bothering thoughts. You will enjoy short moments of mental stillness, happiness and bliss, which would gradually increase in time.
Meditation starts an inner movement within you, which gradually transform your awareness, leading you to experience the calmness and bliss of meditation in your everyday life, even while you are not meditating.
Different Meditation Techniques for Different Aims
I would like add some clarifications about the various forms of meditation, and suggest recommendations for the length of each session.
How long to meditate depends on various factors, such as your health, length of attention span, and the time you can find to be alone and undisturbed. It also depends on the kind of meditation you are practicing.
Many meditation methods are actually techniques to improve the focus and to relax the body and the mind.
Candle meditation, focusing on your breath, or any meditation geared toward relaxing the body, need not be too long. 10-20 minutes might be enough, otherwise you might strain your eyes, if it is candle meditation, or get extra ventilated, if it is focus on your breath.
These techniques have different aims than the more popularized forms of meditation, and are not everyone’s cup of tea.
Though they relax the body and calm down the mind, they aim to transcend the mind, expand the awareness and lead to spiritual awakening.
Since they do not involve the breath or any of the five senses, they can be safely extended to much more than 10-20 minutes, to even one hour or more.
If your aim is to silence your thoughts, rise above the mind, and experience spiritual awakening, these meditations might be more appropriate for you.