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How Long to Meditate

There are studies which suggest that twenty minutes of meditation a day is enough to experience many benefits. But even just a few minutes a day can have a profound effect. 

The answer to the question, how long to meditate, is totally dependent on where you’re at as a meditator. The most important thing is to follow the golden rule: build the habit first. 

Any amount of meditation is better than none, right? So my advice is to start small and build from there. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you need to meditate for at least half an hour to see the benefits.  

Let’s take a look at how long to meditate for beginner, intermediate and advanced meditators. 

How long to meditate for beginners

Beginners should meditate for an amount of time which feels comfortable for them and which they’ll be able to sustain. I’d suggest about 5-10 minutes a day for the first month or two, until you’ve built the daily habit. This helps to keep it nice and easy to maintain. 

Avoid meditating so long it puts you off or prevents you from sitting. It’s better to sit for 5 minutes every day than 30 minutes twice a week.

Once you’ve built the habit, we’ll extend from there. 

How long to meditate for intermediates

Now you’ve been meditating daily for a few months. Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to intermediate meditator.

If you’ve been meditating on and off for years, you should still consider yourself a beginner until you’ve built the daily habit. Then we can build from there.

So what now?

Well, let’s start extending your sitting time.

Increase your sitting time by 3-5 minutes, then increase again when it feels right. Eventually you’ll be at a point where you’re meditating for 20-30 minutes every day.

Do this for a few months. If you start missing sittings, reduce the time back down to 15 minutes until you’re ready to increase again.

How long to meditate for advanced practitioners

When you’ve been meditating for 20-30 minutes a day for a few months, it’s time to introduce your second sitting.

This is when you can start to consider yourself an advanced meditator. Although this is a little subjective, so some may disagree. 

Continue your 30-minute meditation once a day, perhaps in the morning, but then introduce a second sitting for 10 minutes in the evening. Or do it the other way way around if you prefer.

At this point, we start to increase the second sitting until we’re sitting twice a day for 30 minutes. This may take a few months.

Once you’re sitting twice a day, you’ll notice considerable changes in your life. Meditation is a subtle art and it changes you over time. But when you meditate twice a day, there is a change in the way you feel throughout the days. You may feel greater ease, joy, and energy.

How long to meditate for yogis

What about if you’re a very sincere spiritual seeker, a meditation teacher, or a yogi?

A good amount of time to meditate for these people is more like 45 minutes twice a day. But if you’re able to meditate more, do so. My ultimate goal, when I’m out of employment and working only as a meditation teacher, is to meditate for 3 hours per day, an hour and a half twice a day.

But this is too much for most people, though, so remember not to aim too high. Do what feels right for you and increase when you’re ready. 

Final Words

The trick is to play around and find the right meditation time for you that feels good and doesn’t drag. It should be easy to keep up given your life and schedule, and doesn’t put you off.

For some people, they’re able to meditate for a long time even as beginners. If you’re one of those people, that’s fine: start with longer meditations. But in my experience, if you start with high expectations, most people get put off, begin to sit less, and often give up.

Find a way to keep up this habit which is so important for your wellbeing. If you lose motivation, do something about it. Never give up. You can reach out to meditation groups, teachers, or communities. Please feel free to contact me as well if you need support.

Leave a comment below and tell me, how long do you meditate for each day, and do you plan to increase that time soon?

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