Best Time to Meditate

Finding the Best Time to Meditate: Tips and Advice on When to Sit

Published on March 16, 2024

Finding a few moments to sit quietly and meditate can seem like a luxury you can’t afford in your busy day to day routine. However, carving out time for a daily practice can bring immense benefits to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Not only does it help you calm your mind and reduce stress and anxiety, but it also increases focus, clarity, creativity, compassion, and overall happiness. One question that often arises when starting a meditation practice is, “what is the best time to meditate?” Answering this question requires an understanding of your schedule, habits, personal rhythms, goals, preferences, and lifestyle.

Finding the Best Time to Meditate

The beauty of meditation lies in its flexibility and adaptability to fit into any routine or lifestyle. However, finding the best time to meditate can greatly enhance the benefits you receive from this practice.

The early morning hours, when the world is still and your mind is fresh, are often considered the ideal time for meditation. The quiet stillness of dawn can help you connect with your inner self and set a positive tone for the rest of your day. Alternatively, some may find that meditating in the evening helps them unwind and release the stresses of the day.

So, when is the best time to meditate? The answer is simple—the best time to meditate is when you can fully commit to the practice with a clear and focused mind and can commit to it wholeheartedly. Therefore, it is important to experiment and find what time of day allows you to be most present and focused during your meditation practice. Try meditating at different times and pay attention to how you feel before and after each session.

Assessing Your Daily Schedule

The first place to start is by assessing your daily schedule and identifying pockets of time where you can carve out a few minutes for yourself. Whether it’s before the chaos of the day begins or after the hustle and bustle has settled down, find a time that works best for you. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to practicing meditation. What matters most is your dedication and intention to prioritize your mental well-being.

Finding free time might surprise you—like those quiet coffee minutes before everyone wakes or the calm after dinner settles. As you carefully examine and assess your daily schedule, make sure to prioritize self-care and activities that nourish your soul.

Balancing meditation with life’s demands needs intentional planning. As you weave meditation into the fabric of your daily life, make it a non-negotiable part of your day. Don’t rush assessing your daily schedule ; take the time to truly understand when you feel most at peace and aligned with yourself. It may require some trial and error, but trust that the universe will guide you to the perfect time to meditate.

As you narrow down the best moments in your daily routine, the next thing to consider is the benefits of meditating at different times of the day.

Practicing Before Sunrise

The traditional view is that the best time to meditate is 96 minutes before sunrise, during a time period called the brahma muhurta. Yogis consider this time of day to be the most auspicious for spiritual elevation, inner peace, and mental clarity. Dawn is a time of new beginnings and is believed to bring with it a greater connection to the divine. Waking up this early to practice can be challenging at first, but the rewards are worth it.

During this sacred time, the energy in the atmosphere is said to be charged with positivity and potential, making it the ideal moment to connect with your inner self and the universe. The body and mind are still in a state of rest, with no external distractions, which allow people to connect more deeply with their inner self. The pre-dawn atmosphere provides a sense of calm and peace that is ideal for self-reflection and introspection.

There are several downsides to practicing before sunrise. It can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to get out of bed so early in the morning. It can be too cold and dark for a comfortable practice. Also, you might be too sleepy to fully focus and be present for the practice.

Benefits of Morning Meditation

Meditating in the morning sets you up for a peaceful and focused day. The stillness of the early hours can provide a serene space for reflection and introspection, helping you cultivate a sense of gratitude and mindfulness that can carry you through the day. With a clearer mind, it’s easier to think straight and start the day feeling calm and sharp. This can make you more ready to handle challenges with a fresh outlook and strength.

Morning meditation helps improve your memory, attention, and control over your emotions, making your day smoother and your work more productive. It keeps you calm and centered, boosting your focus, lowering quick reactions, and provides a reservoir of patience and tranquility to draw from in stressful situations. You are also likely to experience an increase in energy levels and a boost in creativity after incorporating morning meditation into your routine.

Overcoming Common Morning Obstacles

  • Feeling Too Sleepy: Washing your face with cold water or meditating with open eyes can help you wake up and stay alert during your morning session. Consider practicing some yoga, pranayama or a light workout before you practice to increase your energy levels and help you stay awake.
  • Physical Discomfort: The body can feel tight, stiff, and uncomfortable in the morning, making it difficult to sit still for meditation. To overcome this, try incorporating some gentle stretching or yoga poses to loosen up your muscles and joints before you begin your meditation practice. You can also experiment with different seating options, such as using a cushion or chair to find a comfortable position that works for you.
  • Lack of Time: If you find yourself rushing through your morning meditation or skipping it altogether because of time constraints, consider waking up a few minutes earlier to make room for your practice. Finding the motivation to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being may help you get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze on your alarm.

Benefits of a Lunch Break Meditation

Carving out time for a lunch break meditation can serve as a potent recharge, significantly enhancing afternoon productivity. By taking just a few minutes to center yourself and focus on your breath, you can reset your mind and ease any tension, stress, or anxiety that may have accumulated throughout the morning. It provides an opportunity to pause, breathe, center oneself, and refocus the mind for the tasks ahead, thereby boosting mental clarity, improving mood, and efficiency.

This practice helps to clear the mind of clutter, allowing for a fresh perspective on challenges and enabling you to approach them with greater creativity, problem-solving skills and insight. This mental reset also facilitates an easeful transition into the afternoon with renewed vigor, motivation, determination and a clear mindset. This practice can also lead to a heightened sense of self-awareness and emotional regulation, allowing you to navigate work-related issues with greater ease and composure. Regular meditation has been shown to reduce feelings of burnout and increase overall job satisfaction, leading to a more positive and fulfilling work experience.

Advice for Meditating at Work

Implementing meditation into your lunch hour routine can transform your workday, promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to work and productivity. Here are three simple tips to get the most out of a meditation break from work:

  • Find a Quiet Space: Seek a quiet corner, an unused meeting room, outdoor area, or even your car as a space to meditate. Make sure the space is clean and free from clutter to help create a sense of calm and tranquility. Inform your colleagues, if necessary, to ensure you’re not disturbed.
  • Use Headphones: If finding a quiet space is a challenge, consider using noise-canceling headphones to block out any distracting sounds. This will help you focus on your meditation practice by drowning out background noise and either providing a soothing soundscape to practice with or listen to guided meditations.
  • Set a Timer: To ensure that you don’t lose track of time and are late getting back to work, set a timer for your meditation session. This will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the practice without constantly checking the clock and feeling anxious about running over your allotted break time.

Benefits of Evening Meditation

evening meditation An evening meditation practice can be helpful in winding down and preparing the body and mind for a restful night’s sleep, especially if you are not a morning person. By engaging in meditative practices before bed, individuals can significantly enhance the quality of their sleep, combat insomnia, and create a peaceful transition from the day’s activities to night-time rest. Engaging in meditation before bedtime can promote relaxation of both the body and mind, helping to alleviate the stress, worry, and tension that may have accumulated throughout the day.

Practicing in the evening can also help people process and release any negative emotions or thoughts that may have arisen during the day. By allowing oneself to sit with these emotions in a non-judgmental and compassionate way, individuals can gain a sense of perspective and distance from their problems, leading to a greater sense of inner peace and emotional balance. An evening meditation practice can strengthen one’s mindfulness and self-awareness, allowing yogis to become more attuned to their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This heightened awareness can lead to greater self-understanding, personal growth, and the ability to make more conscious and intentional choices in life.

Additionally, evening meditation can cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the day that has passed, as well as set positive intentions for the day ahead. By taking the time to reflect on the blessings and lessons of the day, individuals can foster a mindset of gratitude and positivity that can carry them through the challenges of tomorrow.

Overcoming Common Obstacles of Evening Meditation

  • Distractions: There can be many more distractions in the evening compared to practicing meditation during the day. Household noise, family members coming home, electronic devices buzzing with notifications and other external stimuli can easily disrupt your focus. To overcome this obstacle, find a quiet and secluded space where you can meditate without interruptions. Communicate to your family members or roommates about your meditation practice and request some quiet time. You can try using earplugs or playing white noise in the background to drown out external sounds.
  • Fatigue: By the evening, you may have already had a long day at work or have been busy with tasks or responsibilities which make you feel tired and less motivated to meditate. To combat fatigue during evening meditation, consider taking a short power nap before your meditation session to recharge your energy levels. Try to avoid heavy meals or stimulating activities close to your meditation time, as they may contribute to feelings of lethargy. You can also try practicing some gentle yoga stretches or deep breathing exercises to awaken your body and mind.
  • Restlessness: In the evening, you may find it difficult to calm your mind and body because of the day’s events or looming responsibilities. Restlessness can hinder your ability to enter a meditative state and fully immerse yourself in the practice. To overcome restlessness during evening meditation, start by creating a calming pre-meditation routine. This can include activities such as dimming the lights, playing soothing music, or taking a warm bath to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind.
  • Procrastination: Putting off meditation until later in the evening can lead to procrastination, as you may find yourself getting caught up in other activities or distractions. To overcome this common obstacle, try setting a specific time for your meditation practice and stick to it. Create a routine or schedule for your evening meditation to make it a non-negotiable part of your day. Consider setting reminders or alarms to prompt you to start your meditation session.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best time to meditate is a personal journey that can greatly enhance your success at achieving inner peace, balance, and overall health and wellness. By taking the time to explore different times of day and listening to your body’s natural rhythms, you can discover the perfect moment for your meditation practice. There is no one-size-fits-all answer—what works for one person may not work for another. Trust yourself and your intuition to guide you towards the ideal time for you.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find the right time immediately. Like any new habit, it takes time and patience to establish a consistent meditation routine. Stay committed to your practice and be open to adjusting your schedule as needed. With dedication and perseverance, you will find the best time to meditate that aligns perfectly with your unique needs and preferences.

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Timothy Burgin Avatar
About the author
Timothy Burgin is a Kripalu & Pranakriya trained yoga instructor living and teaching in Asheville, NC. Timothy has studied and taught many styles of yoga and has completed a 500-hour Advanced Pranakriya Yoga training. Timothy has been serving as the Executive Director of YogaBasics.com since 2000. He has authored two yoga books and has written over 500 articles on the practice and philosophy of yoga. Timothy is also the creator of Japa Mala Beads and has been designing and importing mala beads since 2004.
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