Meditation

Our full selection of articles exploring meditation.

Shaolin monk meditating while crossing hands in the lotus position

Shaolin Meditation Techniques (A Short Beginner’s Guide)

Shaolin meditation techniques originated hundreds of years ago in China, and they show up frequently in movies and popular culture. But what exactly is Shaolin meditation? And how is it different from other meditation techniques? Meditation never looks cooler than when it’s being done by Shaolin monks. If you’ve seen a martial arts movie, you’ve…

Man meditating outside

How Long Does Meditation Take to Work?

The effects of meditation are most commonly seen within eight weeks of daily practice. However, it’s possible for meditation practitioners to notice small changes before that—even as soon as the first meditation session. It’s also possible to have difficulty noticing the changes brought on by meditation even after eight weeks of practice. The experience differs…

How to Know if Meditation is Working

5 Signs of Progress in Meditation

Signs of progress in meditation are subtle. If you’re not as bothered by what used to bother you, you’re more often in the present, or you’re having random “mindful moments,” you’re probably making progress in meditation. The only way to see how much progress you make over time is to pay attention to your daily…

How Long Should I Meditate In the Morning

How Long Should You Meditate?

How long should you meditate? Meditate for any amount of time that’s sustainable for you in the long term. If you have time, try and meditate for 20-30 minutes. This length of time gives you a chance to get past the “busy mind” stage of meditation, and settle into a more peaceful rhythm that leaves…

Does meditation make you happy

Does Meditation Make You Happier?

Yes, meditation makes you happier. Research shows that participants in meditation programs report feeling happier, less anxious, and less stressed. However, meditation can take a long time to feel like it’s “working”. Most people start meditating because they want to reduce stress and anxiety in their lives, and feel calmer throughout the day. In short,…

Woman praying outdoors at sunset

Meditation vs Prayer (5 Ways They’re Different)

The main difference between meditation and prayer is that prayer involves belief in a deity and active communication, while meditation requires no beliefs and is an independent practice of nonjudgmental observation. Meditation and prayer have a close relationship. Both have been around for thousands of years, and to make matters more complex, there are forms…

Woman scratching an itch while meditating

Can You Scratch an Itch During Meditation?

We all know that feeling. You’re settling into your meditation, and then it happens—an itch. Your mind starts to focus on that one single area of annoyance on your body, and all of a sudden, it’s all you can think about. Sitting with an itchy sensation can benefit your meditation practice, but sometimes, there’s no…

Man meditating in a room with his eyes closed

Is Meditation A Hobby?

Yes, meditation is a hobby. Some people have a hard time conceptualizing meditation, which is defined by “being” rather than “doing,” as a hobby. However, if meditation is part of how you like to spend your free time, it’s a hobby (and you can put it on your resume or CV, too). Have you ever…

Man meditating outdoors with his eyes closed

Mantra Meditation (Benefits + How to Practice)

Mantra meditation occupies your mind, stopping your normal train of thought and clearing your mind. For the purposes of this article, I reviewed the history of mantra meditation and also tried it myself using a free app, so I could compare it against my experience with other forms of meditation. Mantra meditation is a form…

Group of people meditating

How Many People Meditate In The World?

Approximately 275 million people meditate around the world. The data behind this estimate is a combination of government surveys and Google Trends data across multiple languages. In this article, I’ll walk you through how I reached this estimate, and why I think it’s the most accurate answer to date. It’s harder to find an answer…

Woman stretching before running outside

Is It Better to Meditate Before Or After Working Out?

Is it better to meditate before or after working out? The short answer is that both options are totally fine. Preferably, you should do them in whichever order helps you keep both habits going long-term. Meditation and exercise in the morning is often seen as the ideal routine to prepare both your mind and body…

Woman meditating in a meditation studio with her eyes open

Can Meditation Be Bad For You?

Can meditation be bad for you? While some anecdotal reports of meditation have shown negative experiences, the National Institutes of Health has declared meditation safe for healthy people. Meditation has been shown to be an exceptionally low-risk activity with a wide range of benefits. While there have been some anecdotal reports of negative experiences with…

Woman playing chess

Does Meditation Make You Smarter?

Did you know that in addition to all the other benefits meditation has—an improved sense of calm, less stress, more emotional resilience—meditation may make you smarter, too? Based on a variety of studies in recent decades on both IQ and EQ, it looks likely that meditation has the capacity to increase both your intelligence and…

Woman meditating in front of a city skyline

The Top 59 Countries Where Meditation Is Most Popular

Meditation has been growing in popularity around the world for decades now. And of course, meditation has historical roots in countries like India, China, Korea and Japan. But what countries are practicing meditation the most today? While no reliable global surveys have been done on the popularity of meditation across the world, we can understand…

A man meditating while looking out at a city skyline

Global Meditation Popularity (Top 23 Cities)

The most popular city for meditation in the world is Melbourne, Australia. Other cities where meditation is popular include Dublin, Ireland; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Mumbai, India. This article is based on Google Trends search data and is driven by relative popularity, taking overall population into account. You can see our methodology below….

Woman sleeping after meditation

Can Meditation Replace Sleep? It’s Complicated

Sleep and meditation are different processes, and are not interchangeable. However, studies have shown that experienced meditators do tend to sleep less, and also that meditation can help reduce exhaustion and daytime drowsiness. When it comes to meditation and sleep, there’s much more anecdotal experience than there is scientific evidence. Some meditators report needing less…

Woman doing yoga on a mat looking towards a window

Yoga vs Meditation (Plus Benefits of Each)

What’s the main difference between yoga vs meditation? Yoga is a holistic practice intended to unify the body and mind. Meditation falls under the umbrella of yoga activities, as a practice specifically focused on the mind. When you’re lying at the end of a yoga session in Savasana—the resting pose at the end of many…

Woman meditating with headphones on while listening to music

Can You Meditate With Music? (6 Steps to Listening to Music While Meditating)

Can you meditate with music? Meditating with music is a totally valid option, even though not every meditation tradition does it. Music and guided meditations can be especially helpful for beginners, as a way to focus the mind, or for anyone who needs to meditate in a noisy environment. Especially if you’re a beginner, it’s…

Woman sitting in the forest after meditation

What to Do After Meditation (And How to Feel the Effects For Longer)

The best thing to do after the end of a meditation session is to continue to sit for a bit longer, processing your experience and maintaining a state of calm. If you have time, you can move on to an activity that supports your mindfulness, like journaling to consolidate the progress you have just made,…

Woman sitting on her bed meditating with her eyes open

How to Meditate with Eyes Open vs Eyes Closed

Wondering how to meditate with eyes open vs eyes closed? Some meditation traditions default to recommending eyes closed during meditation, but others recommend keeping your eyes open. There are benefits and drawbacks to each method. Most of us default to closing our eyes when we meditate. But we don’t have to. Monks in east Asia…