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YogaDork Giveaway: ‘How to Meditate’ by Pema Chodron

in Giveaways!


It’s that time of year again, when spring fast forwards into an unofficial summer and our minds drift off to frosty beverages and sandy lands by the sea. The lazy days are almost upon us! (Even if only in our minds.) As we transition into a season of chillaxing we thought it apropos to supply with some quality reading material. We hope you’ve been keeping up with the book excerpts and giveaways thus far – and reading all the awesome comments! We’re really excited about this next one.

Pema Chödrön is one of those authors who can put things into words and perspective with such aplomb you not only feel better, you feel freer.

For instance, one of our favorite unsuspecting quotes from Pema, a buddhist monk and otherwise reserved looking lady, is this one from the classic  When Things Fall Apart:

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

Oh. Well then. All right. Of course, that’s more difficult than it reads, but Pema is especially wonderful at laying it all out there, to help us along with our own ah-ha moments. In her new book, How to Meditate, we’re provided with wisdom and straightforward advice about a practice that may not appear to be very straightforward. Also, she can be pretty funny.

More about the book:

This comprehensive guide shows readers how to honestly meet and openly relate with the mind to embrace the fullness of our experience as we discover:

  • The basics of meditation, from getting settled and the six points of posture to working with your breath and cultivating an attitude of unconditional friendliness.
  • The Seven Delights-how moments of difficulty can become doorways to awakening and love.
  • Shamatha (or calm abiding), the art of stabilizing the mind to remain present with whatever arises.
  • Thoughts and emotions as “sheer delight”-instead of obstacles-in meditation.

Read the excerpt here.

WIN: We’re pleased to be giving away 3 copies of How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chödrön.

TO ENTER: In the age of constant distractionville (there are industries that exist solely to distract you!) it’s easy to be deterred from sitting and finding stillness. Share with us in the comments your biggest distraction when trying to meditate and what you try to do to bring yourself back in. OR maybe you haven’t started a meditation practice yet. In that case, what’s the obstacle?

Maybe we can all learn a few tips!

Giveaway open until 11:59pm Tuesday, June 4. Winners will be chosen at random and announced soon after. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congrats to JN, Donna Lee Parker and We! Thanks to all who entered. Best of luck on your continued meditation journeys!



126 comments… add one
  • My biggest distraction when meditating is my mind! In yoga they call it the “monkey mind”, jumping from thought to thought. I have found that focusing on my breathing and focusing on outside noises can bring me back to the present moment and my meditation. Also, not ignoring my mind, but gently noting those thoughts for what they are and then bringing my attention back to my breath.

  • My biggest distraction is wondering what my husband is doing……or what my dog is doing….or what the neighbor is doing! Perhaps I’m a bit to nosey?

  • Daphne

    My biggest distraction is my inner chatter, yipes it can go on, and what convos it has!!! I find stillness in my breath and I use counting breath to center myself. I love to meditate outside.

  • Carrie Warner

    I work from home. I have the world’s shortest commute, but the world’s most distracted day. There are dishes to wash, floors to clean, cats to pet, stomachs to feed…and then there’s the actual work day and work-related responsibilities, the phone calls, emails, Skype pings…Most days, it’s a wonder I even get lunch, let alone some time to relax and refocus. By the time I feel I can sign off of the computer, all I want to do is collapse onto the couch and watch something mindless; meanwhile, there are gardens to tend to, grass to cut, walks to sweep…

    I’d love to find a way to bring small sips of meditation into my life, one small sit or focus at a time.

    I’m a huge fan of Pema Chödrön — I have most of her books and I’ve found them extremely helpful over the years; it’s good information to come back to time and time again. I’d love the chance to learn how to meditate and find ways to add it to my crazy work-from-home life.

  • We

    I must I admit I stuggle with many things, the mind, the noise, the sore neck, my own frustration. But its worth it! But even though Im struggling, it feels mighty good 🙂

  • G Faunk

    t goes something like this:

    “OMG I have so much to do today, blah blah stop thinking about it, BREATHE. God all I hear is static from proto thought garbage. I wonder how long it’s been? don’t check the clock! ”
    – feeling of intense anxiety
    ” what the hell is that? why do I want to get up so bad? sit with the feeling”
    – feeling of anxiety becomes slightly duller
    ” what is that feeling? can I go deeper into it? too hard, not working. what other stuff is going on I’m not noticing? shit I’m thinking about thinking. am I even breathing?”
    – checks breath. I was definitely holding it.
    ” ok back to breath”
    – impatience springs up again
    ” I wonder if anybody responded to my post on yogadork. could I have won? no probably not. I’ll get the book anyway. oh wait, I’m broke. need to check my email for job offers. is it time to get up yet? ahh good enough”
    – gets up and wastes hours on the internet.

    that’s the typical session in a nutshell

  • Liz

    The chatter of the mind will distract and take me out of my experience in many ways: what that person said to me earlier, gotta take out the garbage, I’m not concentrating enough, I’d rather be watching Downton Abbey, etc. It’s louder some days than others, but if I can just allow myself 5, or even 1 minute of meditation each day; I sit longer and the chatter slows down.

  • Rebecca

    The biggest distraction for me when I meditate is self-doubt. Like many people I have severe depression and while meditation is a tool I try to use to make myself feel normal it’s hard to shut off the self reproaching voice. “You should be sitting straighter.” “You let your mind wander again!!” “You’re not good at this, just give up now.” I haven’t been able to find anything to help me get over the wandering mind and the instant harsh reprimand, but I’m working on it.

  • therese

    My thoughts do get in the way but lately it has been planes overhead. Oh to be able to let the thoughts go. I love meditation so this is a fun challenge to clear the mind. Love Pema Chodron.

  • I have been struggling with meditation since I started a few years ago. If I’m lucky I’ll manage a few minutes at the end of a yoga class, but that’s rare. I have such a hard time letting go of my thoughts—what I have to do, when it has to be done, etc. I can’t slow the chatter, and the harder it is to slow the more I know I need to meditate.

  • Kawika

    Getting started. I had a practice many years ago and recently started yoga. I’m thinking first thing in the morning might be a way to get my routine set. Certainly, I’m aware of how the mind wanders and will accept this as part of my learning process. It will have to be a conscious decision to make this happen. Such is life and striving to develop and keep healthy habits and routines in our daily activities.

  • My biggest distraction is the old tape of “there is always more to do”. I have, however, found a way to utilize my yoga practice to create the spaciousness in my busy mind to let go and be still for longer and longer amounts of time. I often find the entire morning has passed me by, and all I’ve done is connect with the Divine. I’m happy about that.

  • Kathleen

    My biggest distraction is a stray thought about something I have to do that turns into a few (or many) thoughts in a row. Once I realize that I am not present anymore, I take a conscious breath, focusing on the sensation of the air streaming into and out of my nose. It’s that easy to return. It also helps that a college coach of mine taught us to leave our problems at the door when we stepped into practice. “You can pick them back up on your way out if you want to,” she would say. That knowledge also helps. Often, they are at least in some small way different after the meditation.

  • Hope

    My biggest distraction is noises from the external environment (I live in the city in a large apartment building). Sometimes I use headphones with white noise (and mindfulness bell alerts) playing; but mostly I use the thoughts that pop up as a reaction to the noise as a reminder to NOTICE the thoughts and other products of my mind, rather than FOLLOW those invitations from my mind away from the present.

  • My biggest distraction is my cat using me as his own personal rope’s course during meditation. If I try to lock him out he just cries and becomes distressed which is even more distracting. My solution, and this seems to work pretty well is to make him some catnip/chamomile tea which I put a tiny bit of cream into. He loves it and the herbs calm him naturally so kitty and I can ZEN out together!

  • Ann

    I struggle with consistency of practice — my tendency is to overcommit to projects at my job, and it’s difficult for me to make the time to meditate regularly. Ironically, I know that if I *do* meditate regularly, I will feel like I have more time … so I’m hoping to start a regular habit this summer.

  • LR

    My biggest distraction is probably noise – big trucks driving by, the tick of the clock, anything out of the ordinary. I’m a big fan of Pema Chodron’s writing, I would love a copy of her new book. 🙂

  • James

    My biggest distraction is my insecurity. I need to be completely sure that no one could look over the fence and see me (that put an end to my backyard yoga) or walk in on me while I’m trying to get centered.

    Other than that I’m pretty good at not being dist- ICE CREAM!

  • Shanna

    My biggest distraction is definitely worrying about work!

  • Matthew F.

    Meditation has been a struggle for years. I often get distracted by sounds/thoughts.

    One classic technique of bringing my thoughts back to my breath helps. Otherwise I let the thought(s) pass through my mind and accept that they are just thoughts, not who I am.

  • Chris

    Separating myself from the dialogue of my mind and the human noise around me. I settle and calm myself, and focus again on my breathe.

  • Stacey

    My biggest distraction? My mind! The thing that helps me a lot is cultivating the witness perspective. This helps me find a little distanc between ME and my mind.

  • Lex

    I have had several wonderful experiences with meditation and tend to do most of my meditation at the end of the day.

    I have found that my impatience, feeling rushed to get to that sweet, deep inner stillness is what is most distracting. My mind will start racing with questions, Am I going to get there today? What happened during my day that might keep me from enjoying the peace of meditation? Will my sore neck, tight ham strings, other body sensations keep me from being flly immersed with my practice?

    What helps is either putting my attention on the sensation of air coming into/out of my nostrils, doing a few rounds of 4-7-8 breathing to ease anxiety, or focusing my eyes on a focal point in the room.

  • Definitely my cats. If they are in the room they bother me an when I close them out they scratch on the door. Sometimes I can into meditation and not hear the door scratching.

  • My biggest distraction – the sound of my husband when he takes a conference call. And then I remember my meditations in India – so much noise – my teacher reminded me that we can talk and work and do whatever else over noise , why should it suddenly be a problem when meditating? Thus my distraction becomes my invitation.
    Kristen I love the catnip tea – I will try that on my cat qwerty who seems to be most friendly when I am doing my practice.
    Yes, I too love Pema Chodron, so the book would be very very nice.

    • Diana,
      I hope it works out! I would love to hear about your experience afterward 🙂

  • Linda

    It’s not hard for me to sit. It’s hard to be consistent. I am quite sure meditating is a good thing and I am glad when I can bring myself to do it. There is really no good reason for me not to. I just have to sit down and be quiet for awhile.

  • mary

    Once I realize that my mind is not present, I very slowly take a deep filling breath in with no perceptible movement in my body, hold for maybe five seconds, then just as slowly and deliberately exhale. Then I bring my attention to the third eye and all is well. This works for me.

  • ambryn

    biggest distractions:
    “this is what i should be doing….this is how it should be going…this is what i haven’t done today… this is what i need to do after this…i better not forget to…” and on and on and on and on…

    when i catch these thoughts, i say “oh ambryn” i pause, i laugh (on a good day) and come back to my body on the floor, my hands, my shoulder, my spine, my breathe.
    HUMOR is a savior.


  • Lara Anderson

    biggest distractions:
    that annoying monkey mind that always wants to cut in with useless or unnecessary thoughts…about the day, to do list, like ambryn, it goes on and on

    When that irritating “monkey mind” interrupts, I simply think “thinking” and tune back into my breathe, my posture, the stillness I can still feel, and it’s “1” again :-). It all goes back to the breathe and that amazing calm place. Mediation is my savior! (not in a religious way, just a spiritual one!)

    Lara / Kalima

    • Almost exactly what I said, in a slightly different way. Oh yes, meditation is my savior, too. I have always felt so lucky that I have this knowledge. I don’t call myself happy. I call myself content. All because of the deep knowledge that yoga has to give us.

  • Annvan

    Give the prize to G Faunk. She/he’s got it exactly right!

  • Mimi

    My biggest distraction is ME, and my decisions, there is no magic pill or magic time it is ME!❤

  • My biggest distraction is planning for the opening of my new yoga studio. Yes, I am a yoga teacher distracted by the business (and busyness) of yoga. Sad, but true. I find that bringing my focus back to my breath and practicing alternate nostril breathing or a three part breath usually helps. Mantra also helps.

  • Lisa Mama

    My biggest distraction is thinking about
    my children and how to improve their lives.
    I remind myself that I am their teacher
    And my example is what they remember.
    So, to the cushion in the playroom when
    Necessary and remember to Let Go

  • bill kringe

    My biggest obstacle seems to be physical, pain in my back and hips, sitting in easy pose, or even sitting in a chair. Most of the time, I lie down, for meditation, because of the uncomfortable feeling, of sitting for a period longer than 10 or so minutes.

  • Natalie

    My biggest distractions are my roommates or family, depending on where I’m at. Ideally I choose to meditate when no one is home, go else where, or, if the right roommates/family are near, get them in on my practice!

  • miranda

    My squirelly dog Roo. She seems to save all her barks up like a bank account for the right moment; her right moment being when I am sitting or moving in silence. Sometimes it’s a welcome distraction…

  • Ashley C

    Can laziness be a distraction? Some days I just don’t feel like meditating and even if I try,
    its half-hearted because I’m just not into it. I need to kick laziness to the curb!


  • Tori

    My biggest distraction in meditation is fear; sometimes, an emotion I have not been addressing or a worry I have refused to listen to will come out and demand that I face it- right now, in this moment. Of course, I try to let it come and then go, but until I truly acknowledge it and give it the respect it deserves as a valid emotion, I remain stuck in front of it unable to pass.

  • mindy theroux

    my computer and inbox. Endlessly full of interest and junk….no time for peace?

  • Lesley Cassandras

    Mine is my mind jumps around like a crazed monkey! I have gotten a bit better but it’s such a struggle!

  • Elayne daniels

    My biggest distraction when trying to meditate is “Shoulding”. It goes something like this, “I should be doing …… instead of …………; I should not be thinking of ………………… but instead should be meditating or thinking of nothing; When I am done meditating I should…………..”

    It can go on and on!

    Pema to the rescue? Usually, yes!

  • Janet

    To pinpoint an exact distraction, seems like looking for a “needle in a haystack”. They happen, for many reasons and when they do happen, I usually acknowledge to myself, that I’ve been distracted (sometimes as silly as a giggle to myself) and work at getting back to the point in the meditation before I was distracted. Accepting that they can and will happen, makes them much easier to move through.

  • The thing that distracts me most often from my meditation practice is the feeling of needing to get things done. Of course I realize objectively that meditating regularly will make me more efficient and help me to get the important things done while letting go of the less important things. But it’s still hard to get past. Still working on it.

  • Jenn

    Not to over simplify, but my brain wants to be “doing” 24 hours a day… Sitting for meditation seems like no easy task.. Until I practice yoga.. Moving in yoga’s one pointed focus prepares me to be able to sit for meditation, allowing my mind chatter to simmer down and temporarily cease. Yogascittavrittinitodhah 🙂 And then comes sitting for meditation..

  • One of my biggest distraction is my partner. I have a studio where I go to each morning about 9am to meditate for 30 minutes. Most of the time, he is occupied with the computer but occasionally, he’ll wander out and start working on something near the studio. Usually I can tune that out – it’s when he wanders INTO our studio that it really disrupts. I need to just let him know that from 9 to 9:30 I’ll be meditating. That’s it’s not a passing fancy – it’s a date with myself.

    Love Pema! Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  • mary

    I agree with all who say “monkey mind”. To counter that, I use Pema’s suggestion to say “THINKING” and then try to get back to my breath. I often use mindful walking as a way to meditate. Love Pema.

  • Madeline

    My biggest distraction is checking the time on the clock to see how long its been. 3 minutes of meditation can feel like 20! I can literally feel the anxiety/anticipation build as I start to think about whether my meditation timer broke on me and what if I’m sitting here for hours and am late for work…blahblahblah… To bring myself back, I gently tell myself, wait just a moment more…breathe a moment more and see what happens.. I bring the focus back to my breath and always I get back in it

  • Lee

    Chitta vritti – monkey mind!

  • Nagem

    Discipline: making myself do it regularly

  • Colleen N

    Getting started. I used to have terrible sleep hygiene – stayed up too late because I was exhausted and stressed out. Didn’t get enough sleep, which made me exhausted and stressed the next day. Treated that by staying up too late vegging out on the couch. Now, I’m pregnant – and I can’t seem to be able to get enough sleep now that I’m trying!

    I’m reading “Mindful Birthing” by Nancy Bardacke, CNM, because I want to have a birth with as few interventions as possible. She recommends reading it through once and then starting a 6 day per week mindfulness meditation practice that she guides you through in order to cope with an unmediated birth and the wonderful life with a child that comes after said birth. So maybe I’ll be starting a practice soon!

    • Lisa Mama

      Hi Colleen
      My first birth was completely natural out of hospital.
      Prenatal yoga is sooo beneficial and so is
      Providing positive vibration for your baby.
      Stay close to your heart and instincts. You can
      Do anything.
      Best, Lisa Mama

  • dee

    I label my distractions (because there are more than I can write) as just that, “distraction”, and continue on, focusing on my breath.

  • Tara

    My biggest distraction is my dogs! I don’t realize they are constantly making noise of some kind until I go sit.

  • My biggest obstacle is time. Finding it, using it appropriately. I find that using ear plugs helped me be able to block out distractions. I used these for a few years and now am able to block out sound distractions without them. Meditation is like yoga, ” Practice and all things will come”.

  • My biggest distraction is, of course, my mind ………….. thinking, remembering, planning, etc. Following the breath ALWAYS pulls me in. My awareness will ride the waves of my breath inside, and the inside is so much sweeter than the outside! I want to stay there, but, of course, get pulled away in a nanosecond. The process repeats itself over and over and over again until, if lucky, I find myself slowly spinning in a tiny circle ( like a top ) in a small counterclockwise motion. Never got close to kundalini – that’s all I’ve ever gotten, but another sweet spot it is!!!!! I leave my meditation cushion so happy! I feel lucky.

  • Barbara

    Everything. My list of to do’s (the ones I didn’t finish yesterday, today and tommorrow’s), recent events, guilt for not ‘doing something’, everything. I have a busy mind and I like, or used to like to keep busy all the time. I something of a worrier as well, all the more reason o meditate!
    When these thoughts start to flutter in and I start to feel my breath get short and quicken, and I start to feel the anxiety swell, that’s usually my pushing point. I don’t always have to get that far, so I consider that a boon! From that point, I take a deep, slow deliberate breath or two and refocus. I like to meditate in our backyard a lot. So I will turn my attention out again, to what I hear in nature. The birds, the smell of the grass, the feel of a gentle breeze, the sun streaming through the trees….. Which usually calms me down and relaxes me so that I can refocus my energies to my third eye, and then nothingness (which is bliss to me).
    Each day is different, but that usually works the best for me 🙂

  • Monica Bourgeau

    My biggest distraction is thinking about work and I remind myself to just let it go for now. It takes a few tries sometimes.

  • stacey

    Distractions arise like clouds on a blue sky
    I see them float by in my mind and notice their presence
    Then they are gone with a puff of wind
    And my mind is free again
    To connect with the great mystery of spirit
    And love
    And being

  • Monica

    My biggest distraction when meditating is my physical body. In seated meditation it takes me awhile to find that form I true alignment where I can really start to inhale down into my belly and breathe out up out my head empowering my connection with the heavens above and feel a release from gravity (almost as if I could levitate). When I do ins this place I come into a waver with the wind, with the energy surrounding me, and then I feel as if I am one. Finding this place allows my mind to quiet but it is hard to reach. I focus by directing my inhales down to my pelvic floor and directing my exhales in and up activating both mula and uddiyana bandha. This gives me a clear poin and direction of focus that relaxes my body which cyclically allows my breath to become more powerful. My mind is focused and quiet and when wandering thoughts do pass by I come to my breath. When all above feels natural and full I focus on my third eye center and allow my mid and body I float into the abyss.

  • Rochelle

    My dogs’ toenails clicking on the floor outside the door, while they pace awaiting my return. If I’m having a really hard time ignoring them, I turn to a sound focus for my meditation. Then they become just another sound in the whole palette of sounds.

  • Cyndy

    The loudest noises happen when we are quiet.

  • Priscilla

    My biggest distraction is my mind, my to-do list, guilt for not being productive…

  • Natalie

    My obstacle is that I feel like meditation is either too much about me, or dependent on outer situations and not something I can do myself.

  • JN

    My biggest distraction is my wandering, narrative mind … often starting as a post-mortem on some piece of my day and then quickly skipping ahead to a plan for fixing or moving ahead. I’m a big planner, always looking ahead. When I catch myself, I tell myself to “come back”, a phrase used often in a program I did at Kripalu earlier this year. That visit to Kripalu is what started my daily meditation practice. And I’d love the book to help me with the meditation aspect of my journey to more mindful living.

  • I meditate in the AM and am often distracted by being hungry or by what I need to do that day. I often use the ” back to my breath” technique to come back.

  • Kristie

    My to-do list! It gets longer and longer. My solution (which I only sometimes implement): writing down the items in my notebook to deal with later, rather than re-hashing them a million times in my mind.

  • Rita


  • ani oz

    My biggest distractions are previous conflicts and my kids waking up early and coming downstairs. I even get up at 5 am to have some quiet meditation time and they still manage to interrupt!

  • Laura

    Cobwebs always become really apparent at the exact moment I want to sit.
    I close my eyes but like a little kid I keep peeking to see if they’re still there. Eventually I cave in and clean the web. By which point my monkey mind jumps onto the next task in hand. I can see why the Hatha yoga pradipika instructs to clean your cave before you begin!

  • Cristina M. Laureta

    For me, my biggest distraction when i meditate is my endless TO-DO list,,i find myself trying to mentally list down not only what i need to do but also how and when i would do it. Whenever i catch myself doing that i try to laugh it off (in my mind- gently telling myself- “you’re at it again.”) this usually helps me to get back to being in the present and focusing on my breath.

  • My biggest distraction is my self-crisitism that this meditation practice won’t make a difference; that I am not doing a “true” spiritual practice if I meditate for 5minutes a day.

  • Erika k

    My biggest challenge in meditation is my own monkey mind. My chitta vrittis running amok, thinking of everything I need to be doing, etc. what brings me back is focusing on my breath again. And letting the thoughts run amok, and eventually, away once I stop focusing on them.

  • Wendy

    My biggest distraction is just too much life happening at the moment. It always seems to make time when I find time to sit, but finding that initial time, or not doing something more “productive” instead, is always a challenge.

  • Stephanie

    My biggest distraction is anger, anxiety and a whole string of negative feelings and thoughts I carry with me when I sit. I can spend the entire session just trying to let them go away instead of working on specifics

  • I am a hot yoga teaching graduate from CPY here in Chicago and though I have been practicing for about a year and a half now, meditating is one of the hardest things for me to do, but that doesn’t stop me. Often, my mind wanders, like many of those who attempt to meditate. The mind is filled with chatter and it’s hard to make it disappear altogether. I am a 6’6′,” 21 year old male and the one thing my mind constantly goes to is food. It’s so awkward to be in a yoga studio or meditation class and to all of a sudden begin to contemplate on what I am going to eat later. I normally try to just ignore it, but sometimes the savory taste of my future meal butts in before I even get a chance to focus. All I tell myself in that moment is that it’s okay. It’s okay to have all that chatter because everyone has it. So I promise myself in those moments that I will be strong and focus on the present and that it will be worth it because after that meditation or yoga class, I will be able to treat myself to a healthy meal to congratulate my dedication.

  • turi

    my biggest distraction is my to-do list for the day – in the morning it’s what needs to get done, and in the evening it’s what didn’t get done

  • Karen

    If I’m walking in the park or laying in the grass it seems relatively easy to be still and go inward to meditate. When I’m in the yoga class where the instructor builds in a few minutes of meditation, same thing. I can mostly observe the thoughts and let them go by like clouds. In each of these instances, I seem to be left with a wonderful openness and clarity. But when I try to sit and meditate alone at home, even when guided by Davidji or Deepak Chopra, or some other resource, something just doesn’t work to develop the practice. I allow distractions to get in the way. And as I lean in to question what it is that stops me from doing something that I intellectually understand as being a good thing, it might be that something in my heart is preventing me from sitting. I’m beginning to wonder if, perhaps, I’m just afraid of or resistant to simply being with myself, alone, in my home space. And that might be something worth meditating on. Namaste ~ <3

  • David Higley

    My biggest distraction is thinking about my job. As a second grade teacher, I am always on the move. No time to sit and reflect. When I have a chance to sit down at night, I find myself either taking a nap or thinking about the day’s happenings. I know the power of meditation and the stress relief and centering it brings. Just haven’t been there in a while.

  • lynne

    breathing full complete breaths brings me to stillness

  • Lynn

    the obstacle for me is making it a habit. and then I think of a million reasons not to sit

  • My biggest distraction is everything I could be doing instead of sitting. Not only does this keep me from making the time to sit, it sneaks in while I’m meditating.

  • Gwen

    Minds are distracting, they are crazy. When my mind is crazy and distracted (which is all the time), I think about the reasons I meditate and the people I meditate for. I want to have a meditation practice. It is more important than dishes, laundry, cleaning, small talk, reading the paper, facebook, TV etc. I also try to secure some success each day and rejoice in it.

    Honestly, I know there are obstacles but I don’t want to bring them into my focus. My focus is on successes, even if I didn’t meditate 15 minutes, I meditated 5 minutes. I track my time and days and work very hard not to miss a day even if it is 5 minutes hidden in the corner of my guest room with husband and kids down stairs watching TV.

  • Laura

    My biggest distraction is the to do list in my head. Whenever I get distracted I used the circle of liberation method to realize I’m distracted and refocus myself. Also if I’m getting super distracted doing sitting meditation I’ll meditate in a more restorative pose instead.

  • Nora

    My biggest distraction is having four jobs! Any time I try and quiet my mind, it travels, my cell phone rings, my doorbell rings, etc. I have so much trouble silencing the world around me! Yoga seems to help ease me into meditation as a slow transition into stillness, but I still have trouble honoring my time and my practice. I am working on it though!

  • Tamara

    My biggest distractions are feeling “worried” , and getting sleepy.

  • Anna

    My knees, my back. All the aches and pains from sitting in one place creep up and tug at my presence like a child on her mama’s skirt. When time permits I preface my sit with some asanas. When time does not permit, and discomfort persists, I send loving kindness to those areas and thank them for reminding me I’m alive. Then I smile in non judgement and breathe back into the stillness.

  • Patti

    I find social media a distraction. I look at it first thing most mornings, loose track of time and miss the window I originally set up to meditate.

  • Nico

    My biggest obstacle in meditation is quieting the chatter and the worry about what comes next. The to do list in my head, the feeling of having to rush to work in the morning, the minor detail that pops into my head as I am observing my mind. All
    Of those thingsthat bring us into the future or the past instead of the present moment.
    That obstacle bring noted,, my most positive experiences in meditation and yoga are when I find that timeless place within myself that I know all is well and there is no need to rush. I suppose this is why we call it a practice 😉

  • Melody

    My biggest distraction is my to do list. Let’s meditate check, dishes check, kid to School check, teach yoga check, etc. Meditation is my most challenging practice and most rewarding.

  • Michelle

    One of my biggest obstacle to committing to a meditation practice is the self-doubt I have. Am I doing this right? Do I sit like this, what if my feet go numb? Should I be chanting something? All these thoughts (and more!!) start running through my head whenever I sit on my mat in an attempt to meditate, and it just produces a snowball effect.
    Another major obstacle is my chronic worry and anxiety issues. Trying to quiet my mind leads to the “monkeys” in my “monkey mind” loudly protesting.

  • Donna Lee Parker

    One of my largest obstacles to overcome is thinking about all the things I am leaving “undone” by sitting on my mat. Of course I realize that by taking the time to meditate, the “undone” things will be easier to tackle.

  • Jeannine

    My biggest obstacle is me. I need to make the time to meditate more. I bring myself back to it by just pausing & counting backwards from 20.

  • I am constantly distracted by a single question: Am I doing this right ?

  • Elizabeth

    My biggest distraction during meditation and during yoga is thinking about food! I’m always thinking about my next meal and if I need to stop at the store and what lovely deliciousness awaits me after my practice…

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  • My biggest distraction is my most practiced ability to talk myself out of meditating. I think about doing it and then I have bunch of other “really important” stuff that I need to do instead. I’ve had most success with meditation if I do it first thing in the morning. Just get out of bed and go sit. Then I’m less likely to have already thought of things that I need to go do.

  • Anna

    My mind always starts wandering to what I need to do after I’m finished with meditating. But I am getting better!

  • Mia

    My 1.5 year old toddler!

  • Prudence

    My biggest distraction to stillness and its bliss is my own mind and its constant chatter. Whenever I begin to meditate and my mind goes off on its many tangents mostly related to the needs and wants of others I simply come back to my breath and try again…even 5 minutes makes the world of difference for me and therefore those in my life.

  • Doris

    My biggest distraction is trying too hard not to try too hard to meditate. If all else fails I try to imagine myself climbing the giant evergreen tree that used to be in my back yard as a child. It’s a very calming thought.

  • Bev Davidson

    The biggest distractions for me are the “shouldas, wouldas, couldas.” Meditation takes a great deal of consistent practice to reach a level where these thoughts stop interfering.

  • Tiffany

    My biggest obstacle to meditation is that I don’t know how! I need to make some time to learn and see what happens.

  • biggest obstacle: myself!

  • Hui

    My biggest meditation distraction is worrying about getting distracted. I’ve always tried very hard at everything and push myself towards limits. My problem with meditation is that I am always pushing myself into a state of calm, which (and who would have guessed!) doesn’t work. I’m still working on letting myself just be.

  • Marie

    My obstacle is future-tripping! I start thinking about what I’m going to do when I finish meditating and then what I’ll do after that and after that..but I’ve learned to ground myself with deep breathing and keeping my mind focused on my body and how it feels. Sometimes I’ll start at the top of my head and think about how each area of my body feels and work my way down to my toes.

  • My daughter is 9 months old, and she is certainly the biggest distraction, especially since she gets up before 6am most days, which is when I practice yoga and meditate. To get around this, I try to get her involved. I share a space with her so that she sees me sitting. I try to absorb the moment and listen to her without trying to figure her out. Sometimes when she’s sleeping at night, I’ll take that time to meditate, too. I try not to lock everything out of my life, I just try to let it be there without needing it to be anywhere else. It’s not perfection, but it’s my reality right now, and it works for me.

  • Leslie Singers

    I have not yet started a meditation practice and I’ve been wanting to for YEARS! I think this procrastination must be fear. Fear of not “doing” something all the time. Fear of letting go of all the stories I tell myself.

  • Sasha

    My biggest distraction is thinking about the things I’m holding onto that I need to let go of by meditating and practicing yoga. Quite the cycle! I can always bring myself back by becoming aware of my breath, or envisioning colors for each breath 🙂

  • Louisa

    I haven’t meditated too much, but am trying to get into it as a regular practice because I know it is so beneficial for physical and mental health. My mind will just not stop…mostly stress about money, job, and clutter (inner & outer). I definitely need some helpful tips on meditating!

  • Bert Kelher

    My biggest distraction is trying to shut off my mind from work. I am a nurse in busy clinic, and leaving it at the office, at times, seems impossible.

  • Joanne

    My biggest distraction is thinking of things I need to do after I finish the meditation. I dont often have thoughts of the past. It is always things I need to remember to do, people I need to call, notes I should write, etc.

  • My biggest distraction is my mind. I always have so many ideas that I have problems to decide what idea to realize first, especially when working. That makes me unorganized sometimes.

  • FM

    My most recent, biggest distraction is the abundance of techniques I have studied and can choose from. Even though I have committed to one technique, my mind gets antsy and wants to jump to another one (or two, or three). I approach this by, just as Pema says, dropping the storyline, and feeling the antsy sensations and restlessness in my body.

  • Jessica

    My biggest obstacle in meditation is judging myself. I get distracted and follow my thoughts and then feel bad, and think to myself about how awful I am at meditating and then I feel bad about myself, and start down a shame spiral. This limits me from wanting to get up and try again the next morning. If I could learn to be more loving with myself and techniques to try, I think that it would really improve my practice.

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