Advancing your meditation practice

Are you looking to enhance your meditation practice?

Woman with down syndrome meditating cross-legged with hands clasped.

We recommend that, if after trying a few sessions, you decide to pursue the practice in the longer term, you ensure you have support for the practice. Ideally, this support takes the form of an established, trusted teacher and/or practice group. Minimally, we would suggest you alert your primary care clinician to your intention to engage in meditation and come up with a plan for how your practice will work and what you will do if you encounter difficulty. We recommend such connection for two reasons: First, it will be easier for you to be motivated to maintain a regular practice if you are accountable to someone; second, meditation can bring up difficult feelings and sensations, so it is best to have support.

As you become a regular practitioner, we believe it is important that you 'meditate responsibly', meaning that you pay attention to any discomfort that arises with meditation and respect your own body and mind alarm bells. Keep in mind that there isn’t yet any solid evidence showing health benefits from practicing meditation every day for years, attending long retreats, or practicing for many hours on end. Most meditation research studies have only looked at the effects of short daily practices over relatively short time periods, usually much less than a year. There is also no clear evidence that more meditation is always good. On the contrary, some research suggests that meditation may have different effects depending on the frequency, the intensity, and the characteristics of the practitioner.