What Happens When You Meditate For 1 Hour?

The benefits you can get from meditation are beyond what can be put in words. But is more always better? Can how long you meditate make or break the meditation, and what benefits are there to meditating for 1 hour instead of meditating for a shorter period, like 20 minutes? 

Not everyone will be able to keep up with a 1-hour-long meditation, but if you can and more importantly, are able to stick with it, you will be ahead of most meditators and you will get used to “hard” meditations. 

You’re also likely to experience the benefits of meditation faster, but this is not a race and there’s no predictable timeline in which you know you’ll have results with meditation.

Now, I put hard between quotations because, in reality, meditation in itself is easy, the hard part is building consistency and finding what works for you. In other words, creating a habit out of it. 

Credits: Photo by RF._.studio

Entering Deep Meditation

One of the major reasons for doing an hour-long meditation as opposed to a shorter one is that you are more likely to enter a deep meditation the more you are focused on the practice. 

It’s during deep meditations that we peak and experience the benefits of meditation as a significant part of our personal growth. 

Now, there are other ways to experience growth and progress with meditation, such as when we are experiencing the adversity of facing ourselves or doing some kind of shadow work. 

So if you ever wanted to experience deep meditation, an hour-long one could be your best shot. But that’s not to say you can’t experience deep meditations within a 20-minute session. 

I’ve done it several times, and it’s often enough for me to feel energized. But there are always those that want to take it a step further, and if you, even as a beginner, can meditate for an hour straight, assuming you do it properly and stick with it, you’ll be ahead of other meditators. 

Now the keyword is doing it properly because during that one hour, your mind could be traveling to places or you could just use it as a means to daydream or zone out, which would defeat the purpose of the hour-long session. 

It isn’t your fault if it happens, distractions will always be there, even if you were to meditate in a silent environment. 

As long as you can bring your attention back, you’re likely to reach the deep session within that hour. Even if nothing is guaranteed. 

1 hour-long Meditation vs. 20-Minute Meditations: For Beginners

You could meditate for an hour, even as a beginner for one day, and that would limit the scope of the benefits you get with the practice. It might even feel like a waste of time if you’re not seeing any progress. 

While the idea of being able to meditate for one hour straight seems glamorous and a quality only a disciplined monk would possess, consistency will always beat intensity when it comes to the session. 

Several 20-minute meditations over a week will often accomplish more than meditating for one hour one day of the week. The reason I use this analogy is that an hour-long meditation can be intense for those starting. 

So while an intermediate to an advanced individual might have an easier time adapting, the same can’t be said about beginners necessarily, even if there will be a few cases far in between. But it’s not the norm, and if a novice is gonna bet their luck on statistics, it’s often a better idea to stick to a shorter meditation where the beginner can create consistency. 

Now, if you’re a beginner, one of the only reasons you shouldn’t listen to this rule is if you are enjoying the session right out of the bat, or want a challenge with meditation. Meditation is a bit like exercise, consistency will always prevail whereas intensity won’t necessarily. It’s a bit like comparing the competition between the turtle and the rabbit. 

What’s key is not abandoning the practice, so as long as the 20-minute meditation helps you stay on track, it’s preferable to the 1-hour-long practice, because how you see meditation subconsciously and consciously will play a role in whether you stick with the practice or not. 

If your first impression was calm and exciting, you’re more likely to stick with it whereas if you saw it as tedious, you’re less likely to stick with it. 

Falling In Love With Boredom

If you’ve never meditated before and you start with an hour-long session, you’re prone to feel bored if you don’t enter a deep state of meditation. Keeping your focus for an hour is hard, let alone 20 minutes, which is another reason to start with bite-size steps and slowly build up. 

But if an anomaly happens and you’re still able to meditate consistently throughout an hour-long practice, first off, props to you, and second of all, you might start falling in love with boredom, because the concept of boredom might become non-existent over time. 

That might be an overstatement but one of the best changes you might notice is time passing by quicker when you’re bored or doing something you don’t enjoy. 

Do You Need Hour-Long Meditations?

Considering what I’ve just mentioned, it makes all the sense to start the sessions with hour-long sessions, since who wouldn’t want time to pass by quicker when they’re doing something boring, right? 

Not necessarily, because the important part is building the habit, and you can still experience this same benefit with shorter sessions, even if it might take longer. 

Now, if you’ve already built the habit, by all means, do hour-long meditations as you’re more likely to benefit from them as opposed to 20-minute ones because you’ve already gotten your mind used to having your undivided attention in the meditation. 

However, some in the advanced and intermediate stages still opt for shorter meditations, even if there are more upsides to longer meditations. But we can’t generalize with the practice since what worked for person A won’t always work for person B and vice versa. 

Longer Isn’t Always Better

A shorter meditation where your mind is fully immersed in the experience will give you more than a longer one where it isn’t. Therefore, it helps to find out where you are on your journey, and if your attention span can keep up with a longer session. 

It’s just like training a muscle, and you want to make the most out of your meditation without necessarily feeling like it’d be a waste of time. This is why longer meditations aren’t always better than shorter ones, they are only better if you are immersed in the experience. 

Try finding your sweet spot, and any excess time you feel with meditation where your attention goes elsewhere, reserve it for occasions where you’re more acquainted with the practice. 

From my perspective, that’s one of the better ways to build the habit in a way that works for you, as opposed to going for a longer session because you might’ve heard it’s better. 

It might be for you, always be open to trying things out but don’t take anything as gospel that you haven’t had first-hand experience with. Your experience will always determine how it’s gonna go and whether it will be a habit or not. 

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