How Long Does Meditation Take to Work?
Students of Vedic Meditation have reported all kinds of positive benefits of their practice, from as early as the first week. But how long does it take to experience all of the benefits?
Different meditation styles will offer different promises in terms of the timeline to expect benefits, but with Vedic Meditation, we can give 4 tips for what to expect.
1. Start by meditating correctly
If you’re wondering ‘how often should I meditate?’ you may not have already been instructed by a qualified instructor. There are no guarantees of benefits for those who are not consistent with their meditation, who haven’t received a mantra, or who haven’t been taught how to do their Vedic Meditation practice correctly each twice a day sitting for twenty minutes. Once the correct practice is in place, then we can wonder ‘how long does meditation take to work?’
Learning from a qualified instructor is essential to see the benefits of Vedic Meditation. This instructor will have had 12 weeks of in-person training with Thom Knoles, and will only offer the Learn to Meditate course in person (not over a video or phone call). A qualified instructor will guide you to establish your own Vedic Meditation practice over four days of 90-minute sessions each, where they can share how the technique works and show you why it so deeply releases stress from the body.
To learn how Vedic Meditation works and to receive your own mantra, sign up for a free Intro Talk.
Once you’ve got your practice in place, you can be excited for a whole range of new experiences and benefits that will appear all over your life.
2. Notice a paradigm shift
The first main benefit we see with students can happen after their first Vedic Meditation session. It’s the paradigm shift in which you can allow thoughts and accept whatever happens in your meditation (thoughtful or quiet, restless or calm) as a good meditation.
A good meditation is any meditation where we correctly use our mantra and sit for twenty minutes. If we have thoughts come up, that’s ok! We’re releasing stress from the body, so the meditation is working. If we reach a transcendent state of thoughtlessness, great! We’ve just had a dose of universal consciousness, and we’ll start to see that broader perspective start to change and empower us.
Learning to accept any experience and allow it without resistance is transformational. In a culture where we tend to like to control our surroundings and resist things we don’t like, the premise of Vedic Meditation is completely opposite. It invites ease into your life with each sitting, as you learn to accept what’s happening without resistance.
3. See benefits and changes inside meditation
How long does it take for meditation to start working? If you’re using your mantra correctly, the mantra will start working immediately. The mantra is a ‘mind vehicle’ that guides the mind beyond thought and into deeper and deeper states of rest.
You may notice in your first week to two months of meditation that your mantra seems to take you through thought after thought. If you skip a meditation session, you may notice there are more thoughts in your meditation then as well. This is simply your body releasing the stress that has been building with no outlet for years and years.
Most people experience their first taste of complete stillness and transcendence within the first two months of practicing Vedic Meditation, and it can take that long to move through enough layers of stress to allow the mind to transcend thought. Rest assured though, that your mantra is working from the first meditation with your instructor.
How many days of meditation to see results?
Though your mantra will work properly from day one, it may take a week or a month to start seeing the benefits and results of your meditation practice.
Inside your meditation, you’ll notice that you’re able to sit in meditation and even look forward to your meditations because they feel restful as if they are your own quiet retreat each day. You may notice your thoughts inside meditation are more creative and less worried, or that your mantra and your thoughts come up at the same time. You may notice your mantra becoming subtler and quieter without any effort on your part.
How to know if you’ve reached transcendence
Sometimes it’s challenging to tell if you’ve transcended thought in your meditation at all though because transcendence is a place of no thought. You will have no awareness or thoughts to notice “I’m in transcendence.” Instead, your mind will be completely saturated with pure Being, thoughtless, and in a state of bliss or satiation.
You may be able to infer that you had a moment of transcendence if you can’t account for some of the time you were meditating, or you realize you ‘lost awareness’ for a bit but you know you weren’t sleeping. Falling asleep looks like losing motor function, usually your head will dip and jolt you awake or you’ll fall back onto your chair. In transcendence, the chin often dips a few inches but we don’t dip or jolt awake.
There is a delicious space just outside of transcendence where our thoughts are very quiet and even dreamlike, and those states can also indicate we’re close to or we’ve had a moment of transcendence. The quiet and dreamlike state is what we often associate with ‘a good meditation’, but as you read above, all meditations where you’re correctly using your mantra are good meditations.
4. See benefits and changes outside of meditation
Vedic Meditation begins to settle down the mind and the body such that anything which was feeling imbalanced in any way begins to come back into balance. There are benefits you can expect emotionally, physically, and mentally as your system starts to steadily come back into balance.
From the physical perspective, it’s common for people to experience deeper sleep and to slowly see their ailments lessen as stress leaves the body. As the body comes back into balance, we’ve seen migraines alleviated, aches and pains reduced, immunity improved, inflammation reduced, and even blood pressure lowered. Any physical ailment can be improved as the body comes back into balance, and Vedic Meditation offers a way to bring that balance to the body.
Since everyone’s body and stress levels are different, it’s hard to say to do meditation for how long to expect physical benefits. Most meditators do notice improved sleep within the first two months.
One meditator, Peter, noticed dramatic improvements in his immunity within the first six months:
“Almost immediately I knew this was truly important. After a week I knew it was life-changing.
I haven’t taken any prescription medication since starting to meditate–my body has beaten those same old infections at least 3 times now. I am serene in the face of uncertainty, and seemingly armed with an inner fortitude.”– Peter M
Before starting Vedic Meditation, it may be more common to experience a lack of control over our emotions or a sense of being on an emotional rollercoaster. We may be more reactive, and our state could be subject to change quickly based on our surroundings.
After starting the practice, most meditators notice that they have more empathy and are less reactive:
“I was having really bad anxiety, overwhelm as an entrepreneur and feeling really scattered and unsure of myself. I felt like I was spinning in circles, getting nowhere. Trying to control everything, looking for more things I should be doing.
When I started feeling my heart open up and feelings of gratitude and empathy come up in and out of the practice, I knew it was working. Throughout my day I’m noticing I’m more deeply connected and present, and my empathy muscle is building. I feel like I can handle more and help others more. Vedic Meditation feels like my restoration time.”– Ellie R.
Mentally, we may be experiencing anxiety or a lack of purpose, or it could be common to feel brain fog and low creativity. Vedic Meditation affects the brain, and over time meditators notice more clarity of thinking and easier problem-solving. We find we can recover more quickly from stress and can adjust more easily to changes in expectation. One meditator described her mindset changing effortlessly after only a week:
“Before I learned to meditate, I felt like my stress and anxiety were holding me back.
On the last day of the intro course I found myself talking about the “issues” that led me to start meditating in a completely different but much healthier way, without even trying. I felt like my brain had been remapped in a way that felt really different but also really natural … and really good! Things that used to bother me just roll off my back.
If I get stressed it only lasts for a little while. I’m way nicer. My relationships are better. Life just feels way easier.”– Kayla B.
Though there is no absolute timeline for how long before meditation benefits appear, we can expect to feel more and more balanced little by little over time. We may not notice these changes until a year goes by and we can compare our current state to our previous state before meditation. We may have made changes in our lifestyle and relationships without realizing the changes came from the balance our practice brought to us.
After the Learn to Meditate course, meditators are welcome to reach out to their instructor and ask questions or have check-in calls at any time. Your instructor can help you see the changes occurring, or help you to meditate correctly and consistently to ensure the benefits continue. Learn more by checking out the latest Vedic Meditation news and frequently asked questions.