In wellness, we assume everyone meditates – but we cannot be more wrong. What are the ways you find space to meditate and be mindful daily? We explore the benefits of meditation and how you can fit a little into your day to day life.
Meditation and mindfulness
We ALL know the reported benefits of meditation but now the scientific literature is proving how game-changing meditation can be when it comes to our health. Meditation has been proven, time and time again to have a beneficial impact on our habits and feelings. It promotes a more positive mood and outlook, increasing our self-discipline, promoting healthy sleep patterns and even reducing the inflammation response caused by stress.
For me, meditation comes in several ways. I have had a daily ashtanga yoga practice for nearly 8 years. Ashtanga yoga is the only type of yoga that encourages self practice. It’s a dynamic form of yoga, always with the same sequence of 70 postures that you are encouraged to learn in what’s called “Mysore” style where you turn up to practice in a silent room in your own time. The teacher is there individually adjusting you to your own needs but it’s not a led class, it’s totally silent creating a moving meditation.
The aim of yoga is meditation after all, with the asanas or yoga postures designed to help still your mind.
This practice has been a lifechanging moving meditation for me. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to anyone as it teaches you the discipline to get up every day and get on the mat. You always feel better afterwards!
Sit and breathe
As well as that I make time to sit and meditate in silence on a daily basis for at least 20 minutes focusing on my breathing and on quietening my thoughts. Thoughts come and go, of course, and aren’t always easy to control, the key is to just be aware of them, accept them, and bring yourself back to your breath. The breath is always there to guide you. Sitting in silence can be challenging for most people, therefore there are some wonderful apps such as Headspace & Calm that have some beautiful guided meditations that you can follow. Start with 10 minutes a day and slowly build up to 20 or even 30 minutes if you can.
Often I also walk in the park and find this to be a very meditative healing practise. Spending time in nature makes my soul sing and quietens my mind. If I’m feeling stressed it relaxes me uplifting my mood and spirit. Walking meditations are very beneficial especially if they are close to the healing powers of nature and mother earth.
Humans were never meant to be confined by concrete and steel 100 per cent of the time. Within these environments, it’s easy to feel like just another face in the crowd. But when we step into nature, we are reminded that all living organisms are connected. Nature, in the purest sense, is where both serenity and wildness coexist in harmony. When we visit it, we feel both peaceful and uneasy all at once. Perhaps this is because all life began in nature and all life ends there. Nature is the universe’s greatest teacher — it whispers to us that even in the midst of chaos, life finds a way to carry on
Yoga Nidra Meditation
And finally, yoga Nidra meditations are a powerful tool that I use for deep relaxation. Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep and studies shows that it can help with reducing depression, anxiety, stress levels as well as improving insomnia symptoms. Some believe 45 minutes of yoga Nidra compares to 3 hours of sleep, it leaves you in such a state of deep relaxation as if you are floating on clouds. I can highly recommend this healing practice, there are lots of recordings you can find online to guide you.
Overall meditation really helps us to calm our thoughts, by being aware of them, we notice that they dissipate, we are able to control them alongside our emotions in day to day life, to stop us reacting in anxiety, anger, stress.
It totally promotes a peaceful calm exterior helping us detoxify our mind. Often detoxing our mind to include removing negative thoughts, mindsets and ingrained patterns can be a huge catalyst to change. Meditation is key to this change, helping us open the pathways and channels within our lives that can make us more of who we really are, helping us accept ourselves for who we truly are, increasing our self-love and self-care. Try to apply your mindfulness practice to daily tasks and activities such as walking, eating, clearing up, getting ready for the day – turning chores into an opportunity to ground and reset. You really can apply mindfulness to any task.