Meditation has become an old friend, the kind you can lose touch with and when you do finally speak it feels so comforting it’s like you never lost touch at all.
When I first began to meditate I listened to guided meditations usually as I lay in bed at night. I also attempted to sit and focus on my breath from time to time as we did in yoga class, but my mind trampled over any illusion of stillness until I felt tortured. So I stopped. Then I started again. Only to repeat the cycle.
Through my Yoga teacher training fifteen years ago, I learnt about Yoga Nidra and fell in love with it. Lie still for twenty minutes, this I could do! I still practice regularly. Whether I’m tired at the end of a long day, need an afternoon energy boost, travelling or trapped under a feeding/sleeping baby, Yoga Nidra has been my go to.
Yoga Nidra translates to Yogic Sleep or Psychic Sleep as it allows you to reach alpha states of consciousness; the same state you are in when you are sleeping. Giving you an opportunity to relax on a physical, mental and emotional level. A 20 minute Yoga Nidra is said to equate to two hours of sleep, so it is perfect for those times when tiredness is taking over.
During a particularly challenging time in my life, I learnt Transcendental Meditation (TM), a mantra-based meditation. I threw myself into the practice, meditating morning and evening daily for years. I felt the stress stored in my body beginning to release until it eventually melted away. It became a way for me to manage the stress and worry that built up on a daily basis. When I sit to meditate this is the practice that automatically happens, the mantra begins and I observe and breathe. It continues to offer me the support and healing I need as I move through the ups and downs of life. You can find out more information from The Meditation Trust.
There is a misconception that meditation is stilling the mind, but meditation is the process of learning to still the mind. And that process involves a lot of noise and discomfort. The moments of stillness may be more like glimpses, that if you’re not paying attention may go unnoticed altogether.
Your thoughts will always be there, your mind will wander, the moments of stillness may not exist to begin with, and over time you experience glimpses of stillness, a pause where the mind was quiet. As these moments become more frequent and stay a little longer you begin to feel the amazing benefits that meditation has to offer.
After twenty minutes of transcendental meditation I felt like I’d woken up from a delicious nap, I felt rested, lighter, as though my body had released tension and my mind let go of the analysis I’m prone to. It created a space in my mind that left me feeling that everything was ok, no matter what external circumstances looked like. I found an inner strength, ideas flowed after a meditation session, creativity returned and a sense of wellbeing embraced me.
So why meditate? Let’s look at the facts.
♥ Meditation boosts energy levels.
♥ Relaxes the nervous system
♥ Soothes anxiety
♥ Helps to manage stress, by slowing down our thoughts
♥ Improves mood by boosting serotonin levels
♥ Increases creativity
♥ Enhances emotional stability
♥ Improves sleep quality
♥ Increases intuition and awareness
Would you like to learn to meditate? There are many different meditation techniques to explore, find what works for you.
Here is a short guided meditation I recorded for my tribe that sign up to my newsletter.
Here are blog posts I wrote that include how to meditate.
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Do you meditate? I’d love to hear about your experience and any tips you’d like to share in the comments below.