Last year, I had the pleasure of attending an introductory six-week class on Mindflness at Sydney Mindfulness Training that not only left me feeling more serene in the short-term, but much more open to learning about the long-term benefits of consistent mindfulness and meditation.
From lowering cortisol levels (a stress hormone that causes weight gain) and elevating mood, to boosting our immune system, increasing our pain threshold and alleviating insomnia, daily meditation offers benefits that can literally change the course of our lives.
The best part is that you can do it just about anywhere at anytime (though morning meditation works well to “set the tone” for the day).
Not sure how to do it? Here are a few steps:
Find a Quiet Spot: I personally love to meditate outdoors in the backyard but have known some people who have gone into an empty company bathroom and found their Zen (I know, sounds funny). The key is to find a silent space with few distractions where you can relax and lengthen your spine and sit up comfortably.
The Eyes Have It: Some people like to focus their gaze on something in front of them (a wall, a flower, a tree trunk) whereas others find it more effective to close their eyes and focus on their third eye. The key is to find a focal point that works for you.
Breathe: As in Pilates, long, focused breathes are essential to connecting with your body and the earth beneath you. Some people count their breaths and others simply follow their breath as they inhale and exhale. I have known of some practitioners who imagine they are breathing something (love, forgiveness) in and out.
No Judgements: You’ll likely have thoughts that pop into your mind. It’s important to allow them to just “be” in your mind without allowing them to distract or discourage you. The more you meditate, the quieter the thoughts will become, but do not take their presence as proof you’re not made for meditation or doing it incorrectly.
Finally, Take Your Time: You don’t need to meditate for a half hour for it to be beneficial. Start with 5 minutes and move up to 10 and work your way up to 30 and give yourself adequate room to grow and learn what works for you.
What are your thoughts on meditation? Have you tried it?