What do you think of when you hear the word “meditation”? A roomful of people sitting cross legged on the floor, repeating the word “om”? Sitting in silence, eyes closed, experiencing another realm, available only to exceptional meditators? Rows of monks, palms together, chanting in unison for hours? These are common perceptions of what it means to meditate and while they are possible ways to meditate, they are not the only ways to meditate.
Most of us have heard that meditating is “good for us” when it comes to stress reduction and clarity but many of us have not tried it or we don’t do it regularly. It feels like the process is too time-consuming or ethereal. What if we suggested that there are many ways of meditating? That there is no perfect way to do it and no finish line to reach? And that research suggests that as little as 10 minutes a day can have health benefits? Kind of makes meditation seem more user-friendly, doesn’t it?
We are on a bit of a mission to show our community a variety of ways to meditate, find stillness, mindfulness, and peace so that we can each find the form that fits for us and our lifestyles.
It could be a walking meditation, guided meditation, yoga nidra, engaging with the breath, employing mudra, silent, chanting, focussed, sitting, moving, etc. etc. The point is that you give your mind a chance to be quiet. It may not be quiet–after all, we do tend to have a constant flow of thoughts, information, opinions, plans and so on, running through our heads a mile a minute–but the more we create the opportunity for quiet, the better chance we will experience some quietness. Just tuning in to the body and engaging with the breath, the present moment, helps to relax us. And who among us couldn’t benefit from a little relaxation?
And what do we mean when we talk of “engaging with the present moment”? It’s simple really, and yet, it’s not. It means to watch the mind and the breath. To be aware of the moment, the breath, the feelings, the stories that are arising. To truly see and feel the wonder of the sunrise or a starry night, a loving hug, the purr of a kitten, the crunch of the falling leaves. It means to go for a walk and be aware of your feet making contact with the earth, the smells, the sounds, the colours and your reaction to them, without judging, and without getting lost in the worries, plans,etc. of the day. Sounds simple, but it’s not easy. It takes practice, and a willingness to practice. In the new year, here at Inspired Health and Wellness, we will be offering opportunities for you to practice, in a fun and supportive environment. Keep checking the site and social media for details!