Meditation has become mainstream cool. You see “famous” “influencers” doing it on Instagram. Your Mum’s yoga friends are doing it. Your Sunday brunch gang do it. There are classes and retreats all focused on mediation.
But what actually is mediation?
Yogapedia says ‘Meditation is the process of quieting the mind in order to spend time in thought for relaxation or religious/spiritual purposes. The goal is to attain an inner state of awareness and intensify personal and spiritual growth.’
But that feels a little to rigid for me.
For me meditation feels like slowly, calmly, peacefully quietening the doubtful, mean girl voice in my head. Helping me to focus on what is truly important to me. tuning in to my inner self, I guess. Shutting out the chatter of the world. and all the social pressures and expectation.
It is time for reflection, relaxation and clarity.
It is time for me.
I feel like I am much more me, I step out of the hamster wheel in my head. the overwhelm and anxiety drops away. I come with more love and kindness to those I pass in my day. AND I am so much more productive. My focus is crazy.
Also, physically, I feel my muscles relax and any tension leave my back in particular. My breathing slows down and drops into my belly so is much fuller. I also find that my digestion is better (TMI sorry), but my bloating isn’t as much and I also tend to eat more mindfully (read eat what I need not what I want).
How does it work?
You can mediate a number of different ways and there are many ancient traditional methods.
When I first started out, and I recommend this to my clients who are starting out on their mediation journeys to complete guided mediations. This is where someone talks you through the process, they help you learn “what your meant to be doing” – not that there is a right or wrong. I just find that guided mediation help beginners get started and feel good doing it.
I recommend apps like headspace (that has an awesome 10 day free programme to get you started)
I am currently mediating to some soft background music without guidance. Either repeating my mantra for the day over and over or just watching my breath. I am using insight timer to time my mediation.
And in terms of how long you should meditate for, again there is no right or wrong. I try to do minimum of 10 mins once per day, and 20 mins on the weekend, but really you need to do you and what works for your lifestyle. I know people that do 20 mins two times per day. or 10 mins 3 times per week. If you are starting out I would set an achievable goal like 10 mins 3 times per week and build up from there.
There is no right or wrong time to mediate either. A lot of teachers believe that mediating upon waking is the best time as your brain is not fully conscious yet, and others say just before bed to help slow down the day and prepare the body for sleep. But I just do it when I can, sometimes when I wake up, sometimes at lunch time, some times after work. Or when I am waiting for my next appointment.
Meditation is not meant to be complicated, difficult. It should be easy and simple. I encourage you to give it a go this week. And let me know below how you feel. What differences you experience in your day to day being.