I recently went to a guided meditation (usually 200+ people typically attend, so it’s a big gathering) and it was such a cool experience. Afterwards, I felt cleansed. How is that possible? Well, this article explains it. There’s a lot of hype about meditation and for good reason. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system and slows down your brain waves. Ever feel like you’re going mad because you can’t shut your mind off? Welcome to my world. I am a (chronic) thinker, and have a difficult time shutting my mind off at the end of the work day.
Both yoga and meditation have a relaxing effect on the body because they allow us to just “be.” What does it mean to just “be?” It starts with being content with where you are at in your life, at this very moment. It is about acceptance. You are where you are supposed to be, and with the person and/or people you are supposed to be (if you’re alone, that’s perfectly fine too). Nothing happens by mistake. Resisting the present moment creates stress and anxiety.
Meditation is not a religion and there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can meditate while awake (in the car, sitting in traffic) by just relaxing, breathing and focusing on something happy and positive. Repeat a mantra in your mind (I am healthy and happy, I am at peace, etc.). Send warm thoughts to someone you love. You can meditate lying down, walking in the park, sitting on the floor or taking a break during the day at work. For some people, meditation is a way to feel connected to their higher power, creator or God. For others, it’s a way to clear the mind and refocus. Many medical doctors and psychiatrists even recommend it for people with anxiety and/or chronic pain. There is scientific proof that meditation has a beneficial effect on the mind and the body.
I’ve never been one to meditate every single day like I should, but I notice when I do it I feel more contentment and peace. This is another reason why I love yoga so much; most vinyasa flow sessions that I do involve some form of meditation before and/or after the yoga practice. So, I’m able to strengthen my body and relax my mind at the same time. If you are not within driving or walking distance to a meditation group, you can try sitting in silence for a few minutes and repeating a mantra (I am love, I am happy, etc.) to keep your mind from wandering. When it wanders, that’s okay. Just repeat the mantra and bring your mind back to stillness. Keep doing this while you breathe deep and slowly. Give it time, your mind will eventually calm down a little. If you can sit through it even a few minutes more, you will notice at the end of your “session” how much calmer you feel. It works! If you can’t stand the silence, you can listen to a guided meditation (there are free ones available online) to help you relax even further. Give it a try and keep an open mind. 🙂