Meditation may be an ancient practice, but it's teachings are still relevant for today's modern lifestyle.
What is Meditation?
Meditation can be described as exercise for the brain. It's a series of mental techniques used to help us quiet the mind, cultivate awareness and find inner peace. Meditation is a skill, and just like all other skills, it needs to be developed through consistent practice.
Types of Meditation
There are many different types of meditation, but the three most popular techniques include:
Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness is the ability to be present and fully engaged in what you are doing. In this type of meditation, you practice observing your thoughts or feelings, without judgement or emotion, simply acknowledging them as they come up and then letting them go. Doing this type of meditation helps you learn to slow down racing thoughts, release negative emotions and be in the moment.
Focused Meditation: The objective of this type of meditation is to develop your ability to concentrate. It is practiced by directing all your attention to one object.The object can be internal, like your breath, or external like the flame of a candle. When thoughts or feelings arise, they can be acknowledged, but then gently dismissed so attention can be placed back on the object.
Mantra Meditation: In Mantra Meditation, a repetitive word, phrase or sound is used to help clear the mind. These mantras can be recited out loud, or silently. Often times mantras are repeated 108 times, using mala beads to help keep track. The benefits of mantra meditation include better focus and the ability to shift mindset and thought patterns.
Benefits of MeditationA lot of research has gone into better understanding the effects of meditation on the mind and body. Research has proven that meditation helps:
- Reduce Stress
- Control Anxiety
- Improve Sleep
- Improve Concentration
- Promote Emotional Wellbeing
- Ease Depression
- Generate Kindness, Compassion & Generosity
- Increase Feelings of Self-Confidence & Self-Worth
- Enhance Self-Awareness
How to Meditate
Meditation can be done anywhere and at anytime. It can be done while seated in a chair, on a meditation cushion or even lying down.
To start, simply follow these instructions:
- Find a quiet spot
- Get comfortable
- Choose the type of meditation you will practice
- Decide on a timeframe for your practice
- When thoughts appear, gently acknowledge them and let them go
- End by thanking yourself for prioritizing your health and wellbeing
Most classes naturally incorporate a few minutes of at the beginning of class while setting an intention, and at the end of class during shavasana.
But there are other ways you can incorporate into your practice, three of the most accessible include:
- Staying focused on the present by resisting the urge to think about the past or the future.
- Focusing the . Using your to on one specific object. In it is often the , but it can also be an external object such as healing crystals.
- . Noticing how your change throughout your , especially during more difficult poses.
challenge to prioritize.
If you are just starting out with your , consider investing in 1 or 2 tools that will help you stay committed to your practice.
Here are a few to consider:
There are a number of available, the two most popular apps are Headspace and Calm. Both apps have an extensive library of meditations available to it's users, as well as an opportunity to test out the app with a free trial.
Another great option to consider taking the 8 week course offered by Palouse . This course is taught by a certified MBSR instructor, based on the program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This program can be started at any time and is 100% free.
Our final tip is to create a beautiful space that will inspire you to practice in. It doesn't have to be a large space, all you need is a comfortable spot to sit, and a few small accessories to help set the mood.
Our favourite wellness accessories include:
Healing crystals are beautiful rock formations that are believed to harness energy and wisdom. Each crystal has it's own unique properties, and can be used to help you Healing Crystal Kit is a great way to get started with healing crystals.on the qualities that crystal represents and that you want to cultivate. Using a
Crystal candles incorporate both the healing qualities of the crystal as well as aromatherapy and dried botanicals. If you use crystal candles, try and use one that is made with natural soy wax and organic essential oils.
Mala beads are often used during mantra meditations. Each bead is used as an opportunity to recite a mantra. For best results, use a mala with 108 beads, each individually knotted.