I’m touched that you’ve come back to read another one of my blogs and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I’m enjoying writing them!
Today I’ll be talking about meditation and what it means to me. Now this is still a fairly new thing for me. I don’t claim to be a yogi or even an experienced meditator and that’s even after a year of meditating. I first started as I was feeling constantly stressed… the commute to work, people on the underground, finding a job, deciding what to eat and where to go. People experience stress everyday and some of us have become so immune to it that we don’t realise it’s there. Let’s experiment… I ask you all to just take a moment to notice how you’re sitting… are your shoulders hunched by your ears? I ask you to consciously drop them and relax your posture… how do you feel now? Amazing right?! Now this is something I do all the time and my husband constantly tells me to relax and drop my shoulders even when we’re sitting at the dinner table. We live in London, such a fast moving city and we are constantly doing things and challenging ourselves in new ways. Some of us may be stressing about wedding planning or trying to find a house or even where to go on holiday! This means that we spend most of the day taking short and shallow breaths, constantly moving and not noticing it as our adrenaline is flying high. Rarely do we slow down and actually take a deep breath… filling our body with so much of that amazing oxygen and helping awaken all of our cells. Meditation has brought this into my life. It’s given me a chance to pause and breathhhh.
So what is meditation? Just sitting there and relaxing? A chance to have a quick power nap in the day? You wish! Meditation is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It is more challenging than doing a half marathon, as you actually need to stop and clear your head. I challenge you to sit there for a minute and not think of anything! Go!
Did you manage it? If you did then please contact me as I have so much to learn from you. I can’t… I find my mind is constantly racing, it’s making to-do lists, it’s thinking about plans for the weekend, it’s thinking about the washing up left on the counter! Our brains are so amazing and they help us do everything, people often take it for granted and don’t realise the need to take care of our brain too.
How do you meditate then? Well I started off by finding some guided meditation apps. I had to find one that worked for me, someone whose voice I didn’t mind. I started with the Headspace app. It’s a great app designed by a guy called Andy (I’m not going to go into his history here but check out the website). His app encourages people to take just 10 minutes out of their day everyday for the next 10 days. Sounds fairly simple right? I thought so… Day 1 of meditation, spent 8 minutes thinking about the work and food… Day 2 of meditation, I struggled again as I was trying so hard not to think and got frustrated every time a thought popped into my head.
Andy’s app showed me a great cartoon, which showed all of my thoughts as cars going down a road and myself sitting on the side. Now what I kept doing was running out into the road trying to stop the cars! (Sounds dangerous right?) Actually what I should have been doing is sitting on the side and just watch them go past without thinking too much of it. I use this theory in my meditation now as well, however now I imagine myself in the park on a hot sunny day (helps when it’s raining like today!) and imagine myself lying down on the grass staring up at the clouds going pass. I watch the clouds (thoughts) pass and know that there’s no point in trying to hold onto one of those clouds… I should just let it float away. After a while I felt much calmer after meditation instead of flustered and agitated. It helps me calm myself after a busy day at work when I feel like I’m still going 100 mph.
My meditation practice got better after attending yoga and meditation classes and had such a great teacher (Sheena Shah) who guided me through some amazing meditations (I’m hoping one day she records them to share with the world!) This really helped me hone in on what I had learned from Andy’s app and practice it in a new environment.
Now I try meditating everyday, I try taking 20 minutes out of my day to just focus on my breathing and myself. I’m not perfect though, I have days that I can’t be bothered and feel like it’s a chore but I know I’ll regret it as usually I have a bad night’s sleep after not meditating. My advice would be to find an app you like and give it a go! But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel the benefits straight away, it’s a tough thing to do but the rewards are great.
Thanks for reading and Good luck!
Love A x