odern life can be very demanding with your busy lifestyle trying to juggle family’s, careers and the never ending to do list. It can be hard to find time for yourself to relax but more importantly ways to relax that will actually benefit your health.
Now if like most people you like to watch TV to relax with the next episode of your favorite series and who doesn’t right? But all that really happens is that we replace the drama of life with the drama of TV and instead of actually relaxing you it over stimulates you instead. So what if for just 20 minutes a day you replaced one TV program with a daily meditation practice that would reap numerous health benefits. Sounds good right?
Meditation is one of the most underutilized tools we have available to us today. Just a few minutes a day can have huge physical and mental health benefits which are scientifically proven, such as:
· Better focus
· A deeper sense of connection to friends and family
· More creativity
· Improved cardiovascular health,
· Increased energy levels
· Improved immune system function
When it comes to starting a Meditation practice so many people get worried about how to do it? Will I do it wrong? Where should I sit, on the floor or in a chair? Should I lie down? Is it ok to lie down what if I fall asleep? Now the whole meditation malarkey seems to be having the opposite effect and causing you to get stressed! Which is counterproductive when the purpose of meditation is to relax right?
Now when it comes to Meditation the thing to remember is your breathing. Breathing is something you take for granted, it’s autonomous, it just happens! Thankfully I hear you say!
Because breathing is autonomous you don’t really pay much attention to how you are breathing or the quality of that breath. By breathing correctly experts say you can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mental focus, help control blood pressure and improve your fitness levels, so take some time to practice breathing.
Have you ever paid attention to your breathing when you are under stress? When we are stressed our flight or fight response kicks in and affects our breathing it can become shallow and carbon dioxide levels rise in the body which long term is not good for our bodies or minds.
Becoming more aware of your breathing can have huge benefits to your body and mind, deep slow breathing induces a sense of calm and relaxation. Tibetan monks and yogis have been using breathing techniques for centuries to expand their consciousness and demonstrate feats that would appear to be out of a science fiction book but are most certainly real. E.g. they have mastered the ability to maintain and raise their body temperature while being exposed to cold temperatures. They can sit in meditation in cold rooms while wrapped in wet sheets, they sit there until the sheets dry from their ability to raise and maintain their body temperature, for fun they compete to see who can dry the most sheets. Now were not suggesting drying your sheets this way lol but you can begin by practicing some simple techniques such as breathing like a baby. Have you ever noticed the way babies breathe into their stomachs? You can start by breathing slowly and deeply in through the nose into your stomach, then filling your lungs and then letting it all out slowly through the mouth. Just become aware of how relaxed you feel and how good your organs and body are from this conscious breathing.
“Meditation is not to escape from society, but to come back to ourselves and see what is going on. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. With mindfulness we know what to do and what not to do to help.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Here are some of our top tips to help you get started: –
Get rid of distractions (turn off phone, TV etc. unless you are using them to listen to meditation music).
Get comfortable, you can sit or lie down, the choice is yours.
You can use a pillow and a blanket in case you get cold.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, take some deep breaths in and out.
To start just mediate for 2-5 minutes and you can gradually increase it as you get more comfortable with meditating.
If you lose focus, come back to your breath.
Try doing it at the same time every day! We are more likely to stick to something new if we make it part of a routine and meditation is no different. It but will get your day off to the perfect start.
Connect to your emotions! Don’t try to suppress your feelings, instead allow yourself to feel deeply whatever emotions come up for you. There is no right or wrong here, just be!
Here at Our Healing Rays we will be running a weekly meditation circle throughout the year. If you would like to come along you can book your place at our Weekly Meditation Circle event page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The circle is suitable for all levels, so even if you’ve never meditated before you are more than welcome to come along, you will love it.