Do you find it difficult to stay on task, to be present in conversations, or to fall asleep? Do you find you’re always caught in the conversations of your mind; feeling anxious, stressed out and tense?
Have you ever tried to meditate?
Here are a few fun facts about meditation…
- Meditation is the practice of “waking up” to the present moment. It requires us to focus our attention on our breath; on the sensations in our body or on a mantra/ affirmation.
- Meditation can be done by anyone, for various lengths of time – at any time of day. It can be practiced seated or laying down. Eyes can be closed or in a soft gaze. Breathing can be done through the nose or the mouth.
- Meditation is referred as a “practice” because there is no final end point. The more we “take a seat” or lay down to meditate, the more we may notice space between our thoughts – as we surrender into our breath and connect more deeply with our body.
- When we meditate we rewire the neural pathways of the brain. By intentionally focusing our awareness on the present moment (not concerned about the past or anxious about the future – stuck in fear and controlled by our ego) we challenge our normal mode of thought. When we do this over a period of time, we notice a shift in our thinking + how we relate to and respond to various experiences. It’s pretty awesome!
- By slowing down + connecting with stillness in meditation, we move from our sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight – doing) into our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and reset – being). This shift allows us to take a break from our busy, thinking mind, so we can connect with the wisdom of our subconscious + our heart.
Through connecting our attention with our breath, we become more aware of how we are feeling and how our body is doing – where we feel tension, soreness or gripping in our body – where we feel space, softness and generally “good” in our body.
When we have a career or lifestyle that involves sitting for long periods of time, energy + stress can get compounded in our muscles. We might experience this as tightness, stiffness or soreness in our body – especially in our neck, shoulders, hips and low back. As we meditate we might notice that as our mind relaxes, our body softens and releases tension as well.
***A heads up – being in stillness may feel foreign and be super challenging at first… maybe even viewed as if it’s a waste of time since we’re so conditioned to do, do, do.
When I began meditating it definitely felt odd for me to intentionally sit in stillness. I found my brain kept running from one list to the next – not slowing down or relaxing into the present moment. Then it happened – I was a few months into my practice and noticed I was aware of the sensations in my body and when my mind would get caught + pulled into a story. Since that moment, my experiences in meditation have ebbed and flowed. One thing is certain; the more I sit for 20+ minutes each day, the more I notice an ease of settling into my meditation practice.
Please have patience + compassion with yourself as you begin your meditation journey – and throughout it.
It takes time for us unwind and relax; to open and soften.
It takes courage to meditate.
It takes courage to sit with yourself in stillness. It takes courage to slowly peel back the layers and better understand how you’ve come to be who you are… and doing what you’re doing. It takes courage to sit with pain stored deep in our body, or to accept a new way of seeing the world.
Please do not let this potential discomfort deter you from committing to a daily meditation practice.
Through meditation, we learn how resilient and powerful we truly are. We embody this truth on such a deep level that no one can take this knowledge + strength away from us.
There is so much to discover about ourselves beyond the narratives and confines of our mind. There’s so much beauty and wisdom beneath the layers of societal conditioning.
Some key benefits of meditation include:
- Reduce stress + anxiety
- Increase sense of well-being
- improved focus, mental clarity + memory
- Increase sense of connectedness + empathy
- Increase creativity + decision-making
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Enhance your immune system
- Reduce physical + emotional pain
Meditation can be transformational and beneficial in all aspects of life – from work to personal to relational. Each time we show up and meditate, we release stagnant energy in the body, creating space for new possibilities to emerge in our life.
From greater presence + less stress, we have more space to be creative and we have less “mental noise” to distract us from the current task or project at hand.
For a variety of short + free meditations, please click here.