Here at Uluna we are huge advocates of meditation and I personally have seen my inner dialog and mindscape shift dramatically since integrating this practice into my daily habits.
Before I found my groove I had tried to meditate and seemingly failed many times, feeling defeated by my busy mind. Meditation is like a muscle and requires flexing to build up strength and capacity. It is certainly a practice worth pursuing given the tremendous benefits it provides to our health as well as the on-flow effects in our life.
What is meditation?
Meditation in its essence is bringing your mind to a single stream of consciousness whilst actively and passively calming the mind and body. Throughout this process your brainwaves alter and the nervous system shifts out of the fight-or-flight response allowing for deep relaxation, physical healing and accessing deeper parts of the subconscious mind.
Meditation has been recorded throughout history, through written texts and even cave drawings, for thousands of years, dating back to ancient times. Indian artefacts reveal the existence of a Meditation style called Tantra dating back 5,000 years.
Today meditation can bring both ancient traditional techniques (Vedic Meditation/mantra style) through to more modern techniques like mindfulness meditation and guided visualisations.
Meditation and mindfulness are more important now than ever before as our lives are busier and we are taking in more information in our daily lives, eating less wholesome food and putting strain on our nervous systems to cope. Stress is one of the biggest root causes for many health concerns plaguing modern society.
When it comes to the benefits, this is where the words “no brainer” come to mind - pun intended.
- Regular meditation has been linked to numerous health benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved immune function, and enhanced cardiovascular health.
- It is a powerful stress-management tool. It helps activate the body's relaxation response, reducing the production of stress hormones and promoting a sense of calm.
- Through sustained practice, meditation enhances cognitive functions such as focus and concentration. It cultivates mental clarity and sharpens awareness.
- Meditation aids in relaxation, making it an effective tool for those struggling with insomnia or sleep disturbances. A calm mind facilitates a peaceful transition into restful sleep.
Where to begin?
First of all, understanding meditation doesn’t need to look like someone else’s practice. I think many of us have an idea that we should be sitting cross-legged, in silence for an hour with zero thoughts running through our mind. Sure, some styles do look like this, however for some your practice may include walking, moving, speaking, listening etc.
Here’s some pointers to get you started:
Set realistic goals:
Start with brief sessions, perhaps 5-10 minutes, and gradually extend the duration as your practice evolves. Consistency is more important than duration.
Curate your space:
Find a quiet and comfortable space where you won't be disturbed to anchor in your practice. Set it up to feel like YOUR space - it could be as simple as a cushion on the floor or a special blanket you use on your bed.
Set the mood:
Bring in a scent to activate your mind and body to prepare for your practice. Using the same scent each time will become more and more potent in feeling calm and connected.
Consuming caffeine or sugar before your practice can work against you. Set yourself up for success with an empty belly - most people find mornings the easiest time to relax.
Practice self compassion:
Meditation is a skill that develops over time. Be patient with yourself, acknowledging that thoughts will arise. The key is to observe them without judgement and return to the present moment.
Ground with crystals:
Holding crystal harmonisers is a great way to anchor your energy into your practice. Holding them can bring your awareness out of an anxious mind and assist you to remain focussed and still whilst adding a new vibration to your ritual.
- Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable.
- Close your eyes and consciously scan through your body ensuring all muscles are relaxed.
- Bring your focus to your breath; breathing in deeply into your belly through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. Ensure your exhale is longer than your inhale. In for 3, out for 5 is a good pace to start. This breath length assists to calm the nervous system.
- Tune in or tune out. Bring your awareness INSIDE to your breath or to a single thought, feeling, word or mantra. Or take your awareness OUTSIDE to the sounds of nature & life around you, calming music or a guided meditation.
- At the end of your practice this is a great mental space to journal any thoughts, reflections and feelings - including some gratitude towards yourself.
Embark on this journey with an open mind, allowing meditation to gradually unfold as a powerful tool for cultivating a calmer and more mindful existence.