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Meditation – A Beginner How-To Guide

Meditation – A Beginner How-To Guide

One of the biggest trends out there right now is meditation and mindfulness!

These words get thrown around like confetti, and you may wonder what the big deal is. Perhaps you want to try meditation but don’t know where to start!

“Did I do the laundry?” “Are those papers filled out at work?” “I wonder what he’s doing right

now…”

These thoughts are totally normal and happen to everyone!

A common misconception about meditation is that it must be free of thought and done in silence, in a so-called comfortable seated position.

For many people, the seated position just isn’t comfortable-and I speak from experience! When I

first started meditating my back would throb as I forced myself to sit with proper posture and

attempt to quiet my mind.

I always left my meditation sessions feeling frustrated, like a failure, and nowhere near calmer!

So, what changed? My perspective. As a yoga teacher, meditation and mindfulness coach, I have learned and tried many ways of meditating!

What I have learned is that it is a different process for every single person. You may need to do a workout before being able to meditate as you have a lot of energy moving in your body. You may need to lie down comfortably and have silence, only listening to the sound of your breathing. You may even need to listen to a repetitive mantra and sit in a chair…

The HOW TO of meditation is really HOW TO relax your body, mind and soul-and this all depends on what works best for YOU.

Thoughts are going to come through the mind because humans are designed to think!

A thoughtless mind is not a human mind…therefore, when in meditation, one practices the witnessing of thoughts. This means that you allow the thoughts to come in, witness them, and release them with no attachment.

For instance, “I can’t believe I forgot to bring that container today” could be looked at with nonjudgement, a smile and an invitation to bring the focus back on your breath.

The goal of meditation is to pause the stream of thought and continually bring awareness back to the present moment. Focusing on the breath or a sound can help you come back to the moment of NOW.

There are many other meditation techniques and tricks that you can learn by participating in yoga classes, exercise regiments and even dancing! The mindfulness that you bring to any focused activity is the same mindfulness that you bring to your meditation!

Here’s an exercise you can try today for your own simple 5 minute meditation

Body Scan Meditation

Sit, lie down, stand, curl up, whatever feels best!

Begin to focus on your breath and notice the inhale and exhale flowing through the body. As you focus on your breath, start to notice your feet, beginning with each toe. Then travel up the leg, noticing how that feels, and continuing up through your stomach, back, arms, hands…and finally coming to your chest and head, making sure to relax all your neck and facial muscles as you breathe.

Allowing yourself the space to notice any thoughts that come through and simply watch them continue on, focusing back on your body and the parts that you are bringing awareness to.

Don’t feel bad if you fall asleep…that means you did something right!

 

5 ways to manage and reduce stress

When I was younger, I would hear news reports that listed the leading cause of death in the world — the number one cause often being stress. I never understood the self-inflicting harm associated with stress and adulthood. When people are younger, they tend to enjoy life, to live freely with caution to the wind. As you get older,  you transition and are shaped by your environment. By adulthood, people tend to have their own personality, which they reflect on to the world and are often affected by change. Depending on a person’s psychology and personality, they treat themselves differently in these stressful situations.

Some people love the push and rush associated with stress-related work deadlines, and some people crumble at the slightest sign of disruption. From personal stress in your relationships to professional stress related to your job, they are all causing you harm that may end up being a silent killer.

A recent survey conducted by job site Monster Canada, found that stress is the leading motivator of people leaving their jobs. Results indicated that employees in Quebec and Ontario feel overworked. The study found one in four Canadians quit their job in 2016 due to unbearable work related stress. Causes are often related to poor salary, location, age and most importantly a work- life balance. While some companies support a positive work-life balance, other jobs can be so demanding there is no work-life balance.

Understandably everyone is different. So maybe you’re on the grind, a business entrepreneur, working for your family, living your dream job, but always remember to support the healthiest version of your self and that includes you mental health and managing stress. Women’s Post has compiled some short tips on how to live a more relaxing lifestyle.

Just Breathe

Sometimes, we all need a little break — just a small moment to ourselves. Deep breathing is often found to calm your heart rate and promote a state of relaxation. Five deep breaths are all you need. Maybe even try breathing exercises or meditation and set aside ten minutes in your day.

Relax

Just take a day, or a couple  days off if you need to regain control of your life again. When you take a day off, commit that day to your self and putting your priorities first. Get a massage, read a book, go shopping, go to a movie alone, and find time to enjoy your own company and activities you love.

Healthy eating + activity = a healthy mind

On the note of relaxing, it’s vital to also spend time focusing on your diet and exercise. Sometimes these activates escape us and the thought of sleep is much more appealing. While sleep is fantastic, working out also hits you with a rush of feel-good endorphins so you end up feeling really fantastic after a workout. Our diets are also very important. A recent study found that eating too much pasta can trigger depression. Now don’t go giving up your favourite foods — just adjust your diet accordingly.

Say No

Sometimes saying ‘no’ can be the healthiest thing to do for your self. No excess burdens and obligations. Don’t feel bad about what other people think. Do things for your self, don’t over commit and prioritize! If you rather take the time off to go see a movie than volunteering this weekend, do it! Make yourself happy.

Love and Care

Spend time with those you love, speak about your problems, your friends and family should be a positive source in your life. Spend time with the people that make you happy, even quick phone calls to the one you love can help alleviate daily stress. Too often we spend our time around people who are full of negative energy and are emotionally draining. You should just cut that negativity our of your life.

Just remember that in the end, life waits for nobody, so if you’re finding it hard to keep up, just take a break and I hope by reading this you feel less stressed already.

Share some peace and love in the comments below!