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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!

 

Tips to combat those blues

Just because the weather is getting nicer doesn’t always mean a better mood and that mental health will improve.  If you are finding it rather difficult to get out of bed in the morning, let alone accomplish day to day tasks, you might have depression. And although there are several remedies to help you with your depression, there are slight changes and routines that can also assist.

Proper water intake is key to feeling better and many neglect to drink the appropriate daily amount.. Want to lose weight? Drink water. Suffer from acne? Drink water. Mad at bae? Drown him, just kidding.  In fact, it seems that not drinking enough water is the root of all problems. It can actually lead to a lot of mental and physical issues. For one thing, a lack of water intake can cause brain fog. This can prevent you from thinking clearly, not to mention leave you in a less than content mood. Of course, lack of water intake can result in dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration don’t always have to be thirst. Fatigue, headaches, and even excess body heat are all signs that you need to up your water intake. It’s not always coffee that you need to wake you up. Put down the mug and pick up a bottle of water instead. Your mind and body will thank you.

Symptoms of depression do not pertain solely to being in a bad mood. Your physical health can be a red flag too. If you find taking a nap is always on your mind, not to mention you’re struggling to break free from your sluggish and lethargic state, check your vitamin levels! Vitamin B, C, and D  and depression are very closely linked to one another. Living in Canada, almost everyone lacks Vitamin D, also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ which can leave you feeling gloomy with a lack of energy. Be sure to also check your Iron, Magnesium, B12, and Vitamin C levels as well. Not only can these vitamins and minerals help with depression, they are also essential for maintaining your overall health. Either get your intake through supplements or incorporate meals that are rich in nutrients into your diet. That poutine may taste good while you’re eating it, but it’s doing more harm than good in the long run.

It’s easy to slip into a state of withdrawal when you’re suffering from depression. All you want to do is crawl into a corner of your bedroom and watch Netflix all day. However, being a couch potato is highly counterproductive to improving your mental health. Although it makes sense to let yourself grieve and feel your emotions, it is more important to find ways to break free from the cycle. So, do yourself a favour and hop on a fitness cycle! Getting active in small ways such as taking a walk around the block or trying out something more daring like rock climbing, can be a huge step towards bettering your depression. It’s no secret that exercising releases endorphins, helping you feel good. It can encourage you to try something new, engage in more social interactions, and just have a change of pace from your everyday routine.

Ah, social media. The biggest blessing and curse the internet has to offer. Social media has become an integral part of all our lives. It helps us keep connected with Jennifer all the way in Australia while keeping us informed on Trump’s day to day shenanigans. However, it can also contribute to negativity in our lives. Unfortunately, being active on social media can lead us to compare our lives with others, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and depressed. You can be sitting at home, trying to get active and eat healthier while your classmates from high-school are posting photos of their engagement or new house. Getting caught up in other people’s lives is not only irrelevant, its detrimental to your physical and mental health. Unfollow the accounts that leave you feeling empty and start following accounts that encourage positivism and boast motivation. Better yet, put down your phone and focus on your own life

Say no. No one will be offended if you do. And if they are — good riddance. Whether it’s in your professional or personal life, politely refusing to do things can help you feel in control of the life you fear you’re losing grasp of. Unfortunately, a lot of negative feelings arise when you put yourself before others. However, changing this habit will help with your self confidence. You may just not want to go out for dinner with your friends one night and it’s next to impossible when your boss has already put so much on your plate. It’s okay. Listen to yourself. If you feel like you can’t take it anymore, step away. Thank yourself later.

Be sure to visit your doctor if your depression persists for a prolonged period of time or if you feel your symptoms worsening.

 

Time to get naked and comfortable with your partner

Do you find yourself trying to cover up when naked in bed with your partner? Are you racing to put clothes on after the shower? Is being in the nude nearly un-‘bare’-able? You aren’t alone.

Many women dislike being unclothed in front of their partners, and this is ultimately damaging to confidence in a relationship. Women are surrounded by air-brushed lingerie ads of women who are perfect looking, and this leads to damaging self-criticism. This discomfort needs to be destroyed. It is time to throw off the clothes and learn to love that naked body for exactly how beautiful it is. Feeling comfortable being naked in front of your partner will not only strengthen your relationship, it will ultimately make you feel better about yourself.

Embracing the nude isn’t a process that will happen overnight. It takes consistent effort and, if you work at it, slowly but surely it will become completely natural to hang out in the nude with your partner. Start by confronting your fear head-on, the dreaded mirror. After a shower, instead of avoiding your reflection, take a look. Instead of glancing at yourself with critical eyes, try to see what your partner sees. What is beautiful about your sexy body? What makes your feminine self desirable? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and self-criticism is not helpful. High self-esteem starts with yourself, and meeting that beautiful woman in the mirror for a post-shower ego-boost will adjust you to being naked and increase confidence.

Taking care of your body will promote a healthier relationship with your body. This does not mean develop a punishing regiment for daily exercise, but instead should inspire you to learn how to love your body without being fixated on trying to change it. How about a massage or even treating yourself to a manicure and pedicure? Treating your body as a temple will promote a sense of much-needed self-love. Exercise is important and creates a healthy self-image, so challenge yourself to move your body in ways that feel sexy and fun. Do you like to dance? Put on some music and bust a move! Do you enjoy hula hooping or swimming? Grab a hoop or jump in the pool! Moving the body in a fun way makes exercise enjoyable and will make being naked even more fun.

After some serious self-love exercises, it is time to test the waters and try to get naked with your partner. If you are still feeling nervous, enact a ritual to feel more confident like putting a bit of mascara on or putting coconut lotion on your body. If the lighting feels too bright, use a lamp, candles or softer lighting. It creates sexy mood lighting and will make your partner very excited. Remember, your partner wants to be there with you and your beautiful naked self. Men aren’t critically assessing your stretch marks or blemishes, but are simply excited to be with a naked woman they love. Good men are not looking at the flaws, but instead are looking at the woman beneath them. Try and see yourself through the eyes of desire, you will look pretty dang good.
Being naked with a partner will ultimately forge a more intimate relationship, with the added bonus of shaking up your sex life. Be brave, and love your naked body. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and that is precisely what makes women so beautiful. Embrace the body you were given and make it your temple — if only for your own benefit.