A Guide to Meditation
If you read our blog post last week, you’ll know that we’re big advocates of living a mindful and peaceful life, in every aspect, from your daily routine to the beauty products you choose to use.
For us, a really helpful part of living a mindful lifestyle is meditation.
We know, it sounds a little scary – switching off for an hour, trying to catch your zen? We hear you. But for us, meditation is less like switching off for long periods, and more like making time during the day to reconnect with ourselves and make sure that we’re feeling as peaceful and aware as we possibly can, to try and reduce our stress levels and keep ourselves balanced, healthy and happy.
Meditation is proven to calm the body and the mind, increase blood flow to the brain, help you find it easier to focus and also to teach you to defragment your thoughts so that you can process them and handle them in a more productive way.
So how can it be done? We’ve put together a little guide for you, with some simple ways to bring meditation into your daily life and help you feel a little more ‘at one’ with your soul and with the world around you. There’s three ways we think work best – at home alone, using an app or as part of a class, so we’ll talk you through all three. We think you’ll love it…
Trying it yourself
The first thing is to not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by any perceived pressure of meditation. Nobody can entirely switch off their thought patterns and empty their minds, even for short periods, so don’t expect yourself to be able to. Meditation is about practising relaxation and acceptance, so apply those to your own wellbeing first of all.
Set aside some time for meditation daily, and stick to it. Ten minutes is all you need, to give yourself time to reset and refresh without taking a bulk of your day. Find a quiet, comfortable corner without distractions, and make yourself at home. Set a timer (with a gentle alarm for when the time is up!) and dim the lights, light a candle if it helps you to relax further.
Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes, noticing how it feels to inhale and exhale, and bringing your focus back to your breathing if you notice your mind wandering. Notice your environment and your body; how does the room smell, what can you hear, what are the textures you can feel? Noticing these things will help to ground yourself into the present moment, and practising this can really help you in daily life if you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed; you can bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on what you can see, hear and feel.
Trying it with some help
For some beginners, guided meditation can be the best way to hold your hand through the process and teach you the techniques of mindful thinking and meditative breathing. The Headspace app is probably the most well-known; millions of people use it worldwide to help them reconnect, and with this kind of app, you can do it anywhere you need to. We often do it on the commute!
Simply plug in and close your eyes, and follow the guided meditations to help you learn the techniques to take home with you. Each meditation is around ten-twelve minutes long, so very easy to slot into your day, and you can opt in for reminders to give you a little nudge when you’re due your next time-out.
Trying group meditation
Sounds scary – but we promise that you’ll feel so relaxed, you won’t even notice that you’re in a room full of people. Yin yoga is a deeply restorative and relaxing form of yoga that comes with a guided group meditation, to help you fully unwind and relax your body as well as your mind. We go to a candlelit yin yoga class on a Sunday evening; an amazing way to decompress and prepare for the working week to begin again, with a fresh mindset and renewed energy.
Yin yoga classes are usually around one hour long, so it’s a more intensive form of meditation, and it’s not an exertive class, so don’t worry if you’re not particularly athletic – yin is more about holding gentle poses for long periods of time and easing into them, focusing on breathing and your body. It’s one of the most effective ways we’ve found of switching off the mind and helping you to make sense of any negative, anxious or stressed thought patterns.
Practising meditation can make it much easier for you to adopt a mindful lifestyle, and it’s the cheapest, easiest and most convenient way to de-stress, any time you need to. Once you’ve gotten those techniques down, you’ll be able to do it wherever and whenever you feel the need, bringing yourself back to the present moment and focusing on the here and now. We hope you enjoy it!