Feel like you don’t have time to meditate or intimidated because you don’t know how? With the stresses and strains of everyday life, finding time to unwind can seem almost impossible. In fact, a recent “Wellness Index” from MINDBODY, a leading health and wellness app, found that downtime takes a back seat for many of us, with the nation getting fewer than nine hours of headspace per week and one in five (20%) people stating that they are “not content” with the state of their current mental health.
However, the reality is that everyone can find some time for mindfulness through meditation. What’s more, it’s not all about mantras, Lotus Positions and long periods of concentration – it can be super simple and there’s a style that can work for everyone. With this in mind, and with the help of MINDBODY, here’s 6 IDEAL meditation tips for those who’d like to try it, but think it sounds a little daunting.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIT IN A CROSS-LEGGED POSITION
Meditation is about being comfortable, so if this means you are most relaxed propped up or sat on a cushion, then so be it. The traditional cross-legged Lotus Position (where the back is straight, head is aligned and the feet are placed on opposite thighs) is considered the best pose for meditation, as it places all the primary Chakra energy centres in alignment, making spiritual perception and operation easier. However, it isn’t a necessary meditative position and isn’t accessible to everyone (it requires open hips and a lot of practice). So instead of battling with this particular pose, find peace in a comfier position and make use of tools, like a yoga block, blanket or meditation cushion.
MEDITATION COMES IN MANY FORMS
Any activity that gets you to focus and to allow the subconscious to let go can be meditative, for example colouring, drawing or even cooking. Illustrator and keen yogi, Kate Phillipson, launched Yoga Life Drawing to fuse her two passions and says that drawing, like yoga, is a moving meditation and a great way to relax and unlock creativity.
MEDITATION DOESN’T HAVE TO TAKE YEARS OF DEDICATED PRACTISE
You can quickly learn the basics of meditation, and it’s not about achieving total ‘perfection’. Like anything, regular practise helps you to improve and means you’ll learn more, but the benefits of meditation can be almost immediate. A study led by Harvard University found that as little as eight weeks of meditation helped people experience decreased anxiety and improved stress regulation. With MINDBODY’s Wellness Index showing that 24% of UK adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious on an average day, research like this is promising. So at the end of every day take five minutes to reflect, think about the day and what made you happy; whether it was a beautiful sunrise, a great workout, or dinner with your family. Remember those things and be grateful for them.
YOU CAN MEDITATE ANYWHERE
It’s a common misconception that you need to create a sacred and special environment to meditate effectively. You can observe and focus on the breath to feel the immediate effects of meditation anywhere, whether it’s at your desk, in the supermarket or on the tube. Whilst it’s best to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment, if you feel your emotions start to get on top of you, observe your breath for five minutes and focus on the breath entering and leaving your body.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BAN DISTRACTIONS
Many apps and online programs have actually helped bring meditation into the mainstream; technology like Muse and apps such as Headspace have guided users through focused meditation and can be a practical way into meditation.
If you find you are distracted by something in the room, don’t rush to block it out, simply acknowledge the distraction before bringing your attention back to the breath. If you try and eliminate every single thought that pops into your head, you might just end up frustrated.
IF YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO MEDITATE, THINK AGAIN
With common benefits including improved concentration and decreased blood pressure, meditation is definitely worth your time – as limited as it may be.
You’re likely to feel more productive and calm after a meditation session, meaning you can fit more into your day. Focusing on the present moment also means that you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, so you can focus on the ‘right now’ and make the most of your time. Even just five minutes in the morning can be enough to set you up for a more productive and positive day.
To find out more about MINDBODY and to download the app to access meditation classes, visit: uk.mindbodyonline.com