So, is it just us, or is the go-to solution that is at the tip of everyone’s tongue when you say you are stressed is, “Have you tried meditation?”. That then is often followed by an eye roll, a scoff, or a combination of both by the stressed person. Don’t lie, we know that’s how you react, because, honestly, that’s how we first reacted too.
How is it possible to sit down, close your eyes, and think breathing is going to make everything better? Nobody has time for that. Well, buckle up my lovelies because we are going to prove you wrong and bring you on a meditation journey (that sounded a lot more spiritual than we thought but let’s roll with it).
So, What is Meditation You May Ask?
Well, According to Headspace, one of the World’s leading meditation tools, meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.
It is also about mindfulness; the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment.
Now For The Science Behind Meditation
We asked our resident Shona Project yogi, Steph (yep that’s right! We have our very own yogi!!) for a little help on this. So, Steph mentioned, in terms of our nervous systems – if we’re anxious or in a state of “fight or flight”, our sympathetic nervous system is engaged – it’s preparing us for war – it floods our system with hormones, it speeds up our heart rate, and it rushes blood to the muscles. Which is great right? – it fires us up – but this is often happening at times when we don’t need it. And we can’t seem to stop it! Or can we?!
With anxiety being triggered by all of the changes young people are trying to handle – they don’t need to be ready for war – they need clarity of mind and they need their nervous systems to be calm. Which is where our parasympathetic nervous system comes in. It counteracts all of the feistiness of the sympathetic nervous system. So how do we engage that one? Meditation. It literally recalibrates the nervous system and switches from one to the other.
Now That We Have You Interested, Where Can You Learn Meditation?
If you just type meditation into Google, millions of options pop up. It can be intimidating searching through the sea of possible meditation tools when you don’t really know where to start. That is why we are going to give you our recommendations for a few meditations to get you started
Number One: Are you just looking for the basics of meditation to use whenever you need them? “Pick Up Limes” has the perfect session for you. In this episode, she shows you how to practice: finding a comfortable seat, bringing your attention to the breath, and becoming aware of any sensations and thoughts that enter into the mind while meditating.
Number Two: We’ll pop in another little session for beginners. This time with “Yoga with Kassandra”. She’ll go over the basics of meditating and then you will go right into it. She says “The trick is to not obsess over clearing your mind! Don’t worry about always being still, always being thought-free or meditating “perfectly”. Simply sit and breathe, that’s it! Over time the spaces between your thoughts will distance themselves but there’s no need to rush or force it. Make sure you are sitting comfortably, either on a block or a few blankets. You can even sit on a chair if sitting on a floor doesn’t work for you!”.
Number Three: Next up is the amazing Tara Brach. Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.
This clip is a general guided meditation. Sit back, close your eyes and listen as Tara takes you through a session in collecting and quieting the mind with the breath, and then relaxing all effort, and simply resting in what is.
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