Meditation can still conjure up images of sitting in the lotus position and chanting “omm”! Meditation in the Western world has moved on a lot from the original Eastern practice and it is more accessibly and “easier” to do now for many people.
There are many fantastic meditation groups that provide the space and stillness to meditate alongside others and if you are a beginner can learn the process and discipline of meditation.
For some people to sit still and to attempt to empty the mind can be extremely challenging. Sitting still can evoke beliefs of “being lazy, not doing anything” and there can also be the fear of what can come into the mind if we are not controlling it.
However meditation can be done in many ways and they all have immense health benefits. If you have time in the morning, especially at the weekend, why not sit quietly in bed and just focus on your breathing. Notice when thoughts come into your mind and then just return to being aware of the rise and fall of your chest. If you can do that for 5 minutes that’s brilliant, if you can do it for longer even better.
If you prefer to be led into a meditation there are lots of apps and CDs that are available such as Headspace , there are many more listed here. To immerse yourself into meditation you can go on a retreat, silent or otherwise, which can help kick start your awareness of how to meditate.
For more informal ways of meditation just be in nature, walk quietly, preferably alone and use all your senses to tune in to what is around you. You may have a favourite spot where you can just sit and be still and allow your thoughts to drift in and out without any focus upon them. Or you may give yourself time to have a bath rather than a shower. Set the intention to be still in mind and body, ensure that everyone else in the household knows not to disturb you and create a warming and relaxing environment. If you still find your mind wandering always go back to noticing your breath.
So why should we meditate? Research has shown that meditation will decrease blood pressure, decrease heart rate, decrease the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, it can re-alkalize your body, slow the ageing process down and promote deeper sleep.
Apparently our normal waking brain waves, Beta, are at 14-28 cycles per second. In meditation they go to Alpha waves at 7-14 cycles per second and in deep meditation can drop into Theta waves at 4-7 waves per second.
We also know that through meditation we can clear and balance our chakras and in turn balance our energy field which can decrease the risk of illness and in time be more in tune with nature thus once again promoting good health.
If you are not sure how to start having a Reiki session is a good way of giving yourself permission to stop , be still and to receive.
So however you do your meditation, whether it be for 10 minutes a week or an hour a day it is part of valuing your own health and wellbeing which enhances health benefits to ourselves and others.