• My Chameleon Meditation

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  • Health

    A Journey Through Meditation

    What I learned from 4 weeks of guided practice

    • I have always found it hard to sit still. The thought of meditating seemed like an impossible task - something that only the most disciplined minds were capable of. After participating in an introductory meditation workshop at Selph, I quickly discovered that the practice is so much more than I believed it to be. Here are 6 things I learned about meditation and why it really is essential for our health and wellbeing in a world where we never really seem to switch off.

      By Rachele Edson

        • 1. Your body wants you to meditate

        Meditation is a naturally occurring rest state – it’s not about completely shutting everything out, but rather resting in yourself while remaining awake and alert in the body. Your body wants to heal, energise, rest, integrate and assimilate information. On a physical level, the practice of meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease muscle tension and related pain, increase serotonin production, improve immune system function and increase energy levels.

        Mentally, regular meditation promotes emotional stability, increased creativity, happiness, clarity and peace of mind. It can help significantly decrease anxiety and depression, as well as sharpening and expanding the mind’s focus, helping us gain perspective and awareness. After each session, I felt my body more physically relaxed, and my mind more open and inquisitive.

    • My Chameleon Meditation

      Incense via pinterest

  • My Chameleon Meditation

    The studio at Selph via @amyg_yoga

    • 2. Find your reason – your why

    Like most things in life, to gain the most from a practice or experience we often need to discover the reason behind our actions. Whether you are simply curious and seeking a deeper connection with your self and body, or needing to find relief for stress and tiredness, find a reason to meditate. Your why will help you find persistence in your practice and guide you on your journey.

    My personal why is that I have trouble falling asleep, as well as holding a lot of stress and physical tension in my neck and upper body. Your why is unique to you, and may even change over time. The important part is to find it. As I began to meditate, I discovered a new why, that was opening my mind inward and outward in order to gain a bigger perspective in everything that I do.

    • 3. It’s ok to realise that you’re meditating

    It’s all too easy to start meditating, only to find yourself suddenly aware of what you are doing and therefore feel like you have failed at the practice. When we view meditation as a sort of motionless state in which we are unaware of our surroundings or think that we should be ‘floating outside ourselves’, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.

    The reality of meditation is a constant cycle of action and stillness – release and acceptance. This cycle can repeat from around 30 seconds to a few minutes and varies from person to person. The idea is to welcome every thought, feeling and sensation that arises in meditation practice, as the perfectly imperfect cycle that it truly is.

    Dr. Lorin Roche outlines this cycle through the 8 R’s of meditation: Rest, relax, release, review, repair, restore, rehearse, remember.

  • My Chameleon Meditation

    Christy Turlington

  • My Chameleon Meditation

    Image via @life_synergy

    • 4. Breathing is key

    The physical gateway to relaxing the body, breathing techniques are important in any meditation practice. Stress is a natural response to threats - our fight or flight reaction – and part of the sympathetic nervous system. On the other hand, our parasympathetic nervous system holds the ‘rest and digest’ function.

    For optimal energy and vitality, both nervous systems need to be balanced. When we are stressed, we live predominantly in the sympathetic nervous system. Breath techniques trigger our relaxation response and move us away from this stressed state, making the body more susceptible to meditation as well as improving digestion and metabolic function.

    Using guided breathing techniques, I noticed significant changes in my body – my heart rate slowed and muscle tension started to release. I found it easier to do lying on my back rather than sitting, and found a feeling of groundedness that allowed me to transition into meditation. A thought that stayed with me after this session was the yogi philosophy - the fewer breaths you take, the longer you live.

    • 5. You don't have to sit still

    Meditation is not a one size fits all practice. In fact, it is as individual an experience as one can get. One week, directly before the meditation session, I completed a yoga class at Selph. Coming into the practice having thoroughly stretched, I felt my body responded to the meditation exercises with more ease and openness. All you need for meditation is you. Some people find running a good way to meditate – being present and fully aware of yourself and your surroundings is the most important step.

    6. Create a ritual you love

    A meditation space can be the most important step to starting and maintaining a practice. There should be no electronic distractions and the environment you create should be comfortable, cosy and easy to be in. Start with a plan and set intentions – even committing 2-10 minutes of your day is enough to being. Use this time as a ritual and keep an open mind to discovering what works for you. Follow your breath, enjoy being in stillness but go with the flow.

  • Claudia Smith

    Image photographed by Claudia Smith

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