Meditation is becoming a hot topic, and we are finally seeing apps, websites and blogs catching up to this millennial practise to make it accessible to the majority.
Studies have shown the benefits of a regular meditational practise on your mental and physical health, which then leads to increased productivity and happiness.
If you think this practise is some hippie nonsense, then you probably need it the most.
What is Meditation?
Most of us think that meditation is about emptying your mind, but that’s not how meditation works. The main goal of meditation is to pay attention to your minds meanderings.
That way, instead of letting thoughts reek havoc on your day by constantly telling you things in the background, you start realising that the voice in your head isn’t really you, and you don’t have to listen to it.
You then get to listen to your emotions instead of being controlled by them.
Once you manage that, you should realise you are more in control of what you do, of negative emotions, and can therefore handle stressful situations that inevitably show up.
But we aren’t all the same. Sitting down in a lotus position and humming may not be the best introduction to meditation. There are many way you can meditate, and here is my top 3 :
I. WIM HOF BREATHING
I am currently practising this daily and kind of just do it naturally because of the very tangible effects it has immediately. I consider it meditation because you generally practise it eyes closed, sitting or lying down, there is a counting of breaths, and a sequence to follow.
The sequence is 4 sets of 30 long deep breaths, and letting go of the air (not exhaling completely), then after the 30th exhale, you stop breathing for as long as you can, then take the deepest breath you can handle, and hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
After round 2 or 3, you should start feeling one of the following symptoms :
- light head
- tingling extremities
- ringing in your ears.
What the practise does is hyper oxygenate your cells, and give you a burst of energy. Don’t stand up too quickly after this because you can pass out (yes it is intense). Take 5 minutes after the breaths to get a normal pattern of breathing back.
You should then feel relaxed, energised and composed. My favourite at the moment, and I use it to set me off on my transes.
II. STILLNESS MEDITATION
This is what I used to practise. I would either sit or lie down, and count my breaths to 10. Several ways to do this :
- You can take deep regular breaths, and count them up to 10. If you lose count, be aware of it and go back to 1, and start again. Every time you catch yourself miscounting is a small mindfulness victory.
- You can let yourself breathe and observe your breaths. I found this practise deeply relaxing. The hard part is breathing naturally WITOUT actually controlling your breaths. It is interesting to see how irregular breaths actually are, and that is a good things. The breath and heart rate are linked and your heart rate should be erratic if your heart is healthy. Therefore si should be your respiratory rate.
- You can also try to be as still as possible for as long as possible. Not moving a hand, foot, breathing very shallow, not batting a eyelash, anything. This is the Dead Man’s Pose. This brings a true sense of unity to the body. Ideally done on a relatively hard mat on the floor, you should actually feel very comfortable. Set an alarm at 5, 10 or 15mins as it is very easy to fall asleep, or simply drift off into your thoughts. I actually easily go into transes in this position which I enjoy a lot.
III. DANCING MEDITATION
I have only actually tried this method twice, because I’m not comfortable with dancing.
I still wanted to include it here for those of you who enjoy dancing very much, and naturally dance when they are alone (My girlfriend is one of them). Maybe you are one of these people, and this method may actually be perfect for you.
Now I’m not asking you to repeat a routine you’ve learned, I actually want you to put some music on, ideally either in a language you don’t understand, or just an instrumental, and to move however your body feels like moving.
Let the music drive your steps, arms, turns, swings, feel the weight of your body and move around. try to not think, but simply feel. Feel how free you are to move, and reconnect with your body. If this speaks to you you will probably understand, if not here is an example : Video
However you do it, include a meditational practise in your life. Something that helps you focus into your body, and feel the present moment, and connecting your mind and your body.