Our in-house wellbeing activator and mindfulness guru, Kali Pearce, is here to talk about meditation and give some useful tips on creating a meaningful practice.
Cultivating some ‘you time’ for meditation is essential in these busy times when more than ever our lives are filled with responsibilities and commitments. Committing to a 5-10 minutes could see the benefits of more calm, patience, tolerance, clarity and productivity in your day. Regular meditation can improve your energy levels, quality of sleep and overall wellbeing. Here are some tips on how you can create a meditation habit of your own:
- Be comfortable. Find a position that suits your body, but also enables you to be alert and aware while you are meditating. There is no need to hold painful postures that cause great irritation and frustration. If sitting on the floor, use cushions or props to bring the hips higher than the knees. Sit on a chair or against the wall if that’s easier. You can lie down too, but beware not to fall asleep!
- Create a habit. Whether it’s the moment you wake up or just before you sleep, it’s a great idea to establish a regular time or routine for your practice to create a habit. Some days will inevitably be busier than others (that’s life), but it doesn’t mean you have to give up the habit. Just get up earlier, or find an alternative time in the day when you can do it; on the bus, in a waiting room, whilst walking or simply take some regular mini intervals to breathe consciously. It doesn’t matter if you meditate for 10 minutes or 60, the point is to do it regularly in order to train the mind and experience the benefits.
- Offer yourself compassion. There will be days when you really don’t want to do it; these are usually the days when you need it most! So go easy on yourself, be patient and tolerant of your busy and distracted mind. Even if you just consciously breathe for a few minutes, it will really help to reset your mind and give it a little well needed space. It is near impossible to clear the mind completely, so just reassure yourself that each time you notice your attention has waned, you have been mindful! Then gently steer your attention back to the breath and start again.
- Add variety. Some days I can sit for hours in silent meditation, others I need a guided audio track to support my practice and help me get to that place of stillness. Mix it up and find what kind of meditation resonates with you on that particular day, depending on how you feel and what your needs are. If the mind is particularly busy, you may find a guided visualisation or a mantra useful to direct your attention and energy. A mantra doesn’t have to be in Sanskrit, you can pick something that is meaningful to you, such as ‘peace’ or ‘relax’
- Use a mudra. A mudra is a gesture, often with hands, that creates an energetic circuit between body and brain. Various mudras can have different effects on your energy levels or mood. A popular one to calm and focus the mind is chin mudra. Bring the index and thumb fingers to touch palms facing up and hands resting on knees or lap. To feel grounded and stable, turn palms down.
- Find your tribe. Join up with a local group to practice meditation together and share your experiences, insights, challenges and inspirations. It is so wonderful to connect with a community of likeminded souls; it makes your practice more meaningful, supports you with motivation and shared learnings and also cultivates a stronger connection energetically in your practice.
- Watch your diet. According to Ayurveda, different foods have different effects on both our body and mind. Ayurveda teaches us that there are three different kinds of foods: tamasic, rajasic and sattvic. Tamasic foods can leave us feeling tired and groggy while rajasic foods can make us hyper. Sattvic foods, on the other hand, have a calming and energising effect.
- Tamasic foods are rich or heavy such as: meats or stale and leftover foods.
- Rajasic foods include caffeine, sugar and certain stimulating spices.
- Sattvic foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grass-fed dairy.
When you start to cultivate a daily or regular practice of meditation you will notice how different foods affect you mind, body and energy levels. If you want to get a deeper sense of connection and ease with your meditation practice, then move towards eating more sattvic foods and less rajasic and tamasic.
Here is a little something to get you started: Simple Mindfulness Meditation – it can be found on an app called Insight Timer. It’s totally free to join and has thousands of guided meditations, relaxation music and talks to inspire your practice.
Here at the Scarlet we offer complimentary daily guided meditations, which are suitable for beginners and seasoned practitioners. Click here to find out more.