We all know that we should meditate, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to get into a habit of. I have always had an awareness of meditation, being introduced to mindfulness by my parents in my early teens, but it is only recently that I’ve started to get into any kind of habit with it. For the real benefits of meditation to be felt, regular exercise is required, so to properly buck up my half hearted practice I joined up to Mala Collective’s latest meditation challenge. It came just at the right time as I’ve been a bit busy and run down lately. I’ve had a couple of amazing weekends away, at the Health Blog Awards and at my boyfriend’s Commemoration Ball in Oxford, but it’s meant that that life has been a bit non-stop recently. It seems a bit silly to be talking about being tired and overwhelmed after writing a blog post about using yoga and wellbeing techniques to combat stress and burnout, but there you go. Practicing what I preach is, of course, central to Green+Aquamarine, but I’m not perfect and sometimes life catches up with you unexpectedly. I’ve made some practical solutions to look after myself, such as swapping shifts to have two days off in a row and ensuring that I get plenty of yoga done, even at the expense of gym sessions. However, following a guided meditation series has really helped me to start back at square one and make time for just ten minutes of quality self-love.
Meditation has both physical and mental benefits. Blood pressure can be reduced with regular practice, and the effects of combating stress by increasing serotonin and decreasing cortisol help to improve the immune system and boost energy. Moreover, these effects can help those with anxiety, reduce tension-related pain such as headaches and increase your creativity, intuition and happiness (source). Taking this time to step back in with yourself and reconnect is so important, and I love how many of my yoga teachers incorporate meditation in their classes as well as the end Shavasana.
Getting started with a meditation practice can be tricky though. Generally, I find popping on a timer for ten minutes and focusing on my breath, or counting my way through mala beads helps. However, for building up a regular practice, I have found guided meditation so helpful, as it aids you in setting a focus and builds up all the key points to a successful meditation practice. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I have been using Mala Collective’s week-long challenge, all lead by the calming Natalie Rousseau. However, there are lots of other guided meditations out there. The Independent listed their ten best meditation apps, including one to help you sleep, and Mind Body Green has a course of five guided meditations that should help get you started.
I would love for you to join me on my journey into making meditation part of mine and your routine. Sign up to one of the guided meditations, or go it alone and try practicing for a few minutes every day of a week and tell me how you found it. Remember to get in a comfortable position on the floor or a chair (sit on a cushion or block if you’re sat cross-legged to avoid aches). Without forcing anything, take deep breaths, and make a mantra if you wish. Then let me know in the comments below or on Instagram how you found it!Namaste x