What is Meditation?
“Everyone knows that training makes our body stronger, fitter and more flexible. Now, neuroscience research shows that meditation training cultivates the innate capacities of the mind to be present, to step out of automatic pilot and to create space so we can be clearer, calmer, more focused, more creative and even more compassionate.” - Joanne O’ Malley
Meditation, simply put, is a practice that helps us to learn and manage the patterns of our mind.
Many people say that they can’t meditate because their minds won’t stop chattering, they can’t focus and they constantly drift off into other thoughts. Frustrated, they often give up exploring meditation.
This mind-set expresses the common mis-understanding that meditating means having no thoughts. While moving into inner stillness and a peaceful mind state is one of the many fruits of the meditation practice, it is not the goal of the practice itself. There doesn’t have to be a goal. Even the most practiced meditators have only rare moments of complete inner stillness and quiet. In meditating we open the windows of the mind to clearer consciousness and peacefulness.
As part of the beauty of yoga we practice meditation at the start and end of the class even if just for a short period. We work on connecting the body and breath and become absorbed by the practice, movement and our mats. Meditation is the seed that can blossom into the thousand petal lotus flower of happiness, wellness, and fullness as an awakened human being. We do not have to wait until we are a zen master or limber yogi to experience the benefits, the benefits can be experienced straight away.
Try this at home: The Body Scan
It is a simple meditation to become aware of the body and breath and can be done for as briefly as five minutes if you like. Begin at the top of your head and work down to the toes, or vice versa whichever comes naturally.
Lie down on your back somewhere comfortable and undisturbed.
Take a few moments to become aware of the physical sensations in your body and begin to move your attention towards the breath. Feel the stomach expanding on every inhalation and releasing on every exhalation (sometimes placing a hand on the stomach helps to keep you focused on the breath)
Guide your attention to the top of the head and bring awareness to this part of the body.
Expand the attention to the back of the head, the sides of the head, the scalp the forehead, the temples, the eyes and the face. Let all the muscles of the face relax and fall to rest.
Move down to each area - the neck, the shoulders, the arms into the wrists, the hands and the tips of the fingers, back, abdomen, legs and toes.
Let the whole body sink into whatever you are lying on. With every exhalation sinking deeper into your mat/floor.
After you have scanned the whole body, move the fingers and toes stretching the arms overhead and give the body a good stretch.
Gently roll over and come back up to sitting and standing to return to your daily activity with a renewed sense of awareness and energy.
Easy and effective!!
Try the app www.headspace.com; - They offer a free 10 day trial
Try also www.calm.com - this is my favorite meditation app
"All is takes is 10mindful minutes Andy Puddicombe" on You Tube