Last year I set myself a 30 day Challenge of Handstands not because I loved them but because they were a challenge for me. They still are! but that is the point its not about doing something easy.
This year my challenge is to meditate everyday for 30 days. Doesn’t sound difficult and as a yoga teacher that has been practicing for a few years now it should be easy but it isn’t. Within a class or with a private client it is easier as my goal is to help others but as part of my own practice I am so easily distracted ans so undisciplined it is ridiculous. So this challenge is about practicing what I preach.
Meditation is good for you.
It is an ancient practice with historic recordings from many cultures across the world. In fact it is often mistaken that meditation is a by-product of yoga but yoga was the exercise that the original yogis used to make their bodies strong and resilient enough so they could meditate for hours without pain.
However only recently have scientists started looking at its benefits.
What are its benefits?
- Meditation reduces stress
- Meditation can help improve anxiety and depression
- Meditation can improve your memory
- Meditation can lower blood pressure
- Meditation can help reduce pain
- Meditation can improve your attention span
- Meditation can slow aging
- Meditation can help you concentrate
All of this has been proven in some way within scientific studies. Some aspects will be influenced by the lifestyle around the meditation and there are always outlying factors. There are some scientists that disagree and say that there is no proof or that the studies were not scientific enough. However to err on the side of positivity lets say it does work, look at this amazing potential to self-care and heal that could move society away from its reliance on pharmaceuticals. Meditation research has only just scratched the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever the research says though the work and the experience is down to the individual.
I love to research as part of my blogging because just having an opinion is not helpful. Facts are helpful and when I decided to write this blog I thought it would be easy. A little bit of research mixed with my own experience, a couple of hours writing and Ta-Dah! But when you get into it Meditation is not clear cut. Different religious connotations, different ways to practice, a lot of ‘he said, she said’ and more of ‘I’m right and your wrong’ attitudes. So I am going to avoid that all together and simply say two things.
- Meditation is not a religion. It is a part of many religious practices but you are not committing to anything religious by meditating.
- There are a lot of different ways to meditate and like anything in life its important to find what is right for you.
Already on day 6 and I have posted several different techniques to try and find what suits me best. As a general rule it is suggested that you meditate the same way everyday however that does not suit me. I meditate to how I feel on the day. So if you choose to meditate don’t feel you have to stick with one way. Try alternatives to see what fits.
Also dont be dismayed if its not an instant fit or if there are days where it is hard, it is hard.
We are now all programmed to be busy whether it is work or home there is very little down time in our modern lifestyles so switching off or even trying to switch of is a challenge. however that is where and why meditation is so good, when you meditate it is like a mini brain reboot or when an electrical appliance is not working and you switch it off at the wall, count to ten and switch it back on and Hey Presto! it works. Meditation is like switching yourself off at the wall!!
So whether its 10 breaths or 10 minutes give it a go.