While we know it’s good for us, meditation for many is dismissed as being too challenging, too time consuming, or too distracting. However, the benefits of meditation – especially for the working professional – are profound in terms of managing our stress and increasing our productivity levels.
Lou West, Director of Yoga and Meditation at RISE by Studio PP has demystified meditation with her four simple techniques to focus the mind for beginners.
This is perhaps the best place to start. By focusing the mind on your breath, you are bringing the awareness out of your ‘head’ and into your ‘body’. See if you can slow your breathing down, noticing both the pause at the top of the breath and the pause after you exhale. Taking long, deep breaths will also affect the nervous system in a positive way, encouraging you to rest and digest.
The beauty of the mind and imagination is that we can travel anywhere in the blink of an eye, just by shifting our awareness. This technique will work anywhere – even when you are physically in a stressful situation or surrounding. Simply close your eyes and transport yourself to a place in your mind that brings a sense of calm and comfort. You mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination, so get creative and enjoy the feelings of contentment.
Mantra is a beautiful way to meditate. It can be a simple affirmation in your own language, or a phrase from the ancient Sanskrit language (a vibrational language commonly used by experienced meditators). An example of this is the mantra ‘Aham Prema’ which translates to ‘I am love’. Not only are we giving power to the affirmation, but the repetition allows the mind to softly focus on a single point.
While the term ‘mindfulness’ is now commonly dismissed as a buzz word, it simply means to ‘pay attention’. Instead of trying to stop wandering thoughts and distractions from entering your mind, observe which thoughts are arising with a sense of curiosity. Take this mindful awareness into your body, becoming aware of the moment and what is present in your mind, body and soul. Appreciate and embrace this level of self-awareness to bring a sense of calm to your meditation.
For a beginner meditator, I recommend starting with 5-10 minutes of focused practice a day. If one of these techniques doesn’t resonate with you, try another, and try again. While it won’t come naturally to everyone, the peace and clarity you find in small moments of calm will slowly begin to be easier to find and control.
Click here to join Lou West in a beginner, guided meditation class.
By clicking subscribe, you consent to 101 Collins and RISE by Studio PP sending you emails and using your information to provide updates, recent articles and other materials that may be of interest.