Step on the path to peace with meditation

Zen frog: learn to meditate in Eastleigh, HampshireHead space. Clarity. Connection. Me-time away from the busy world (both real and online).

Tapping into a deep well of inner peace, content, strength and joy that is always there within me.

These are some of the reasons I meditate daily.

Sound inviting?  Would you like some peace, clarity and calm in your life too?

Then it’s time to learn to meditate.

Why you DON’T want to meditate

Meditation will help you create head space; help you to feel focused and clear and calm.

But…  Let’s be honest, meditation comes with a lot of baggage that can put us off trying. It can be seen as something woo-woo, something mystical or hippy.  A tune-in-drop-out kind of vibe.

Here a few common obstacles to meditation:

#1 Don’t you need to be able to sit for hours on end cross-legged on the floor to meditate?

Sorry, no excuse lovely, you don’t need to! Sit on a chair – just make sure you’re comfortable upright otherwise you might end up snuggling down into your cushions and having a nap!  Nowt wrong with that but it’s not meditation!

And even five minutes a day will yield wonderful benefits.

#2 “I’d love to but really, you’re asking me to put something else onto my to-do list?! I haven’t got the time!”

Well, I’ve found that sitting, standing or walking in meditation for a few minutes each day has the curious but wonderful side-effect of shifting your perspective to make the to-do list seem less of a millstone around your neck.

#3 “My mind is too full, there’s no way I’m ever going to shut it up and clear my mind completely.”

No problem! That’s not the goal of meditation. It’s more about finding peace WITH your mind.

Meditation doesn’t have to be mysterious or hard work.  You don’t have to drop out of society to do it; you don’t have to sit in the lotus position and it’s not about shutting up your mind and stopping your thoughts.

So now we’ve cleared out a few obstacles let’s look at why it’s so valuable to meditate.

Why you DO want to meditate

Meditation classes in Southampton and Eastleigh - mindfulness, calm and relaxation
Meditation doesn’t have to be mysterious or hard work. Let it be joyful and easy!

Meditation helps us find peace with our mind. Our busy, chattering monkey, constantly whirring mind.

But remember, it’s natural for the mind to wander – that’s what it’s been doing your whole life!  So don’t beat yourself up if it seems louder when you stop to meditate.

The mind LOVES to wander. It goes into reveries about the past. It frets about the future. It’s constantly wanting or not wanting.  Pulling you towards craving and wanting some things, and pushing you away from others.

But gosh, that’s so tiring isn’t it?

Have a guess how many thoughts the average person thinks a day? A few hundred? A few thousand?

No, it’s between 50 and 70 thousand thoughts. I’ll repeat that. Between 50-70,00 thoughts a day. That’s between 35 and 48 thoughts a minute.

No wonder we’re so knackered! That takes up a mighty lot of brain power – and powering the brain is where 20% of our energy goes.

And what is slightly tragic-comical is that researchers have found that about 98% of those are the same thoughts we had yesterday.

But more seriously, about 80% of our thoughts are negative. We’re back to the judging mind. Wanting / not wanting. Judging ourselves. Criticizing others.

Phew, surely anything which can give us a break from all that is worth trying?

Hello meditation!

Why it’s great to meditate

Louts Flower: find calm with meditation
Become aware of the simple pleasures & beauties which surround us

People have been meditating for thousands of years.

But in more recent times humans have decided they need evidence to prove stuff before they try it!

Research has shown that regular meditation reduces stress and anxiety; improves focus; and enhances creativity.

Meditation actually changes the brain – reducing the sensitivity of the part of the brain which is responsible for the fight/flight/freezes response so we’re less responsive to stressful stimuli.

On top of these physical and emotional benefits, mediation helps us to slow down and reconnect to what is in front of us.

We become more present. We notice simple pleasures. We’re present with our loves ones. We begin to occupy the now.

Convinced yet?!

Try meditation now

The simplest way to meditate is to focus on the breath.

“Whenever your mind become scattered, use your breath to take hold of your mind again” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

So, try this Mindfulness Breath now.

  1. Sit comfortably, spine upright but relaxed. Close your eyes or lower your gaze.
  2. Let your awareness rest at the top of your nose. Feel the air flowing in and out… The cool in-breath, the warmer out-breath.
  3. Feel the sensation of the air as it flows into your body… and up and out again.
  4. Let the breath be natural and easy and flowing… Relax the belly… Soften the shoulders.
  5. If your mind wanders silently count the breath: Breathe in 1 – Breathe out 1: Breathe in 2 – Breathe out 2 and so on.
  6. And keep going for a few minutes at least.

OR listen to this:

Watch the breath meditation – mp3 file – around 6 minutes. Yes, you DO have time 😉

How do you feel now?

Maybe sleepy, maybe more present, maybe peaceful?

I’ve been meditating daily now for about 2 years – sometimes 5 minutes a day sometimes 45 (usually somewhere in between!)

And I’ve truly noticed that I’ve become calmer and more present. I appreciate simple pleasures.

I’m {usually} less reactive: I see my mind spinning its yarns and telling its stories so I’m less likely to get stuck in the downward spiral of stress and anxiety and self-judgement and criticism.

So remember, you don’t have to sit for ages. Commit to 5 minutes a day of meditation and see how you feel. Show yourself some loving kindness and compassion.

Meditation truly is the path to inner peace. Take your first step.

Want to learn more?

Meditation in HampshireLearn how to get meditating at my  Calm Space: An Introduction to Meditation workshop.

Saturday 15 October 2016 | 2-5pm | £30
Woodpecker Hall at Pavilion on the Park, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO50 9LH

Find out more |  Book online via my secure online booking page for all of my events – select the workshop and follow the instructions to complete your booking.


What next?

I’m currently developing a 6 weeks to Mindfulness for Peace & Clarity course, so keep in touch to hear about it when enrolment opens later this year.

Also…

Weekly yoga classes:  press pause in your busy week with mindful movement, breathing and relaxation with weekly Dru Yoga classes in Southampton, and Bishopstoke (near Eastleigh).

Monthly Friday night Relaxation Classes: Release, Relax, Restore once a month and Calm Friday once a month, both in Eastleigh. Treat yourself to blissfully relaxing experiences; make time just for you to nourish your mind, body and soul.

Yoga workshops & events: give yourself the time and space to breathe, open, relax and let go with yoga, relaxation, mindfulness and meditation.

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{Zen Frog photo credit: AlaBlu – Zanone Federico via Foter.com / CC BY-SA}
{Lotus flower photo credit: Me, Stella Tomlinson}

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