If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of both our physical and mental wellbeing. Looking after your mental health can come in many shapes and forms and one way you may try and de-stress is with meditation. ‘Meditating’ doesn’t have to involve sitting in a dark room with your legs crossed humming to yourself, although that probably would feel pretty awesome once you’re a pro. As it’s World Meditation Day, what better time to walk you through my meditation journey so far from by zen podcasts through to the incredible power of sound baths.
When should I meditate?
For me, personally I found it more suitable to complete before bed, as I wind down from the day’s activities. In the morning, I’m a bound out of bed kind of person and I’m always keen to simply get on with the day, but I can see how some meditation in the morning could also set you up to have a positive mindset for the day ahead.
This is rule number one when it comes to meditation, simply slowing down and concentrating on your breathing. Even if you do it right now, while reading this, you will notice you begin to feel calmer already. It’s amazing what our breath can do!
There are now so many apps dedicated to mindfulness and meditation that you’ll be spoilt for choice. The frontrunners are Headspace and Calm which are both fun introductions into the world of meditation. Both apps allow you to completely tailor your experience to suit what you need – e.g better sleep, focus or relaxation. I found that the free versions are okay for newbies who just want a taster, but you’ll probably want to upgrade to paid if you get really into it.
With podcasts, you’ll either find guided meditations which talk you through the relaxation process or talkshow-style ones which discuss different mindfulness tips. I tried The Daily Meditation Podcast and it includes sessions that last anything from 5-30+ minutes. I selected one at random but then quickly learnt that they were supposed to be completed in sequence as the narrator was referring to ‘yesterday’. However, I was still able to take on the information and partake in the short breathing exercise and I found it to be really philosophical and insightful.
This is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to meditate. I’ve been to a few actual sound baths in studios (you can read one of my reviews here), but during lockdown I experienced my first virtual sound bath. The re:mind studio hosted an Instagram Live with Women’s Health and I tuned in. I made sure the ambience was right with candles and incense and then I led on my bed under a snuggly blanket and listened to the incredible sounds through my headphones. Honestly, just try it – you’ll be amazed!
As crazy as this may sound, for me, things like running and gym classes are a form of meditation. By that, I mean that for the 30-60 minutes I’m working out, I’m concentrating on what my body is doing rather than my daily stresses and struggles. It also allows me to feel way more present, observing how muscles feel during a yoga class or what the world around me looks like while out on a run.
I think, as with most things, you have to find what works for you and then you will truly be zen. Well, for a few minutes at least, until your next Zoom call!