World Meditation Day, celebrated on Friday May 21st this year, is a day that focuses on bringing our attention inwards, realigning and restoring our minds and bodies, and taking a moment simply to enjoy a calm state of mind.
Life is pretty stressful as is, and we've all had enough suspense, and “unprecedented” change over the last year, so it’s about time we take a moment to consciously focus on ourselves and quiet the constant hustle and bustle in our minds.
Whether or not you’re an “expert” in meditation doesn’t matter, hopefully, you will join us in closing your eyes and creating space for mindfulness this Friday!
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a mindful practice that has been around for over 5,000 years, with origins rooted in India. Although certain religious and spiritual groups may have practised meditation over the last few thousand years, it’s only now that meditation is really coming into the more mainstream stage - it’s super exciting that so many people are practising this ancient mindfulness practice every day!
Although a lot of people tend to go off the assumption that meditation is about completely relaxing and not thinking of anything, it’s actually just about quieting the mind, becoming more conscious, and focusing on being actively engaged in a meditative state.
So, don’t panic, if you can’t seem to go to a place in your mind and think of nothing (who can do this?!) then meditation is still 100% possible and will be effective for you.
Benefits of Meditation
Apart from simply letting your mind decompress during a busy day, meditation (when done regularly) has a long list of benefits associated with it! Here’s just a few of them:
- Stress Reduction And Anxiety Control
- Promotes Self Awareness
- Increases Emotional Health
- May Reduce Blood Pressure
- Boosts Mood
- Reduces The Likelihood Of Depression
- Improves Memory And Focus
- May Reduce Inflammation And The Severity Of Chronic Illnesses
Different Types of Meditation
Meditation isn’t just about sitting on the ground in a lotus position (unless that’s what you want it to be!), there’s a vast range of meditation types out there, and mindfulness practices such as art and breath work can also be grouped into the meditation realm since they promote a meditative state.
However, let’s stick to more traditional types of meditation and run through some of the most commonly practised. My advice would be to give each one a try and see what works best for you!
Guided meditation is typically the most beginner-friendly type of meditation because you’re guided through the practice by someone that understands what it means to meditate and their voice means you’re not left alone with your own thoughts.
My favourite guided meditation teachers actually bring your focus back a few times during the practice to make sure you’re not off in a daydream, which is super helpful!
Silent meditation is pretty self-explanatory - you sit in silence and meditate. During a silent meditation, the mind may wander slightly around, but as long as you keep coming back to conscious thought, you’re all good!
Doing a silent meditation as part of a collective can be extremely powerful.
Doing a walking meditation is a great way to get some extra steps in and do your mindfulness practice out in the beauty of nature! You can either listen to a guided walking meditation, or simply focus on one sensation on your body, such as your breath, or the movement of your legs.
Try to do a walking meditation somewhere surrounded by nature, not high rises and concrete, if possible. And if you want some company, why not try BorrowMyDoggy to find a furry walking companion.
Concentrative meditation is a type of meditation that requires you to intently focus on one object or thought in particular. For example, you might focus on a petal for fifteen minutes, staring at every part of it, looking at the colour, feeling it, essentially fully analysing it.
This type of meditation can be super useful for those that feel like their mind wanders off if they’re not focusing on something in particular. For example, with Gong meditation, you're immersed in a sound bath that helps you focus the mind and calm the body with gong frequencies.
How Long Should You Meditate For?
There’s no wrong or right answer to this question, and that’s the beauty of meditating! You don’t have to meditate for any longer than 5 minutes if you don’t want to, or you could indulge in an hour plus! It’s completely up to you.
However, for beginners, 10-15 minutes is typically recommended to keep conscious thought, but you can spend more time meditating the more you get into it!
Where Can You Meditate?
You can meditate pretty much wherever you feel like it, but obviously not whilst driving, operating heavy machinery, etc, etc! However, you can meditate on your evening walk, on your lunch break, or in bed - it’s completely up to you!
Top tip: To have a perfect, safe, peaceful space to practice meditation, you may want to create a little nook in your home with some incense, some happy photos, plants a few nice cushions, and a nice rug.
Useful Apps To Help You Meditate
Although there is a tonne of meditation content online (especially on Youtube), but if you’re looking for some help with meditation through an app, I’d highly recommend checking out these platforms: Calm, Headspace, Mindshine, and Aura.
Get Ready To Zen
Pop some incense on, lower the lights, breathe deeply, and you’re ready to go!
You’re now fully prepared to close your eyes, find a moment of calm within yourself, restore your mind and body, and be mindful. Just remember, there’s no right or wrong way to meditate, as long as you are being consciously meditative.