Bonnie bayley interviewed me on meditation for her next article and i thought some of you may benefit from the info....Start your meditation practice today!
*For people who struggle with traditional meditation (sitting still and attempting to still the mind) do they have to do this to get the benefits of meditation? No not all. This type of meditation is challenging for most of us. Most of us are not living in a cave or an ashram in India meditating and chanting all day(unfortunately!) So the most important thing is to not judge yourself for not being able to meditate this way. Because that judgement is steering you further away from the practice. Even if you are doing this type of meditation and feel like you are getting nowhere-it all makes a difference! However there are so many other forms of meditation which are easier for people to try.
*What are a few other mindfulness/mind-calming techniques you recommend that are as powerful as meditation? I was hoping you would ask this one! Sound Healing is powerful where we relax into powerful vibrational sounds of healing tools. ie. crystal bowls, tibetan bowls, flute, tuning forks etc. Listening to guided meditations can be a great way to start off if you are new to meditation or quite a visual person. Mantra meditation is so so powerful. Choose a mantra that resonates for you. Even if it is not sanskrit. Chant it either aloud or in your mind. It gives us something to focus on and eventually the mind will calm. Try this with your mala beads to reach the scared 108 times easily. If you are stuck with a mantra SOHUM is a great starter. It translates to “I am that I am.”
Yoga NIdras are AMAZING, and help to keep our focus and relax the body physically. Once the body is relaxed it is so much easier to let go of the mind. Pranayama-which are many powerful forms of yogic breathing. One that I love is mindful walking. Being present with each breath and step. Nada Yoga-the yoga of sound, where we listen to what is going on around us. Allowing us to attune our minds to the present and hear the orchestra of life around us without giving it any story. Mandala drawing. Remember how much you loved colouring in as a kid? When we colour in a mandala we are focusing on a scared geometric symbol which raises our vibration and also helps us in keeping present for the practice. There are so many more. Get creative! Sometimes we are meditating without knowing it. I know all the girlfriends of surfers will hate this one, but when surfers are out on waves the experience they describe of being present with mother nature and in flow, and the mind feeling calm-that is meditation. Sometimes when my boyfriend is agitated-I tell him to just get out in the ocean and all will be ok....
*Why is it so important to find a meditative technique we actually enjoy? So we do it! And everyone is going to resonate differently with a different practice. Try them all! When I teach my intro to meditation workshops, I introduce clients to at least 6 different types. Not talking about them but giving them a direct experience. Every personality will feel a practice differently. Reflect... are you a visual person? Kinesthetic? Audible? How do you normally like to learn? This will guide you in the right direction….
*Once someone has found a meditative practice they enjoy, how often should they practice it and for how long? Start slowly so you do not push yourself and then just give up because it all seems too much. Try a little bit each day. Build up every week by 5 minutes until you reach 20-30 minutes in the morning or evening-or ideally both! Research shows that it takes 40 days to integrate a new habit… so stick with the discipline. In ashrams, the swamis(vedic monks) always say that the hardest part is sticking to the practice, and keeping our mind disciplined. This is what they call the “tapas.” It is also important to listen to what is right for us in our lives. If your excuse is “I am too tired”, just remember that the more we meditate the less we need to sleep. Namaste!