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Meditation in Nature
Local
Published Wednesday May 22, 2019 by Lydia Cardona

6 Meditation Myths, Busted

Meditation
Personal Growth

With the stresses and strains of everyday life, finding time to unwind can seem almost impossible. In fact, the Wellness Index from Mindbody found that downtime takes a back seat for many of us— with the UK getting fewer than nine hours of headspace per week and one in five people stating that they are “not content” with the state of their current mental health.

“While we might feel that we don’t have time to meditate (or we’re intimidated because we don’t know how), the reality is that everyone can find some time for mindfulness through meditation,” says Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing. “What’s more, it’s not all about mantras, lotus positions and long periods of concentration—it can be super simple and there’s a style that can work for anyone. “
 
We've put together a no-nonsense, myth-busting meditation guide for first-timers!

Meditation comes in many forms.

Any activity that gets you to focus and allows the subconscious to let go can be meditative, like colouring, drawing, or even cooking! Illustrator and keen yogi Kate Phillipson launched Yoga Life Drawing to fuse her two passions: yoga and art.  She explains that drawing, like yoga, is a moving meditation and a great way to unlock creativity. Try tapping into this type of meditation with Kate, who will be hosting Yoga Life Drawing workshops this month!

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Meditation comes in many forms.

Any activity that gets you to focus and allows the subconscious to let go can be meditative, like colouring, drawing, or even cooking! Illustrator and keen yogi Kate Phillipson launched Yoga Life Drawing to fuse her two passions: yoga and art.  She explains that drawing, like yoga, is a moving meditation and a great way to unlock creativity. Try tapping into this type of meditation with Kate, who will be hosting Yoga Life Drawing workshops this month!

You don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position.

Meditation is about being comfortable, so if this means you are most relaxed propped up or sat on a cushion, then so be it. The traditional cross-legged Lotus Position is considered the best pose for meditation, as it places all the primary Chakra energy centres in alignment, making spiritual perception and operation easier. However, it isn’t a necessary meditative position and isn’t accessible to everyone (it requires open hips and a lot of practice). So, instead of battling with this particular pose, find peace in a comfier position and make use of tools, like a yoga block, blanket, or meditation cushion.

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You don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position.

Meditation is about being comfortable, so if this means you are most relaxed propped up or sat on a cushion, then so be it. The traditional cross-legged Lotus Position is considered the best pose for meditation, as it places all the primary Chakra energy centres in alignment, making spiritual perception and operation easier. However, it isn’t a necessary meditative position and isn’t accessible to everyone (it requires open hips and a lot of practice). So, instead of battling with this particular pose, find peace in a comfier position and make use of tools, like a yoga block, blanket, or meditation cushion.

Meditation doesn’t have to take years of dedicated practise.

Meditation isn’t about achieving total perfection. Like anything, regular practise helps you to improve and means you’ll learn more, but the benefits of meditation can be almost immediate. A study led by Harvard University found that as little as eight weeks of meditation helped people experience decreased anxiety and improved stress regulation. With Mindbody’s Wellness Index revealing that 24% of U.K. adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious daily, research like this is promising.

“At the end of every day take five minutes to reflect, think about the day and what made you happy; whether it was a beautiful sunrise, a great workout, or dinner with your family,” says Catie Miller, founder of Xtend Barre. “ Remember those things and be grateful for them.”

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Meditation doesn’t have to take years of dedicated practise.

Meditation isn’t about achieving total perfection. Like anything, regular practise helps you to improve and means you’ll learn more, but the benefits of meditation can be almost immediate. A study led by Harvard University found that as little as eight weeks of meditation helped people experience decreased anxiety and improved stress regulation. With Mindbody’s Wellness Index revealing that 24% of U.K. adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious daily, research like this is promising.

“At the end of every day take five minutes to reflect, think about the day and what made you happy; whether it was a beautiful sunrise, a great workout, or dinner with your family,” says Catie Miller, founder of Xtend Barre. “ Remember those things and be grateful for them.”

You can meditate anywhere.

It’s a common misconception that you need to create a sacred and special environment to meditate effectively. Whether it’s at your desk, in the supermarket or on the tube, you can observe and focus on the breath to feel the immediate effects of meditation anywhere. Whilst it’s best to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment, if you feel your emotions start to get on top of you, pay attention to your breathing for five minutes and focus on it entering and leaving your body.

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You can meditate anywhere.

It’s a common misconception that you need to create a sacred and special environment to meditate effectively. Whether it’s at your desk, in the supermarket or on the tube, you can observe and focus on the breath to feel the immediate effects of meditation anywhere. Whilst it’s best to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment, if you feel your emotions start to get on top of you, pay attention to your breathing for five minutes and focus on it entering and leaving your body.

You don’t have to ban distractions—including technology—when you practise.

Many apps and online programs have actually helped bring meditation into the mainstream; technology like Muse and apps such as Headspace have guided users through focused meditation and can be a practical way to find your zen. If you find you are distracted by something in the room, don’t rush to block it out. Simply acknowledge the distraction before bringing your attention back to the breath. If you try and eliminate every single thought that pops into your head, you’ll just end up frustrated.

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You don’t have to ban distractions—including technology—when you practise.

Many apps and online programs have actually helped bring meditation into the mainstream; technology like Muse and apps such as Headspace have guided users through focused meditation and can be a practical way to find your zen. If you find you are distracted by something in the room, don’t rush to block it out. Simply acknowledge the distraction before bringing your attention back to the breath. If you try and eliminate every single thought that pops into your head, you’ll just end up frustrated.

If you think you don’t have time to meditate, think again!

With common benefits including improved concentration and decreased blood pressure, meditation is definitely worth your time—as limited as it may be. Even just five minutes in the morning can be enough to set you up for a more productive and positive day. Focusing on the present moment also means that you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, so you can focus on the ‘right now’ and make the most of your day.

“I make time to move and have a daily yoga practise. Even if it’s just five minutes of sun salutations on a hotel room floor at 5 am before a busy day,”  says Leon Taylor, yoga teacher, mentor, and Olympic medallist. “Keeping my morning routine consistent keeps me grounded when things are busy and challenging.”

Want to dive deeper into your practice? Download the Mindbody app to explore meditation classes near you! 

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If you think you don’t have time to meditate, think again!

With common benefits including improved concentration and decreased blood pressure, meditation is definitely worth your time—as limited as it may be. Even just five minutes in the morning can be enough to set you up for a more productive and positive day. Focusing on the present moment also means that you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, so you can focus on the ‘right now’ and make the most of your day.

“I make time to move and have a daily yoga practise. Even if it’s just five minutes of sun salutations on a hotel room floor at 5 am before a busy day,”  says Leon Taylor, yoga teacher, mentor, and Olympic medallist. “Keeping my morning routine consistent keeps me grounded when things are busy and challenging.”

Want to dive deeper into your practice? Download the Mindbody app to explore meditation classes near you! 

Lydia Cardona
Written by
Lydia Cardona
PR and Content Specialist, EMEA Marketing
About the author
A self-confessed exercise and sports junkie, Lydia made the transition from fashion to wellness, handling media relations in the U.K. In her spare time, you'll most likely find her hitting up a MINDBODY studio, shopping for houseplants, or walking the family Pomchi.
shanila sattar
Wellness
Published Wednesday Mar 17, 2021 by Shanila Sattar

Foundational Steps to Cultivating a Daily Self-love Practice

Self-care
Expert Advice
Personal Growth
Wellness

When you think of self-love what do you think of? Bubble baths, walks on the beach, facemasks, or what? Self-love can mean so many different things but when we think about self-love, we have to acknowledge loving ourselves both on the outside and on the inside. The way that we show ourselves love is one of the most important things we will ever do. 

How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love?

As self-love defines and redefined itself for you over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.

 

Step 1: Learn to set boundaries

Don’t we love this one? Loving ourselves has a lot to do with the boundaries that we have for ourselves, with others, and for others. Take time to think about your own emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs when setting boundaries that reflect your personal needs. Boundaries don’t have to be big and scary; they are here to remind us that you get to have your lived experience and still have expectations about how you’d like to be treated and what you’d like to feel.

When thinking about your boundaries, ask yourself:

  • How do I feel without having boundaries?
  • What would I like to have boundaries around?
  • Are my boundaries actual boundaries or am I creating walls in my life?
  • How do I plan to uphold my boundaries?
Step 2: Cultivate self-compassion

In a world where perfectionism and curated existences have been rewarded, begin to cultivate compassion for yourself. You are a soul having a human experience and it’s totally okay if things are not perfect. 

Mindfulness exercises such as Breathwork, self-care activities, and self-compassion, all help train the mind, emotions, and even the body’s stress chemicals to be able to deal with undesired situations. Self-compassion means, can you be nice to yourself? Can you find empathy and kindness for yourself in the middle of what feels chaotic, stressful, or unwanted? Self-compassion means that we get to make mistakes, have our plans not work out the way that we wanted, and we still get to celebrate that we are doing the best that we can and it is enough.

When thinking about self-compassion, ask yourself:

  • How do I respond to stressful situations?
  • How hard am I on myself?
  • How do I celebrate myself?
  • How do I show myself kindness?
Step 3: Nourish yourself

In every sense of the word “nourishment”, begin to learn what nourishes you and what depletes you. Nourishment doesn’t just mean food for yourself; it means that whatever you are consuming whether it be media, podcasts, people, energy, information, etc. all impact the way that we think, feel, and experience life.

Nourishing yourself definitely goes right along the lines of having your boundaries intact and practicing self-compassion. 

When thinking about nourishment, ask yourself:

  • How do I nourish my emotional well-being?
  • How do I nourish my mental well-being?
  • How do I nourish my physical well-being?
  • How do I nourish my spiritual well-being?
  • How do I nourish my social well-being?
  • How do I nourish my financial well-being?

That’s it. Those are the foundational steps to cultivating a self-love practice that you can ease into your daily routine. Come back to these questions often, because like anything else, self-love is a practice and it takes effort, time, and intention to maintain. 

If you’d like to try breathwork, mindfulness, or play classes with me, check out these workshops and training sessions that work with your schedule. For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody.

 

About the author
Shanila is a 4th generation sound healer, breathwork coach, mentor, women’s researcher, and speaker. She is the Founder of AlwaysPlayStudios where she trains breathwork facilitators and sound healers. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout the US. Shanila mentors healers on their healing and intuitive wellness journeys. Connect: @shanila.sattar