Do you love yoga, but find you stick mainly to postures and a bit of relaxation? If the answer is yes, you might want to think about adding meditation to your practice.
It’s not unusual to feel apprehensive about meditation. For the first 3 years of my yoga life, I was only interested in postures. Why? Because they made me feel damn good! Plus, I was intimidated by the idea of trying to calm my erratic and super busy mind, and assumed meditation wasn’t for the likes of me. Thankfully, times have changed.
Here’s the deal. Meditation can literally change your life.
If you feel you need a little nudge in the direction of your internal world, then check out these 7 reasons why you should start meditating.
1. It’s Easier Than You Think
Meditation doesn’t have to be challenging and you really don’t have to sit in perfect stillness for hours on end to get the benefits. Working with a technique that gives your mind something to focus on is easier than just sitting down and expecting the mind to switch off completely. You don't need any props or gear. As long as your clothes are comfortable you're good. Also, you can meditate pretty much anywhere (like meditation expert Gabrielle Bernstein on our title photo).
2. Get To Know Your Thoughts
Our thoughts can have a huge impact on our reality so it pays to be aware of what and how you are thinking! Everyone has a unique mind that turns and works in its own way and getting to know your mental patterns can be achieved through meditation. Your self-awareness can reach a whole new level, which can have a big impact on how you respond to situations and other people in daily life.
3. Stop Focusing On The Size Of Your Ass (And Other Irrelevant Things)
The whole idea of meditation is to find a place of pure awareness that is unaffected by anything, especially disturbances within the mind. When you experience meditation, the fears and anxieties of the lower mind drop away and you get to a place where you no longer care what your ass looks like in your stretchy pants. The attachment to (or obsession with) the physical world doesn’t exist in deep meditation, so for anyone with body image issues, it’s a welcome respite!
4. Survive On Less Sleep
In meditation, the alpha brain waves are dominant which are the same brain waves that we experience when we first drift off to sleep. Alpha waves are deeply rejuvenating, so any practice that keeps us in this state is as good as a dose of sleep! There goes the excuse for not getting up early to meditate…..
We can’t avoid stress, it comes with the territory of living in the 21st century, but thankfully, we can reduce the impact it has on us. The deep relaxation we experience in meditation is a great way to offset and release stress, and as we practice staying detached from our thoughts, we are preparing ourselves to be detached from – and therefore less affected by - future stressful events.
6. Improve Your Overall Wellbeing
The combination of meditation with postures can be a golden ticket to holistic health. In the same way postures can keep the physical body flexible and strong, meditation can keep the mind flexible and strong. As we release mental and emotional tensions from our mind we also release tension from our body therefore helping us feel great on every level.
7. Be Guided By Your Intuition
Intuition is the higher aspect of mind that has the potential to lead us in the direction of our dreams, if we listen to it. Unfortunately most of us spend more time tuned into thoughts about weight gain, bills and whether we are meditating properly! The more you practice meditation, the easier it is to still those distracting thoughts and create space for magic to happen. Your intuition can be quite active after meditation so it’s a great time to tap into some rich internal clarity and insight.
A lot of people ask me whether meditation should come at the start or the end of class. Traditionally it comes at the end (it’s actually number 7 on Patanjali’s 8 fold path of yoga.) however a short meditation at the start of a class or practice can also be a great way of settling and focusing the mind. Basically meditation is good for you no matter when you do it!
Have I missed any reasons why we should meditate?