Meditation apparently reduces stress. I am, however, the least mindful, grounded person I know so it’s never really appealed to me. Sitting still for 5 minutes whilst awake is unusual – I get bored and cold in the laying down at the end bit of yoga!
But it’s good to try things before judging- otherwise you can’t really say they aren’t for you. So I decided to commit to trying to meditate every day this week, with an open mind to see what happened:
I was about to go to bed when I realised I hadn’t tried to mediate – almost a day 1 fail! But from what I’ve read even 1 minute can be a good place to start so I searched You Tube for some beginners 1 minute meditations, lied down closed my eyes a tried to focus only on their voice. As much as I tried to clear my brain and focus on breathing, even for just 60 seconds, all my brain could think was how much the voice sounded like Hugh Dennis from Mock The Week. Feeling like this probably wasn’t what should be going through my mind I found another 1 minute meditation with no speaking, settled down and tried again. When focused on nothing other than being and breathing and trying not to think it’s suprising how long 60 seconds can feel. By the time the bell went to signal the end of the minute I did feel like my breathing had slowed my body had relaxed a little and I fell asleep quite easily.
Today I tried Mountain Pose. This is supposed to improve posture and balance as well as calming the mind and improving focus. Essentially, you scoop your hands overhead and bring them together standing tall. I just did this slowly about eight times, with my eyes closed and reaching as high as I could, holding the pose for a few seconds each time before bed. Strangely calming, yet very easy to do, I can see why people say meditation is good for you and actually doesn’t take as long as you imagine to get some benefit from it.
Mountain Post- Image taken from Google Search for illustration only – I did this in my bedroom in my pyjamas, not by the sea, and didn’t look anything like this!
Tuesday hadn’t been a great day and I went into Wednesday in a bad mood. I had a busy day leaving the house at 6 am and knowing I wouldn’t get home until around 9 pm. I was teaching the new Body Combat for the first time by myself and so was a bit stressed. Knowing that finding time to be still might be hard but also knowing that some form of mindfulness might help I decided (after a morning of mini internal tantrums) to try and look for the positive in things. This isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re in a bad mood and I definitely didn’t manage it at every point throughout the day but attempting to put a positive spin on frustrating events did help relax me and put perspective on the things I was getting myself upset about. This is something I’ve realised I should make an effort to do every day as it does help relax you even if it isn’t always easy to do. Warning- I suspect continuously doing this makes you one of those annoying people who is always smiling (but then I’m sure there is something positive to be found in that too!).
Having found a book on Mindfullness exercises on my bookcase at home (no idea why I have this!) today i tried Cat pose for a few minutes upon waking up. This felt like a nice gentle stretch and was quick and easy to do whilst also being calming. I’m starting to see how taking a couple of minutes a day to just be still can be benifical to your mindset.
Having a bit more time today I tried another exercise from my book – a full body scan. This involved laying down still and quiet and relaxing my body. Then focusing on the feeeling in my toes, relaxing the rest of the body and just thinking about my toes. Then moving on to my calfs, then thighs and so on, slowly moving up my body, body part by body part. This took quite some time so by the end of it I felt relaxed and chilled out. Not something I would have the patience to do everyday but it was a good way of calming the mind and body.
This afternoon I spent 5 minutes just sitting and focusing on my breathing. As time went on my breathing slowed and became deeper and my body relaxed and my mind felt calm. It doesn’t have to be complicated to calm the body.
Today I covered a HIIT and Body Pump class and there was a Pilates class afterwards so i decided to stay. I know Pilates isn’t meditation but its the sort of class I struggle with because it’s slow and controlled and my mind wanders. I tried to spend the hour focusing on the movements keeping them slow and deliberate and not thinking beyond what i was doing in the moment.
My takeout from the week. Even just one minute a day of just sittting or lying still and focusing on breathing or streching and not letting your mibd race can have a dramatic effect on your mind and your stress levels. I’m relatively sure you will never see me becoming a meditation guru but I am going to make more of an effort to take a few minutes each day to just be.