Meditating can be hard maaaan. IN FACT sitting still can be just as hard too. (Or even getting 30 seconds to yourself if you’re a mum.) You see my world changed forever the day I gave birth and all my hippy, wellness tendencies went out the window. Seriously I don’t think I wrote one wellness-y thing last year because I was too exhausted from chasing a toddler. (I was also pregnant AF.)
Fast forward to my second baby and right now I’m trying to real my hippy tendencies back in – mostly for my sanity. Plus, I’ve always been one of those people that proclaimed that ‘running was my meditation’ and ‘active meditation was my thing’. But apparently it’s not.
Speaking to Emily Snape, one of the amazing teachers at The Broad Place recently, she told me that while activities that connect us to our body and calm the mind are fantastic and should be incorporated into a healthy and balanced lifestyle…they won’t produce the same result as an effective technique of meditation.
“I believe there’s no need for tricky postures, bending your body into a pretzel like shape and trying to banish thoughts in order to meditate, however sitting calmly and comfortably, with eyes closed is necessary for meditation.”
ON THAT NOTE though, if you are in to active forms of meditation there’s no need to fret. Because there is a thing called ‘dynamic mediation’ that does actually exist. And it’s basically a practice that advocates movement rather than total stillness. It was created by Indian mystic and spiritual teacher Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who later became known as Osho.
Anyway ‘dynamic meditation’ seems to be a meditation thing for the modern times. Think ‘walking to clear your thoughts’, or those art colouring in books… that just randomly got popular all of a sudden?
(Side note: as someone who likes things to look a very particular way, those art books give me all the anxiety… LIKE THE COLOURS NEED TO BE PERFECT AND MATCH EVERYTHING. It’s way too much pressure – I do not recommend.)
But back to meditation, because since we now know that perhaps ‘active meditation’ doesn’t really count, In order to really squeeze some Zen back into our days we might actually have to work at the traditional ‘sitting still’ type of meditation too. Plus, at the moment everybody seems to be doing it. (Probably because we’re all stressed out).
Despite this though, meditation doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, Emily says that she likes to think of meditation as a particular technique, “that once properly learnt, provides space in between the busily thinking mind.”
“In this space our entire nervous system, mind and body relish in deep rest and repair.”
(And couldn’t we all do with a little more ‘deep rest and repair’ HA.)
Although sadly, Emily also adds that we have to practice it daily to get the best results.
“When you take the time to learn a new technique, it’s best to practice it daily. By doing so we’ll unlock all the unwanted negativity, stress and fatigue that is holding us back. We are actively making a choice that will lead to ongoing progressive change and bring us in reach of our personal optimum. The irony here is that by doing less, we achieve more. Which is an idea that we are so unfamiliar with in modern culture.”
SO with all that in mind could carving out 5-10 minutes to ourselves each day really be that hard? Research does suggest that we have 80-90,000 thoughts a day so quite possibly it might be nice to shoosh some of them down – EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU CAN’T. Because you totally can.
Plus Emily proclaims that “before learning to meditate, almost all of our students believe they can’t meditate due to their thoughts. But our thoughts are like our breath or our hearts beating, they’re part of life; and while we’re alive, we will continue to have thoughts. Which is why with the proper instruction anyone can be a successful meditator and gain all the benefits it has to offer!”
Which basically means anybody can do it. I for one know that I often can’t turn my mind off, even when I try to sit still. But that’s not the point. It’s the art of learning to sit still that’s the point.
Be one with yourself/the Universe/get in touch with our inner greenie etc…
(Plus with two kids I now use meditation as an excuse to palm them off to my husband, pop on a face mask and pretend I’m not ageing at lightning speed.)
SO in the spirit of re-kindling my wellness-y journey this year and quite possibly, yours, below are Emily’s top five meditation tips and tricks to help you meditate at home or at least think about carving out some time for yourself.
Emily Snape’s Top Five Meditation Tips and Tricks
Limit distraction – Don’t have your phone or other devices around while you’re meditating, or turn them to aeroplane mode, create a setting where there will be minimal distractions!
Comfort is key – Theres no need to sit in strenuous positions or wear certain clothes to have a successful meditation, sit with your back supported so that your body is free to dive deep.
Set your intention – Meditation is most powerful when you know why you are doing it, we don’t want to have any exceptions of how the mediation will play out but getting clear on what we would like to cultivate more of by taking the time to BE will enhance your experience.
Research – Theres so many techniques out there, and although all mediation is GREAT, its not all created equal, spend some time researching which technique resinates with you, there are guided mediations, breath work mediations, Mantra based meditation and so on.
No More Guilt! – We too often feel guilty for taking time for ourselves, especially with kids, partners, family and the demand of our careers putting ever increasing pressure on us too. However know that be filling up your own cup you much better equip yourself to manage these demands with grace, compassion and also greatly improve your productivity. Take time for you!!
Ps. during our chat Emily mentioned that at The Broad Place they teach a technique that requires minimal input for maximum output – which sounds like my type of jam. (However if you’re lucky enough to live in Sydney, I’d totally check them out.)
Tell me babez, do you meditate? How often? For how long? Spill the deets.