The Journey to Inner Peace: How to Start a Mediation Practice TODAY
Another trendy buzz word these days in the health and wellness community, but even the famous like Jim Carey and Bradley Cooper are swearing that it’s been a big part of their path to success… Mediation. You can access it at any time and any place. Whether you’re sitting, standing or walking it’s possible to get into that zone and find your inner peace. Gone are the days where only Monks and Yogis are practicing this method, meditation is for anyone. In 2019, while we are bombarded by more distraction and stimulation than ever, it’s climbing the priority later in most people’s daily itineraries. But, how and why? Meditation, like many different skills, requires disciplined practice. To truly get the benefits, carving out 5-10 minutes daily is the first step. The mind, like the rest of the muscles in our body, needs the training to get stronger. Meditation is like a treadmill for the mind. It conditions us to get out of our thoughts, shift our beliefs and make choices from a clear and collected state of mind. It’s no surprise that many apps like Calm and Headspace are becoming more popular. Meditation gyms are popping up all around Toronto, consumers want more accessible places to practice it. At first, it seems like the hardest thing to do. This is the point where most people give up. Practice. Practice. Practice. You still might be wondering, well…Why? Physiologically, meditation reduces the stress-hormone cortisol. With less cortisol production comes a decrease in inflammation, stress-related conditions and better sleep, among other benefits. Meditation can help you become more self-aware and help you understand yourself and how you relate to others. When you are aware of your thoughts, not only can you change them, but you can explore how they can be harmful to you and redirect them into more positive patterns. Other benefits include reduction in age-related memory-loss, lengthening attention span, controlling anxiety, better emotional responses, fight addictions, and decreasing blood pressure. It is the best form of mental conditioning that is free and available any time, anywhere.
Here’s how you can start today:
1. Choose 5-10 minutes of your day for your practice. Upon waking up or before bed are great choices. Make the timing one you can stick to every day.
2. Find a quiet space where you can sit or lay down. Make sure your spine is straight.
3. Close your eyes, tune into the sound of your breathing.
4. Follow the breath from the nostrils, to the back of the throat, to the belly.
5. Observe the breath, notice the natural pauses between inhales and exhales. Observe the feelings or sensations, is it cool or warm?
6. Stay with it, when thoughts arise return back to it. Let the thoughts be seen but do not become consumed in them. Let them float away as if they are clouds and return to the breath. Keep focused on simply the observation of breathing.
7. Practice this once a day for a week.
8. Take a record of how you felt before and after the practice.
Thorpe, Matthew. 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation, Healthline, 2017.