Feeling a little stressed or overwhelmed? Take a minute to breathe and clear your head. Meditation helps increase mindfulness and can be practiced anywhere. Keep reading to learn more!
Meditation and yoga sometimes overlap. However, your body stays mostly still and moves very little when meditating. Similar to yoga, you also focus on your breathing. There are no right or wrong positions: you can sit with your legs crossed, lie down on your back or even stand if you wish. The goal is to be present without letting your mind wander, to be in the here and now. Sounds good? You can meditate during a break or a specific time you have chosen. You can also meditate while doing something else. More on that later!
A tip from Marine, one of our yoga product engineers: “You already dedicate a few minutes every morning and every night to brushing your teeth. Why not use this time for a mindfulness exercise as well? Start by setting an intention for your meditation, and try not to let your mind wander. That’s what meditation is really about. It’s entirely possible to reach a calm, peaceful state with a toothbrush in your mouth.” Ideally, you should set a specific time, or choose a specific task for your meditation practice.
Meditating has numerous benefits that can be felt throughout the day. “It’s better to meditate just 1-2 minutes every day than for one continuous hour once a week,” says Marine. That’s great news for you because 60 seconds is definitely easier to fit into a busy schedule than 60 minutes. “There’s no ideal amount of time to meditate. It’s up to you and how you feel. People can practice meditating for one minute, one hour, or a whole day depending on how they feel.”
When meditating, it’s easy to let your mind wander and start thinking about a million things. “Meditation should allow you to disconnect from daily life. It's a moment where time sits still. Meditation is a way to (re)connect with yourself, not a time to reflect on your life. At first, it may seem difficult to keep thoughts from distracting you. However, as time goes by it will become easier and you will be able to keep your mind focused. If your mind holds onto a thought, breathe and let it go. Focusing on your breathing is a great way to get into a state of mindfulness.”
How do you get into a meditative state? “If you’re just starting out, I suggest you find a space where you are alone in order to fully focus on your practice,” says Marine. “Choose a space that makes you feel good and safe, and don’t aim for a 15-minute meditation right away. It’s better to start with two minutes of sustained attention and start again the next day. It might be difficult to completely clear your mind and fully be in the present moment during your first sessions. However, with training, you’ll be more and more successful at clearing your mind and reaching a mindful state. Like most things, it’s a question of habit and exercise.” Give it a try! You have nothing to lose. “You could even fall asleep at first. If you live a very active lifestyle, your body might equate resting your mind with sleep. Meditation brings to light how you truly feel. If you’ve been ignoring how tired you are, especially by constantly being on the move, a meditative state might force you to acknowledge this tiredness. You will become fully aware of it.”
Marine explains that she began meditating a few weeks before her wedding when she had many things to coordinate and think about. “I didn’t know what I really wanted for my special day,” she explains. “Meditating helped me see more clearly and be more serene while organizing everything. I simply continued and never stopped meditating.” Meditation also has physical and biological benefits. Research shows that meditating regularly slows cell aging, reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure. For Marine, it’s a way of gaining clarity and perspective. “I meditate for 15 minutes every morning. Meditating has lasting benefits. It helps me get into a state of calm attentiveness and helps me prepare for my day. I can be serene and think clearly. Everything seems simpler and it helps me be Zen even when problems arise.”
Meditation can help you manage emotionally stressful situations. Take a few minutes to meditate before an important meeting or when trying to meet a big deadline. You will notice your body relaxes and your mind becomes more focused. Meditation can also help in any situation where you feel sad or stressed.
The benefits of meditation might not be felt immediately. “You won’t always feel it right after the first session,” says Marine. “You have to be patient, and keep practising regularly to reap the benefits.” Then, it’s up to you to find what works for you. Meditation can be rooted in mindfulness, and it can also be based on a mantra. “Most people rely on sound, music, or a series of repeated words to help their mental focus.” Meditation is, above all else, a way to care for yourself and realign your thoughts.
Wear comfortable clothes: When meditating for long periods of time, it’s important to be comfortable and warm.
Use a zafu or meditation bench: A zafu is a cushion designed especially for meditating. You can also sit on a meditation bench. The goal is to be as comfortable as you can.
How grounded do you feel? Plan to take several breaks every day to reconnect with yourself. Be in the present and let go of any stress. Create a peaceful moment for yourself. Already enjoy meditating? What are the benefits you’ve experienced? How often do you practice? Share your thoughts!