28 Nov 2014

Life Update #4: The Wonders of Meditation

Earlier this evening I had my final meditation class. If you recall from my earlier posts, I had signed up for a 4 week meditation course where I come in to the studio for an hour on Fridays (for four Fridays) to be taught various meditation practices and stretches to prepare oneself for 10, 20, or 30 minutes of meditation. I'm someone who is very anxious and filled with worry and those feelings easily consume me and I wanted to be able to calm myself down, control it, and at the very least prevent those feelings from arising in the first place. Meditation can be used for study (to improve memory recall and increase information absorption/retention), stress management, self-enhancement, and problem solving. 

One practice that I found most beneficial was using sound as an anchor for your thoughts. This involved being seated comfortably (but not in a way that you're going to easily fall asleep; you want to be aware) and picking out any sound that you hear. The aim is to simply acknowledge that the sound is present; you don't want to analyse it at all. After a minute or so of this, return to your breath and focus on your breathing… don't try and listen out for those sounds in this period. Repeat this cycle for 5-10 minutes. I was told that this practice taught detachment by being able to remove yourself from something and place yourself in another situation. This has helped immensely in my personal life, and if you're someone who tends to dwell on negative thoughts, I think that this is something you could benefit from. 

Another practice also involved sounds (I seriously loved the practices involving sounds). My instructor had us with our backs facing her and she used instruments to create a cacophony of somewhat soothing sounds with a metal bowl, Chinese meridian balls (a.k.a Baoding balls), a marble, and a wooden stick. Again, the aim is to just focus on the sounds and not what is making them. It's pretty tough not to think "I wonder how she's making those sounds" but that's the trick! 

This last practice was done lying down and was focused more on conscious breathing. We counted down from 20 (reducing the number after each complete breath) but if our mind wandered even for a little bit, we had to return to 20 and start the countdown again. This was great training for keeping the mind clear as you find that you're reluctant to go back to the beginning and start all over. As my instructor said, eventually your mind will be trained into thinking that it takes less effort for your mind to stay clear for 10-15 minutes than it is for it to flit in and out of quietness. 

At the end of each class, we sat for a period of time where we just emptied our minds and focused on our breath. It was truly quiet time, where there were no prompts or anything. This is when the practices I mentioned earlier come in handy because they help train your mind to be still and be silent. Meditation is all about training the mind and this is not something that comes easily. 

A few tips for when you meditate:
- Lie down on a yoga mat if you want to do your practice lying down. If you use your bed, there's a high chance of you falling asleep

- Sit on blankets or a bolster (the purple pillow in the photo). This helps tilt the pelvis forward which helps to straighten your spine when sitting. You can purchase a bolster on the YogaKing website if you're in Australia (I purchased mine from my local yoga studio)

- Be sure to support anything that feels uncomfortable when doing your sitting meditation practice. You don't want to be distracted by aching ankles!

- An eye pillow filled with lavender is a lovely (but not necessary) addition for when you do choose to lie down. Mine is made with a silk cover and the insides are filled with mung beans and dried lavender. 

There are multiple books on the internet to help with meditation and I suggest you go check them out! Happy meditating! 


  1. I love meditating! I started practising it with my mom (she does a lot of yoga and meditation) and ended up falling in love with it along the way :) these are great tips!
    The Caramel Cat

    1. That's great! It was my mom as well who encouraged me to try yoga and meditation. It's such a lovely thing to partake in. Glad you liked the post!


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