When you surround yourself (in real life and on social media/online) with inspiring, uplifting, conscious people and regularly listen to wellness podcasts it’s only natural that meditation is a practice you hear of frequently. As someone who doesn’t (yet) have a meditation practice, I feel like I’m in the minority these days and I’m being called to jump on that spiritual bandwagon.
Meditation is something I have been promising myself I’d try for so long. I never really knew where to start though and I felt quite intimidated by the prospect of just sitting in silence with my thoughts/trying to clear my mind. I’ve had several meditation apps downloaded onto my phone for longer than I care to admit and every day I tell myself I will dedicate some time to trying it. However months go by and I’ve yet to even open any of them.
I also read the book: 10% Happier by Dan Harris (which is primarily about meditation) and began listening to his podcast of the same name. As soon as I’d finished reading, I felt inspired and vowed to try it for myself yet somehow it just never happened. C’est la vie!
Enter my beautiful friend Lynsey (Shine Therapies Scotland). When I found out she was co-hosting a ‘Self-care Saturday’ retreat in the countryside where she’d be leading a guided meditation, I knew I had to sign myself up.
This event took place yesterday and just like that, your girl has now dipped her toe into the waters of meditation. Road to enlightenment, here I come. Only kidding! But it sincerely was lovely to try it out and to have a familiar (and super soothing) voice guiding me. I also sampled some other wellness practices including mindfulness/walking meditation, Qi Qong, hara breathing and learnt a bit about Traditional Chinese Medicine and shiatsu acupressure points. Then we all had a delicious vegan lunch in the sunshine. It was a lovely day and I left feeling very zen and calm.
I’ll be honest about my first meditation experience though. The mindfulness/walking meditation felt easy and came naturally but the guided meditation was a bit more challenging for me. The session lasted around half an hour (I think) and I did find that rather intense for my first time. Perhaps I should have prepared myself by doing a few shorter guided meditations beforehand. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Surprisingly, I was able to calm the chatter in my mind in terms of thoughts relating to life in general (work/responsibilities/what I’m going to have for dinner etc) but I wasn’t able to distance myself from thoughts pertaining to my physical self and my body (my eye was itchy, my arms felt cold, I wasn’t comfortable in my position etc) and so I was constantly fidgeting. The more I ruminated on these thoughts, the more they invaded my mind and the louder they got. I struggled to let them pass and found myself preoccupied with them. I also found it difficult to keep my eyes closed for so long whilst in a seated position. That just felt really alien and unnatural to me. In hindsight, I think I’d have been a lot more comfortable lying down for such an intense session. The meditation itself was so soothing and calming and I think I’d have been able to fully immerse myself in it (and enjoy/appreciate it even more), had I been a bit more prepared and made myself more comfortable – savasana style, with a soft cosy blanket.
Now that I’ve taken the first step, I feel a lot less intimidated by the prospect of it all and I aim to continue with this practice (even just by doing a 5 minute guided meditation every morning via one of the apps on my phone). I’ll be sure to post an update in a few weeks or a few months once (read: if) I’ve stuck at it and established a regular practice. At that point, I can hopefully share some tips too.
Watch this space!
Have you tried meditation before? If so, what advice or tips would you give to newbies just starting out? Any particular apps or websites you use? I’d love to know!
Lots of Love