If you told me to sit still and breath like 10 years ago, I would have scoffed.
I started meditating about five years ago when I was trying to get pregnant. I had been trying for a few years at that point, going through all of the medical avenues and it still wasn't happening. I was trying more holistic approaches as well - changing my diet, acupuncture, and yoga and mediation.
I have never been one to be able to slow down or sit for very long so this was quite challenging. I don't think I was very stressed but I learned that yoga and meditation could really help calm and regulate your nervous system and eventually give you the ability to slow down - physically and mentally.
I continue to meditate because I love the benefits. I don't do it every day but at least a few times per week. Especially when:
I know it is important to regulate my body and emotions for mysel and for my family. I grew up in a busy, intense, emotionally unregulated household and I want to provide a different experience for my children. Unfortunately, when my kids are upset or whiney, it is more natural for my heart rate to increase, be annoyed and frustrated, and want to yell. So for me, taking what I've learned from yoga and meditation to be less reactive, take step back, slow down, think clearly, and approach them, and any situation with more love, kindness, and compassion.
I've seen this affect my reactions in so many facets of my life too - driving, bosses and coworkers, comments from friends and family that would usually trigger me, and just everyday little frustrations. I can laugh more easily at myself and any situation. Not perfect! But better and trying to be better, and being more aware of my feelings and my body because of this practice.
So meditation in a general sense is about focusing on your breath, being still, and clearing your mind.
There are eight limbs of yoga. Most people think of Asana when they think of yoga, which is the postures and movement. Yoga actually means linking your breath, body, and mind - for each asana, or pose, there is a specific breathwork.
They are all interconnected and work together
You can choose to focus in a specific area and really go in depth. I once attended a two hour workshop on pranayama and we literally just learned a dozen breathing techniques. There is a breathwork class right after mine at SolSpace on Sundays.
Meditation is Magnificent
Used to sharpen focus and attention, connect the body and breath, develop acceptance of difficult emotions, reduce stress, improve your physical and mental health.
I found an article outlining nine types of meditation:
Another real life benefit for me in additional to slowing reactivity is that meditation really encourages non-judgment and starting again, "if your mind wanders, simply acknowledge the thought, and come back to the practice and refocus." - I just think that is a great motto for life - a new years resolution, a diet, workout goals, relationships, to do list, etc. If you get off track, simply try again.
But even just five or ten minutes a day is a great place to start (or stay). You can start with mindful breathing - make the effort to start being aware of your thoughts and body sensations. Driving, washing the dishes, folding clothes - instead of zoning out, listening to the radio, watching TV - can you use that time to come into your body (visual of floating outside of yourself - think of you to-do list, what someone said to you, a past situation, a future desire). Stop and take a breath when you start to feel agitated. You can rewire your brain, you can break generational patterns, you can have a better outlook, which can lead to so much more positivity in your life ✌️