Mindfulness and meditation is a very popular concept these days. But do you really know what it is? How to do it? Or how it can benefit you?
Let me tell you a little bit about my own experience with mindfulness and meditation.
When I began studying IMT (Integrative Manual Therapy) 20 years ago, I was required to receive Integrative Manual Therapy in order to be as healthy as possible. If I was going to help others, it was very important for me to be healthy myself. Part of the treatment I received was learning how to get into a deep state of relaxation to calm my nervous system.
Once the nervous system is calmer, exercises are given to integrate your nervous system with your body to move better, decrease pain and return to joyful activities.
About two years ago, I decided to start meditating on a regular basis, in order to better deal with the stress of running a business and life. I was able to draw on those skills I learned years before.
What Happened When I Starting Meditating
My first meditation day, I rolled out my yoga mat on the floor, sat down cross legged, opened up the Calm app, and set the timer for 5 minutes. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sounds of nature. Within a week or so I was able to increase my meditation time to 10 minutes. After 2 weeks of consistent meditation, some interesting things began to happen.
- I accepted the monkey mind of thoughts jumping around in my head and just observed where they traveled to as a completely quiet mind is not always possible.
- Each day it became easier for me to sit still for longer time periods.
- I was less reactive to loved ones annoyances.
- My business started to thrive.
- I fell down twice–once on the wet kitchen floor and once stepping onto a paver stone that I didn’t know was there.
What Does Falling Have to Do With Meditation?
Remember how I said meditation will help calm your nervous system? Well, I believe I had calmed my nervous system but had not integrated my nervous system with my body yet, so my body didn’t know how to react when I got into a precarious situation. Instead of ruminating over how clumsy I was, I understood those falls to be a positive sign that my nervous system was changing and the meditation was working!
The lesson I learned was that integrating mindfulness together with movement is an important part of improving and maintaining physical health. You can read more about this concept in my eBook: Mindful Tips for Pain Free Daily Movement.
Throughout the past 2 years I have meditated fairly regularly anywhere from 1-7 days per week. I now use an app called Insight Timer, which my friend and meditation teacher, Judy Craven, recommended.
Insight Timer offers many music, guided, or nature sound options of various time lengths to listen to when meditating or just relaxing. I like to listen to ambient music coupled with nature sounds and meditate anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, usually first thing in the morning, while sitting on the couch with my feet on the floor, instead of sitting cross legged on the floor (not so comfortable anymore). Sometimes, before meditating, I think about an issue I want to work on. Other times, I don’t put any intention into the meditation session other than to just enjoy it. I now find it easier to work through challenging issues, as I have a deeper understanding and compassion for myself and others.
Taking A Meditation Class
When it comes to learning mindfulness and meditation, it can be difficult to know where to start. There is a lot of information out there, which can be overwhelming. Sometimes taking a class with an expert can be very beneficial to get you started-off on the right foot.