Top 10 Meditation Tools – Event Wrap
Thank you to all that attended our corporate mindfulness and meditation event this week During our hour with meditation teacher Samuel Tesfay and BMS founder Sol Walkling, we explored different techniques and learned how they can assist us in daily life to be calmer, more resilient and present. Sol also shared some of her own experiences with meditation after a recent head trauma.
Here are her ten top tips to get you meditating in no time
1) Start small and simple.
Set time aside to sit down for meditation regularly – 5 minutes on a daily basis is a great starting point. Keeping a meditation journal or a wall planner will be a great way to track your commitment – and seeing your progress will keep you motivated.
Set up and get used to a particular space in your house (or office) to sit in in stillness. You could even be lying down in your bed at night if you are brand new to meditation and struggle to sit comfortably.
Practice creates habit! Little things like oils to relax you or a comfy cushion can add to your creation of a meditation space. They also help your brain tune into what is to come as you will start associating them with the more relaxed state. We love Be Genki Natural Oils.
2) Prep your body.
Yoga poses are called asanas – which means literally: to take a seat. They are designed to help limber you up to sit in meditation for a long period of time. But even just gentle seated movement will do to start with.
We took gentle spinal movements – seated cat and cow stretches side bends and a gentle twist, and limbered up the neck and shoulders. As you are moving your spine, your shoulders and your hips in slow flowing motions, start tuning into breath and sensations. Becoming aware of your physical body and creating (relative) comfort will help you sit in stillness.
Yes, breathe…. Our simplest tool to connect inward and shift the state we are in. Notice how your breath is flowing. It will be our gateway to relaxing the nervous system. It can also help us notice where tension is sitting.
As we breathe and progressively relax the physical body, we give the mind a gentle focus, too. We draw our awareness to he inhalation and exhalation; and the pause between. As we realise how the breath affects us, we can start creating more space, gentler or fuller breaths – depending on what is needed. We are “breath-training” ourselves to relax.
Sam, our Silva method meditation teacher, taught us to count down from ten to one, while relaxing. It’s a relatively simple technique to let yourself drop deeper and will with time become easier and easier.
You could also visualise stepping into a lush green valley, down towards the beach or into the ocean, like we did with him. If visualisation is not your cup of tea, simply count. And in between the numbers, tell yourself: I am relaxing. My body is relaxed – or words with a similar meaning that resonate with you. This technique is called progressive relaxation technique.
You could also scan your body for tension and and practice relaxing various body parts in a step by step method. This will help you ensure your whole physics body is as relaxed and tension-free as possible for what is to come.
Lifting your inner gaze to your “third eye”. By directing your gaze somewhere to the centre of your forehead just above your brows, you have withdrawn one of your senses and are directing it inward. You have not only give your mind a steady focus but you also trigger a relaxation response in the body.
You’ll train to remain a gently unfocused focus (like those 3d books when you were a child) over time. In yogic teachings, we also call the third eye the seat of your intuitive centre. (And just as an aside, hypnotists use a similar focus on a single object to make their subjects more suggestible.)
6) Listening to sounds.
We recommended a brain wave training method called binaural beats. This is the method Sol used too help her recover from her concussion. Binaural beats are designed to make the two hemispheres of your brain “talk” to one another. The different tones presented on each headphone to the different sides of the brain create a frequency difference which the brain recognises and starts producing. These different brain waves represent different states of the brain from say mild relaxation to deep sleep.
When you look for binaural beat tracks on iTunes, check out the different tracks on the CD to make sure they suit your purpose – from relaxation over mental clarity and focus to restful sleep. Here are two that Sol recommended: “Binaural Beats Brain Wave Entrainment and “The Wave Method: Advanced Brainwave Meditation”
7) Be guided.
When you are ready to spend a little more time meditating, guided meditation tracks are some of the best tools out there. Sol highly rated Kelly Howell’s healing meditation track – it combines binaural beats, guided meditation and positive affirmation.
8) Loving compassion and kindness.
Changing your response to stress becomes easier with this form of daily training. Studies involving the Dalai Lama and his aides have proven that this particular form of meditation triggers a shift in brain activity and leads to greater levels of happiness.
Caring for others and showing kindness and compassion starts with finding compassion for self and practicing it in your meditation. Check out this fantastic explanation by James Doty from the Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research at Stanford University here.
In this video he talks about shifting your reaction or, even better, response. Without anything other than a simple practice, we can slowly shift our attitude from negativity and stress to one of gratitude.
9) Become present – any time.
Realise that any time is a good time to just become present to yourself. All you need to do is take three full deep breath and link this practice to the feeling during meditation. Sam mentioned this is a great way to break a “bad cycle” you may be in.
And Sol spoke about the training of your brain like a puppy dog. While the image is somewhat lacking, you get the idea. Without training, the puppy shits everywhere! When trained, you can play, work, take it around the block… Which leads us neatly to:
10) Practice, practice, practice.
And keep exploring. As you deepen your practice, you will develop more receptivity and become like a sponge to new meditation and mindfulness knowledge.
Remember, start small – 5-15 mins daily – and within no time, you may be running a meditation marathon. And enjoying it more than you ever thought.
Due to popular demand we will be putting together a few posts on meditation and mindfulness. Please keep checking back. You may also want to head to our library to find more about yoga or meditation.
And lastly, if you would like to join Sol for yoga and meditation in your own time, check out our new Bondi group classes here.