Tuesday, December 11The Voice of London

Meditate your way to a zen life

An ancient practice that seems to be the answer to all of our modern troubles

It could be sitting in a bathtub with a book and candles. It could be listening to soothing music. It could be sitting under a tree, taking in the grass, listening to the birds chirping and breathing in the fresh, sweet air. Meditation has a different meaning to each and every one of us.

Image: Okan Caliskan via Pixabay

According to Mindworks, a meditation app, meditation is the act of “working with the mind and training in awareness. Simply working with the mind leads to an improved sense of presence, calm, attentiveness and an increase in valued human qualities such as empathy and patience.” Another website, Headspace, says that meditation is not about “trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgement. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.”

In simpler terms, meditation is training the mind to be less stressed and calmer, as well as understanding your emotions and thoughts better.

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Voice of London interviewed yoga and meditation instructor, Clare Nagarajan, to give some professional insight on meditation.

What is meditation?

Meditation is quite a personal thing to the person taking part in it. It means different things for different people. In the world as we know it, meditation is just about being present in the moment, sort of letting go of your thoughts. You’re not thinking about the future or not thinking about the past, just taking the moment and allowing yourself to take in the environment and breathe for some minutes. You can take it up to other places as well as you become more advanced in your practice.

What are the benefits of meditation?

The biggest ones are mindfulness, staying in the moment, relaxation and letting go of stresses. There are so many benefits, you could probably list off a hundred and it still wouldn’t be enough. Just taking yourself out of the daily routine and realising there’s this whole thing going on that’s bigger than us and making sure we’re tapped into that energy and we’re part of it.

 

Image: William Farlow via Unsplash

How should one begin meditation if they are interested?

For beginners, I always say to begin with a breath-based meditation, where you trace the breath from the nose to the belly, the chest and then the back of the throat. Once you begin to trace your breath and learn how to sit, or perhaps lie down to begin with; some people find sitting difficult as they’re not used to crossing their legs. Then you can begin to build the practice up where you become better at sitting, better at breathing and getting out of your mind and into the meditative state.

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Should one be meditating every day?

Yes. If we did it more often, I think the world would be a better place, people would be a little kinder and also less stressed in their routine.

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What changes does one experience when they begin meditating?

That is personal because it depends on your life experience. For example, if you had hard life experiences, I think it can give you a new perspective on life where you realise that there is more out there to just what you’ve been tied to in your past. The biggest one like I said before, is mindfulness where we’re present in the moment. We’re always planning what to do in the future or thinking too much in the past so it’s about being in that moment and I think it is the strongest thing that we can take away from meditation.

Image: Matt Collamer via Unsplash

Meditation is known to make the quality of your life better because you don’t stress as much, it helps emotional stability, and even improves your immunity. Whether you are worried about deadlines or confused about making decisions in the future, the idea of meditation may be worth a try.

Voice of London asked a few students in university what meditation means to them. Here are the answers:

 

Music: MorningLightMusic via YouTube

Featured image: Courtesy of Jill Wellington via Pixabay

Words: Shruti Tangirala | Subbing: Taylor Paatalo

 

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