This year Mental Health Awareness Week is the 10th – 16th of May, World Meditation Day falls on the 21st May and in England from the 17th of May group indoor yoga classes will again be permitted under the Government Roadmap out of lockdown – hooray!
Though online yoga classes have proved much more enjoyable than most of us thought possible and some even prefer online yoga in the comfort of their own home, feeling part of a community, having a sense that we are supporting each other and sharing our energy is much more easily palpable in an in-person yoga class. Although restrictions remain, logistics are tricky and we will be 2 meters apart, I am very much looking forward to the 17th of May when I can start to teach groups of people together in the same room again.
For some yoga is purely a physical practice, one that has the potential to bring many benefits including a stronger more flexible body, less tension, fewer aches and pains. However, yoga offers us much more than exercise and one of the tools of yoga is meditation. Yoga developed experientially and philosophically within the culture and traditions of pan India over the last 3000 years and something that is often not known by modern practitioners is that in the early years the word yoga was originally synonymous with meditation – the breathing practices, the postures and other practices were later developments.
Research confirms that meditation has many positive outcomes for mental health including reducing stress & anxiety, improving emotional health, enhancing self-awareness, lengthening attention span, improving memory, increasing positive feelings, including kindness towards others and self-compassion, helping to break and manage addictions, improving sleep, reducing chronic pain, lowering blood pressure and stimulating the immune system.
With all these benefits and more we might wonder why we aren’t all regular meditators but the reality is that not all types of meditation suit all of us and working out which type of meditation you will find doable, enjoyable and beneficial is a process not often talked about. I was lucky enough to be taught by a teacher who acknowledged that not all meditation techniques suit everyone and this is something I now pass on to those I teach.
We all have different ways of experiencing the world around us and our primary sense might be either Visual, Kinesthetic, or Auditory. Knowing our primary modality can help us to choose a meditation practice that will be easier to connect to and easier to keep up. If you have tried meditation before and not found it easy or it’s not been something you have been able to stick to, it may well be because the technique you were working with didn’t match your primary modality. For this reason, in my yoga classes, I teach a range of meditation techniques with the aim of helping the participants find a meditation practice that works for them.
If you are interested and want to know more about meditation, please do get in touch. I am always more than happy to talk about yoga 🙂
Wishing you good mental health, Clair