How to Find Inner Calm, Your Way
When you think about meditation, it’s easy to imagine a “one size fits all” approach that you either take to immediately, or avoid forever.
After all, meditation demands a lot of patience, time, and effort, doesn’t it? That’s what’s always put me off about the idea of sitting down and trying to clear my mind of all its many racing thoughts.
Not only would I not know where to begin, but I’m the kind of person who never sits still (not to mention the kind of person who never seems to have any spare time!)
So when I discovered a new class in Leigh-on-Sea…one that promised to teach me many different ways to meditate – in just two hours – I was intrigued.
The class location was The Movement Base, a light-and-bright studio in Leigh Road. There was an immediate sense of calm as I arrived, plus some healthy snacks ready and waiting for our group!
Said group consisted of three other would-be meditators, and as everybody made themselves comfortable, we were introduced to our friendly teacher, Louise Reader.
Louise began the session by telling us about her own fascinating experiences with meditation, and how it had changed her life (she also mentioned a week-long silent retreat in Asia, which sounded like too far a stretch for me!)
Louise had tried and tested several methods of meditation, some of which she had enjoyed, and some she hadn’t. The point, she explained, was that everybody could discover their own perfect way to meditate – even if it was only for a few minutes each day.
She went on to prove her point by taking us through some simple techniques, all of which were very different. One involved closing our eyes and focusing on our breath, then mentally scanning our bodies, one part at a time.
Though challenging at first (my concentration span is definitely limited!) this was a very refreshing technique I could imagine myself using whenever I felt stressed during the day, since the process had only taken around ten minutes, and could easily be made a bit shorter if needed.
Other techniques involved doing nothing but focusing on our own upper lip for five minutes – which sounds strange at first, but it’s amazing how invigorated you start to feel when you give something your entire focus! Then, we moved on to silently repeating a ‘mantra’ (in this case, a single word) for a few more minutes.
We attempted each method with our eyes open and closed, and we were invited to try them out whilst sitting, standing, or even kneeling – as Louise gently emphasised that there was no ‘ideal’ way to practise them. It was all about what worked individually for us, which felt incredibly freeing.
As each technique came to an end, we discussed our experiences of it as part of the group. It was very interesting to note that we all had different ‘favourites’ and that we all intended to incorporate them differently into our daily lives.
But then, that was very much the idea of this relaxed and interesting session – personalising the inner calm and space meditation is able to bring so that it fits perfectly with you and your life.
To find out more about how meditation can help you, contact Louise at The Body Matters.