Meditation and mindfulness are everywhere you turn these days and we couldn’t be happier. These practices, whether they’re done as part of your physical yoga practice or all on their own, can have such a deep and lasting effect on our health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically. We believe so strongly in these benefits that we run regular meditation and yoga nidra classes, so that you too can experience these practices for yourself. We also have a sound bath after some Yin Yoga classes which is a relaxation technique and meditative experience whereby participants ‘bathe’ in the sound waves produced by the human voice as well as instruments such as chimes, gongs, drums and singing bowls. So what are some of these benefits that you can see once you get started?
Less stress and anxiety
This is something that most people are aware of when they think of mindfulness and meditation. And that’s because it’s one of the most talked about benefits and one thing that drives a lot of people to a meditation or mindfulness practice. Stress and anxiety are often created by an abundance of thoughts. The mind can be such a busy place and thoughts can often get quite dark. But our thoughts aren’t reality. And when we practice meditation and mindfulness we start to see that our thoughts are separate from us and we can step outside them. We can watch them, but we don’t have to believe them or give them time and attention. This can often help us step outside unhelpful thought patterns. When we are a little more still it also helps to calm the physical body and deepen the breath, both reinforcing a calmer state of mind.
A busy mind and a stressed body will always have trouble sleeping. When we are in a calmer more relaxed state, we are more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Once we’ve developed some skills and tools for mindfulness, we can also implement these when we are having trouble sleeping and hopefully the body will then drift off in a more relaxed state once we do find sleep.
A greater ability to notice feelings and change behaviour
When we stop and watch our thoughts, we start to see our reactions, our natural responses to things, how we habitually think and behave. This can be incredibly eye opening. It’s not something we often stop to look for. Once we’ve seen the way we think in a meditation setting, we get better and better at seeing it as it’s happening out in the world. We can notice our emotions changing, we can feel ourselves getting stressed. This gives us the power to stop and rethink. And if we want to we can start to make some changes in our behaviour.
Lengthens out attention span and productivity
Since the invention of the iPhones and other smart devices, it’s been shown that our attention span has dropped dramatically. And we’re not surprised. There’s always something new and interesting to look at so our brain is constantly seeking stimulation. Meditation and mindfulness teaches and trains our brain to be still, to look at what’s there, and not look any further. This has been shown to increase our ability to focus on the task at hand and to hold our attention to one thing. This has the natural progression of helping us be more productive and effective as we can be present for longer periods of time.