Immunity and the mind
Our body and mind are a closed loop system with one strongly affecting the other. If we experience stress, it weakens our immune system. What is the primary cause of stress? We can name a lot of things from the outer world: our jobs, family, that never ending list that needs to be done, but the truth is, what actually causes us stress is that monkey mind of us. The whole day we are telling ourselves stories (our thoughts) which makes us feel restless. Our thoughts affect us how we feel emotionally. Every time we worry, our body experiences the same stress as when that thing that we are worrying about is actually happening. Through meditation we are creating an awareness of our thoughts by resting our attention on something, most of the time our breath or our inner world and we are trying to keep our attention there. Every time when our mind is getting distracted, we are aware of that thought and come back to that thing we are focussing on.
Our 3 favorite ways of meditation
Have you always wanted to meditate, but have no idea where to start? Here are our 3 favorite ways of meditation which we do before or after our yoga classes in our yoga retreats.
Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable seat, with a long spine. Bring your attention towards your navel and feel how it rises on you inhale and falls on your exhale. Every time when you inhale you think ‘rising’. Every time when you exhale you think ‘falling’. After your exhale you hold your breath for a sec and you think ‘sitting’. This will be your mantra: rising – falling – sitting. Every time when you are getting distracted by something that you hear, think: ‘hearing’ and come back to your mantra. Every time when you are getting distracted by something that you feel, think: ’feeling’. Every time when you are getting distracted by your own mind think: ‘thinking’. So you acknowledge your thoughts, you don’t give any importance to it and you come back to your breath, back to your mantra.
Feel your energy
Take a comfortable seat and bring your hand palms together and rub them against each other. Then seperate your palms approximately 10 cm and feel the energy in between your hands. Seperate your palms even more, without losing the energy in between your hands and slowly bring them together again. Then rest your hands on to your lap and imagine that on every inhale energy moves up from the bottom of your spine all the way to the top of your head. On your exhale you try to feel the energy from the top of your head moving over the front of your body, all the way down. So the energy is making circles through all of your chakras. Energy follows the attention, this is a powerful way of letting the energy flow again and remove any blockages.
Lie down on your back, close your eyes. Start to bring your attention inwards. Start to observe your body, how does your body feel? Than start to scan all of your muscles in your body for any unnecessary tension. Start with your feet, be thorough, feel the muscles in your toes, at the bottom of your feet, top of your feet and ankles. Even though you are not using those muscles, try to feel them and relax them. Then scan and relax the rest of your body all the way to the top of your head. This is a meditation we often do after our yoga classes. By bringing our attention to our body we are getting out of our heads. This meditation raises awareness of the unnecessary tension we are holding unconsciously within our body. If you are having trouble sleeping, we suggest you try this one, before going to sleep.
Make it into a habit
Find out which type of meditation works for you and try to make it into habit. If you are having trouble meditating on your own, there are a lot of apps which offer guided meditations like ‘headspace’ and ‘calm’. Consistency is the key, so rather do 5 minutes a day than 30 minutes every week. Usually we advise you to take a comfortable, but active seat. If that means you are sitting in a chair, that’s fine. We do suggest not to lean, so it will be easier to stay alert. Last suggestion is to find a relatively quiet space, where you feel safe and are less likely to be distracted.
Effects of meditation in your daily life
Like we can train our bodies, we can train our mind too! If you can focus on something as simple as your breath, it will help you focus on other things during the day too. Imagine the benefits of being able to focus, how that benefits your daily life. When you are seeing a friend, you are actually there, when you are studying, you are actually studying. Being aware of your thoughts and being aware that thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more, nothing less, your thoughts have less control over your inner state of being. Getting in touch with that inner state of being is one of things we are working on in our retreats. Have a look at our retreat packages here.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is”. – Eckhart Tolle