I first heard about meditation a number of years ago but thought it was a little too ‘woo woo’ for me. My ears pricked up a bit more when people I knew started downloading apps to meditate on a regular basis, but I still didn’t think it was for me.
It wasn’t until I took that step beyond healing my body solely with food that I started playing around with mindfulness and more spiritual things (I’ll write about my slightly bizarre Kundalini Activation Process experience one day soon too!).
Mindfulness for healing
When food only took me so far in feeling better, I knew there was more to investigate. I was experiencing a lot of stress and without the tools to manage this properly, I was spiralling into anxious patterns that I couldn’t release. My adrenals were shot and I was living in constant “fight or flight” mode – crying at the drop of a hat, irritable, short-tempered and emotionally frazzled.
Around this time I was attending lots of health, wellness and mindfulness-type events around Sydney… hoping to learn something new and meet likeminded people.
I went to an “Intro to Vedic Meditation” talk with Angela Lyos Braun (if you’re curious, you can check her work out here). I came out of the talk inspired but wasn’t sure if I could commit to the course or the practice with everything I had going on at the time.
It’s safe to say, I’m SO glad that a few weeks later I did because this practice has literally changed my life.
I spent 4 consecutive days doing after work sessions with Angela and at the end of it came out with my personal mantra, an in-depth understanding of the background and benefits, as well as a practical tool I could leverage to bring calm to my million-mile-an-hour-mind for the rest of my life.
(I’m not affiliated with Angela by the way, although we are friends now – neighbours, group meditators and yoga buddies!)
So, what is Vedic Meditation?
This type of meditation is very simple. You sit in a chair with your eyes closed for 20 minutes in the morning (just after you wake up) and 20 minutes in the afternoon (or first thing in the evening).
You start by letting your mind settle before effortlessly repeating a (personal) mantra silently in the mind, going deeper and deeper into the stillness – a state of “Bliss” and pure awareness. You don’t need to stop, judge or control thoughts that enter the mind. Instead, you subtly come back to the mantra each time a thought bubbles up. No chanting or visualising here – as simple and natural as it comes.
What benefits have I seen?
There is a whole laundry list of benefits that come from meditating using this technique, and these are intensified when you commit to the twice-daily practice.
I have often made excuses about not having time to practice in the latter part of the day, but in reality, if you spend 20 minutes or more on social media then you DEFINITELY have time to meditate (GUILTY).
So much of what’s making people sick today stems from STRESS. Vedic meditation helps the body release the stressors of the day, as well as the trauma we’ve been holding onto in our body’s physiology for years. Now, I notice when I have skipped a few meditations because when I come back to it my head is chocka-block with “to do” lists and negative self-talk. Regular practice helps me notice these patterns and effortlessly let them go.
This is a biggie for me. Since burning out my adrenals and learning unhealthy coping mechanisms that would leave my nerves fried, I was constantly reacting to even tiny inconveniences, curveballs or conflict. Each would throw me totally off centre, making me have emotional outbursts or spend the whole day feeling down. It felt like a mental prison. Meditation has led me to more inner peace, a more grounded feeling and greater resilience to these kinds of situations.
Creativity and productivity
I genuinely experience my best creative ideas either mid-meditation or shortly afterwards. Sometimes it’s hard to resist stopping and noting them down on my phone (I’ve definitely done that a few times!). Think about it: when do you stop and give your mind subconscious mind a chance to speak? I imagine not very often. Our conscious minds tend to run the show! Dipping into the stillness of “being” provides the space and opportunity for left-of-field ideas to surface. You’ll be surprised at what bubbles up!
Personally, I find meditation simultaneously calming and energising. It makes you feel very rested afterwards, and sometimes I feel a bit blissed out and snoozy. However, once I’m up and on with life, I feel so much more physical energy and clarity (VERY handy if you’ve got a thyroid condition or chronic fatigue!). Side note: when I first started, I would struggle to stay awake and often nod off during meditation. This is very common in young people who live life at a million miles per hour – as you release this fatigue you’ll find it stops happening.
Living in the moment and knowing yourself better
These two are linked, so I’ve bundled them into one. If you tend to worry about the future or stew over the past, meditation will help bring you into present moment awareness. Having dedicated time to dip into “being” and out of “doing” mode will give you a greater awareness and sense of who you are, right now. It provides a safe space to go which can’t be affected by external circumstances or superficial “things”. You will find yourself more in tune with your body, gut feelings and instincts. How beautiful is that?!
Overall, I have a more joyful experience of life and my body feels healthier because it is calmer and less inflamed… and as anyone with autoimmunity knows – anything that reduces inflammation is a winner!
I hope this information has given you a bit of insight into the world of Vedic meditation! As always, if you have any questions and want to pick my brain – comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or DM @mojohealthspace. I’ll be happy to spill more medi beans :).