You may be surprised that one of the greatest tools for your overall well-being does not involve a lot of movement - it’s a simple ritual of sitting down and breathing and it’s been around for centuries. That greatest tool is meditation!

All jokes aside, meditation is doing something and you don’t have to be sitting. There are countless health benefits to meditation, even for just 10-15 minutes each day. We live in a culture that is so go-go-go, it’s important to take a few minutes for our self. Meditation is an important form of self-care that can provide you with clarity, peace of mind and a sense of balance (among other pretty amazing things!). Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or blue, the best solution can often be taking a seat, taking a deep breath, and meditating.

While the exact origins of meditation are not known, the earliest evidence dates back to somewhere between 5,000-3,500 BCE. The first written records of meditation we have are found in Hindu teachings dating back to 1,500 BCE and as time goes on, we can see other early forms of meditation developing in Taoism and Buddhism, its purpose contributing toward spiritual growth.

As we have seen this practice spread across the globe, we have learned that meditation does not only aid in spirituality. Consistently meditating is good for your mind and body as it has been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, regulate moods, increase focus, emotional intelligence, resilience, memory, self-awareness … the list goes on and on. You don’t have to only take our word for it either. There are over 3,000 scientific studies dedicated to proving the benefits of meditation. From physical health benefits like reducing blood pressure and inflammatory diseases to the mental and emotional benefits, meditating is a full mind and body workout, all without breaking a sweat!

So, how do you start?

We recommend starting small. Dedicate 5-10 minutes every day, either first thing in a morning or later in an evening. First, find a quiet and relaxing place where you can be alone. Make sure you have an alarm set (preferably one that doesn’t make you jump too much when it goes off!) on your phone so that you are not preoccupied thinking about the time while you meditatemeditation also put on some music to accompany you during your mediation practice. There are a lot of great playlists out there, simply search for MEDITATION in a platform you use for listening to music and you are ready to start.

Next, decide if you would like to sit or lie down. Choosing a comfortable position is crucial for your practice. If you’re sitting, posture is very important so ensure that you keep your back straight. Many people feel more comfortable sitting with their legs crossed but that isn’t mandatory if it isn’t comfortable for you.

Once you get comfortable, close your eyes and simply begin breathing naturally. Focus on your breath, how your lungs feel expanding and contracting, the sound you make breathing, how you feel- anything! But ONLY focus on the breathing. That is the tricky part. Try to remain focused on your breath as best you can without letting your mind wander. Of course, for beginners this can be especially difficult but don’t feel discouraged! Try counting your breaths or the amount of seconds it takes you to fully breath in and exhale. Don’t worry about getting distracted. As soon as you catch your mind wondering elsewhere, simply bring yourself back to refocus on your breath. Even those who have been meditating for years find they lose their focus sometimes. The human mind is a powerful force, and it takes patience and hard work to have full control of it.

Continue breathing until your timer sounds or the playlist is over and voila! You’ve meditated!

When you’re just beginning, putting aside time for your practice on a daily basis and actually sticking to it is key. You can then work your way up to longer periods of time once you get more accustomed to your mediation routine. You might want to invest in a meditation cushion for something a little softer to sit on or if you prefer lying down, you can even use a cooling eye mask. We would even encourage you to track your progress by journaling. Record how long you meditate for and how it makes you feel so you can really see the success you’ve had and the difference it makes.

Remember not to be too hard on yourself. This is about relieving stress and gaining a clear mind. If you find your mind is wandering, no big deal! Just bring it back to focus on your breathing. Like any practice worth doing this requires, well, practise! But in the long run, you’ll find that meditating consistently helps to relax your mind and body. You’ll have more energy, a better attention span and will generally feel more calm and peaceful. Who doesn’t want that?!

There are also a number of helpful meditation apps that can help you start - Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think. You can follow step-by-step instructions and learn more about the meditation process.

Once you learn this beautiful practice and make it your daily habit, come join our instructor Jewelia to excel your meditation skills and try an hour long practice. Jewelia teaches EPIC Meditation every Sunday at 10:30am.