By DANA TETENBERG.
When you hear the word ‘meditation’, do you think of religion, candles, cross-legged yoga positions, and trying to achieve complete and utter peace and quiet?
Surprisingly, meditation is not just for Buddhists, it does not require candles, there are many different types, and sitting still trying to think of nothing is actually not recommended as a form of meditation for today’s society.
Experienced meditation teacher Radha Lyttle from the non-profit organisation Meditation New Zealand explains what meditation really is.
“Meditation is what your mind is focused on. Real meditation practice is that process that takes your mind away from stresses, anxieties, unhappiness and allows your mind to rest on the beautiful yoga meditation sound”.
So apart from de-stressing, what other benefits can meditation offer (especially for us students, where de-stressing in itself is not the easiest task)? Radha describes how simply balancing time to meditate will help with stress that students undergo.
“By setting time aside to meditate each day you actually refresh yourself, your mind and your body so that you can continue on with the challenges of study that you have”.
Meditation in general can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and replenish your nervous system, as well as help to control your mind and attitude.
If you are intrigued, feel free to check out the variety of free classes that Meditation New Zealand offers. They explore real meditation practices, mainly the ancient yet neutral and universal form of Yoga Sound Mantra Meditation.
They also offer a unique class called Yoga Sound Kirtan, which Radha says is “meditation that is accompanied by musical instruments – classical and/or electric… At the end of the classes you will feel replenished; you would have forgotten all those worries and stresses during that time”.
Try this at home
Here’s an example of meditation to try! It’s a simple method called Gauranga Yoga Sound Meditation and many people all over the world practice it in their daily lives.
Start by sitting or lying comfortably, let your breathing become slower and your body more relaxed, and draw your mind away from all other thoughts and distractions. Say the yoga sound Gauranga (pronounced gor-rar-ung-gar) in your mind as you inhale, and say Gauranga softly out loud as you exhale. Practice daily for 5-15 minutes and whenever you feel the need to de-stress, for example just before exams.
Successful meditation will require determination and consistency, however taking small steps at first is important and will eventually lead to not wanting to miss your daily practice, rather than having to make yourself do it.
For Radha, meditation has provided the perfect balance for her stresses as well as inner peace. As she describes, “Its like going on vacation… but every day!”
If you are interested in seeking more guidance on meditation, check out www.meditationnewzealand.co.nz for more info on classes and upcoming events. You can also read Dana’s review of the meditation app Headspace, online tomorrow.