Is Meditation Really Helpful?

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 – La Méditation Est-Elle Vraiment Utile?

3 min read

Are you used to feeling anxious? Scared? Does anyone tried to help you in this matter but did quite the opposite?

In the last article The Mind-Body Connection introduced the subject of always being connected to what we do. This means being aware of our own emotions and desires and acting upon them.

I can assure you that meditation can be a powerful tool for addressing those issues.

Brain balancing heart by ElisaRiva

Why?

Because I have been practicing meditation on a daily basis for 7 years now.

People fail to help you because they are not in your shoes and might address the problem from an angle you don’t really need and therefore, the problem still exists.

Meditation can be your medication.

It can help you overcome your issues, if you know how to use it.

How does meditation can help me?

Why doesn’t it work on me?

Is there a simple tool I can use for helping me meditate?

Those are the questions we are addressing today.

How does meditation can help?

Meditation is simple and practical. 

Research shows that simply by sitting down and closing your eyes you can access a level of relaxation that is deeper that deep sleep.

It reduces stress hormones by 30 to 40% where a good night sleep reduces it by 10 to 12%.

It increases serotonin, prolactin, oxytocin and reduces blood pressure. It even increases the production of anti-aging hormones.

It is more effective that any other relaxation techniques.

brain connection by Gerd Altmann 

Research also shows that it makes new connection in the brain. If you scan the brain of someone that is meditating, you will see connection happening in the left and right side of his brain as well as in the back and front of it.

Which results in making us make better decisions, have better judgment because we allow the part of the brain responsible for this -the pre frontal cortex- to be well fed in oxygen particularly.

Meditation helps us become our best self.

When I was starting meditation, I encountered a wonderful teacher that helped me understand that I was embodying letting go thanks to meditation.

After a 45 minute mediation I had with him, we all shared our experience. At that time I had a hard time staying still, I always had to readjust my position or even just was disturbed by my own clothes. I explained him that I finally was able to tell myself during that single meditation that it could wait, that for this moment I was able to stay still and wait for the end of the meditation for moving or even for thinking about something else I had in mind.

He congratulated the effort and showed me that my meditation journey was on the good path.

Meditation doesn’t always work

Meditation can work for everyone, but it can also worsen the very thing you’re trying to meditate for. This is because there are several types of meditation.

Of course, if you look online, everyone is going to tell you that their technique is the best one there is but this is just a lie. Unfortunately those are the ones that are going to be the closest to sectarianism.

As a matter of fact, you can choose what type of meditation you want to do according to what you’re doing it for.

meditation by Gerd Altmann 

Before choosing the type of meditation you’re going to dedicate yourself to, you should ask yourself those questions :

  • What is the goal of my mediation? Do you want to feel more free, let go a situation in particular, understand something …
  • Which sense do you prefer? Some meditation will be more visual when others might be more auditory …
  • Which aspect do you want to develop the most? Patience, love, spirituality, memory, focus …

We will go through the types of meditation in a later article but for now I would suggest any beginner to try and start with those types of meditation :

  • Yoga nidra : this is actually the simplest one I was given to try. You just lay down on your back and let yourself be guided by the voice of your meditation teacher.
  • Spinal breathing : which will help your anxiety as well as mantra and mindfulness meditation.
  • Inner silence : lead you to know yourself, deal with your confusion or restlessness.

Now that you know of some meditation techniques, remember that the key to finding peace with mediation is consistency. We talk about this with a guest I had in the blog in the article Meditation Series : Mantras with Carrie Grossman.

Learn to overcome your fear thanks to a simple tool

I’m using fear as an example here and the tool I’m going to share with you can be used with any emotions you’re having difficult times with.

The tool I’m sharing with you comes from another meditation teacher I had and uses the technical memo RAIN.

Tiger under rain by ArtTower

RAIN stands for Recognise, Allow, Investigate, Nurture.

Recognise : name your fear.

Allow : do not judge it but instead allow it to be here. 

Investigate : feel where it lives in your body and what sensation it brings you.

Nurture : use your own kindness and care to begin being present with the fear.

After the rain, feel the shift that has happened from the fearful self when you started to that space of compassionate presence.

Want some help?

I can now tell you that soon, an online meditation course will be available on the blog. It is a 21 day challenge designed for discovering meditation where I teach you the fundamentals of mediation in a progressive way. The first day of the challenge will include 1 minute of meditation the second day 2 minutes, the third day 3 minutes and so on until 21 minutes of meditation for day 21.

Be sure to stay tuned, more information about this in a few weeks.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it gave you a clearer idea of what meditation can do for you.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of the page to receive all the latest articles.

In the meantime, remember that everything you do can be turned into meditation, from sitting to making dishes and running. It only takes conscious presence in what you are doing.

Love

Ben

Want to keep reading?

You must ave noticed that this blog was bilingual. If so, you will certainly be interested in this article : Tips For Learning a Language

Do you know what Ayurveda is? Come discover more about it in my article Ancient Science

If you want to receive all the latest newsletter about the blog, it’s down here :

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Yoga as a Path to Transformation

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 : LE YOGA COMME VOIE DE TRANFORMATION

3 min read

As promised, let me now introduce you to yoga. I will share the history of yoga, how I went to it and how I find it really beneficial to anyone who wants to improve their life and wellbeing.

Yoga is both a physical and spiritual practice originated in ancient India. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) yujto yoke and samadhi – concentration. Therefore, the one who practice yoga wants to connects one body, mind and spirit and go toward liberation. You can find many different interpretations of what yoga is and we can speak about more than 20 different types of yoga, each with its own practice and goals.

As a matter of fact, yoga was originally created in order for one to be able to stay seated longer while meditating. The more you’re comfortable in your body, the more you’re able to stay still and listen to yourself. Originally, Indus practiced yoga in order to grow spiritually speaking. The yogis encourage union with the finite jiva (transitory self) and with the infinite Brahman (eternal self). Brahman is a term used by the Hindus to mean “God”. To say that in another way, yogis want to connect to the inner God everyone holds in their being in order to find peace. Yoga is ancient path to spiritual growth, a system created to rejuvenate the body and prolong life.

For a beginner, I would suggest starting with restorative yoga, which is a very relaxing and grounded type of yoga. Everybody can do it and everybody should do it, because you don’t even have to do the effort or have to use your muscles, you use the ground and the gravity to help you go deeper into the relaxation. Yes, you read well, I’m talking about relaxation, I’m not telling you to force yourself into building muscles. And it is really good for recovery, healing, anxiety, helps you stretch and even practice patience! If you want to build muscles, then there is another type of yoga that is available for you.

In addition, yoga is known to be therapeutic and really good for all sorts of health and mental issues. Studies have shown its effectiveness for back pain, anxiety, schizophrenia, self acceptation, to name a few.

On this subject, I would suggest you to watch the documentary I AM MARIS on Netflix or THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOGA on UpliftTV.

Actually, I think yoga is a very good way to come into contact with your being, with your body. I know there’s a lot of people showing off the postures they’re doing on social medias and I think that’s the opposite of what yoga should be about. Yoga is about working on your impatience and listening to what your body is trying to tell you. It’s a good thing to want to be good at what you do but it’s another thing to help yourself going there.

When you do yoga, you want to be in tune with your breath. As everyone knows, the breath is where life flows, so as long as you breath, you will be able to tune into your body and your dharma (purpose).

Even if your goal is to build strength, you always tune to your breath to be aware of your muscles. The more you do it, the more you’re able to recognise where your body can go and where you want to lead it.

The mind is a calm meditative flow. The more your mind is steady, the more your body will be as well. The mind is a meditative calm steady flow when you do yoga, the body is an expression of that inner state. So here we are, we use this exercise to always build more steadiness in our mind. That’s where yoga is a meditative practice.

The methods used in the yoga techniques cannot be separated from its philosophy. Because yoga is considered to be a practice of psychosomatic exercices. The more you practice the exercices, the more you are inclined to feel the benefits. In the repetition of the movement, the magic arises.

A yoga teacher once told me :

“We’re not here to suffer through the experience but really grow as a result of the experience. Not only growing physically but also growing mentally and emotionally. As you learn to relate to experiences of discomfort, this skill translates directly into your daily life, when you encounter challenging or uncomfortable situations you can remain relaxed there and interact in a much more functional way with the different experiences of your life.”

And that’s what I actually find magical about yoga. Where one comes into the mat, one is dedicated to doing good to oneself. By deciding to show up and just be here with yourself, you come into contact with your own being, discovering what keeps you away from fulfilling your deepest desires.

It’s like an analogy of life, you come into the mat as you would come into your life. Some days you’re lazy and you just want to relax and some days you want to be as good as you can be and build strength. Of course, the more you practice, the more you will find yoga intense, and that’s when you will have to allow yourself to remain relaxed within this intensifying experience. Discomfort is perfectly normal in the context of yoga and in the context of life, if you feel pain, that’s when you know you have to stand back and change your position – or experience if we still talk about life experiences. When having challenging experiences, you learn to breath, to relax with discomfort and learn from it.

Furthermore, I would advise anyone who wants to start this journey to alternate any type of yoga they’re doing. If you want to build strength, it’s good for you to work on your core and always challenge you but it is also good to know when to relax and listen when your body is asking you to stand back. And if you’re doing yoga only to relax yourself, challenging you might be beneficial.

As you move through the body, there is a lot of energy that we are transmuting. We are playing with the energies coexisting with us, breath, life, laughs, tears, gifts, chakras …

Though the body is how you get to discover your spirit. Even faster than reading books. You drop into the very present moment. Mind starts to go away when you’re in the movement part. Naturally you connect with your heart more and the present is what allows your spirit to blossom, because you’re connected with your body and spirit and the mind is not doing this chatter thing. I find moving in general to be one of the most helpful ways to connect to your spirit.

We are made to move, because if we don’t, we fall.

Personally, I know yoga and therefore meditation has been really beneficial to me. I used to have panic attacks, to speak too fast to be understood and to move through life even faster than my mind was even able to articulate. I come to yoga/meditation as often as I can because when I don’t I feel that my body is not in tune with my being anymore. When I start to articulate my movement with my breath, I am able to come back into my true essence, I encounter myself every time a little more. And it is always a pleasure to discover another part of myself. That’s where I find the magic in life. It’s magical to look at a tree when you remember that it was only a little seed in the beginning. And it is magical to see that one can be even better everyday. I used to think that only self-centered persons could think that way but now, I think that it takes courage and maturity to be able to live in peace with oneself.

Here you can find an article about yoga, more focused on a christian point of view https://puricarechronicles.blogspot.com/2018/07/yoga-practice-of-yoga-is-much-more-than.html

Here’s another really good website about yoga if you’re interested to know more : https://www.yogapedia.com/  

I hope this article was beneficial for you and inspired you to start doing yoga – even more.

Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions if you want to know more. You can also propose a subject for a future article.

Stay tuned !

Love

Ben

Want to read more? 

Here’s my article about meditation : Stop Running and Listen to Yourself

Want to know about my next film project?

Here’s my article about my Docu-project : The Internal Change Happening Within and Outside of Us

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