Have you ever tried to meditate
but find yourself distracted by the constant chatter of your mind?
Do you get frustrated and tell yourself that meditating
is simply NOT for you?
You're not alone!
Like learning to walk, talk or anything else worth doing, it takes time, patience and practice.
Guided meditation has been an easier entry way to calming my mind enough, to stay present longer. I find meditation more accessible by following someone's guidance. When I am listening to the instructions of a teacher, I find my mind less busy with thoughts and clearer of all the clutter I subject myself to (grocery list, unfinished projects, an email I have to respond to, a recent argument I had with a friend...(insert your list here).
I particularly like the practice of Yoga Nidra (a guided meditation done in savasana or corpse pose) because it has allowed me to go deepest into myself and feel many benefits immediately after the practice. I am calmer, at peace in general, more even and my mind seems to be sharper, quicker.
Science has backed up some the benefits, here are a few:
According to Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, one of the first scientists to take the anecdotal claims about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and test them in brain scans, meditating can literally change your brain.
"In the study, We found long-term meditators have an increased amount of gray matter in the insula and sensory regions, the auditory and sensory cortex...they had more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making.
It’s well-documented that our cortex shrinks as we get older – it’s harder to figure things out and remember things. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50-year-old meditators had the same amount of gray matter as 25-year-olds."
Are the cold temperatures and gray skies of the winter months make you feel uneasy and bring you down?
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general, Yoga Nidra helps you "turn on" your parasympathetic nervous system to switch off the fight or flight response we are often over stimulating, which in return releases stress from our body and mind.
source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Meditation and Yoga Nidra in particular help reduce insomnia.
According to a Harvard School of Med Health publication, after 6 sessions of mindful meditation, the study group had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression.
Here is the full JAMA Internal medicine study