The key to mental well-being is in establishing daily self-care practices that speak to our different layers of self: physical, energetic, emotional, mental and of course simply joy. The efficacy of Yoga for mental well-being is that the very nature of the practice of Yoga continuously moves through these layers with what is called the koshas. In this last instalment of the Yoga for mental well-being blog series, I want to share the importance of meditation as a foundation of this work.
From what I have discovered both through my own personal experience, but also the work I have done with my students is that mental well-being is achieved through all the small things that we do each day. That all of these small things like planning a nutritious meal, going for an afternoon walk or calling our BFF, add up to powerful shifts in how we feel. Another very important element to this is taking time each day to quiet our mind and sit in stillness, or more commonly known as meditation. It took me years to finally establish a daily meditation practice. I always had such wonderful excuses and reasons why I just couldn’t take the time, as I’m sure you do too, until enough was enough.
My meditation practice has been a game changer for me and so ingrained into my routine if I miss it in the morning it feels like I’ve missed my morning cup of coffee. I use the app: Insight Timer that uses a singing bowl to let me know when my time is up. I also use different pieces of music or sometimes follow a guided meditation. Do I sit in silence, my mind totally quiet the whole time? No, but some days are better than others. I also sit for 20 minutes every morning – the first 10 to keep flushing out my thoughts working on letting them go, or sometimes I do breathwork like alternate nostril breathing or breath of fire. It’s generally in the last 10 minutes that my mind finally goes quiet, I focus on my third eye and often see colours that hold my attention.
I also use my time in meditation intuitively to release tension from my body, often noticing that my shoulders are hunching or I’m gripping in my spine or hips. This grounds me, reminding me that my own mental well-being is my primary focus and the other thoughts slipping through are secondary or even lower on the priority schedule. I become fully present and this carries with me through the day. I find that I can pause often in my day and just reflect on my morning practice or become quite still in my mind for a minute or two to help clear my thoughts while I’m working or writing. In fact, I think my meditation practice has enabled me to become a better writer.
My hope in sharing this with you is that I’ve inspired you to explore this practice more deeply. As part of my course, Yoga for Mental Well-Being: Creating a Daily Practice I’ve including a guided meditation for gratitude and connection to help you along this path. It’s only 11 minutes long, you can download it to your phone and use either at the start, middle or end of the day. For more information on starting a meditation practice, follow this link here: Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
As always, wishing you the best on your Yoga journey.
In light and love, Lisa.
Join me for my upcoming course: Yoga for Mental Well-Being. This is a 4-hr live virtual course on Saturday, January 30, 2021 10am – 2pm EST. There is also an online course, Yoga for Mental Well-Being: Creating a Daily Practice you can access now. Together, let’s take ownership of our mental health.