Meditation Up North Learn Mindfulness and Meditation in Sheffield Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:24:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meditation Tips – 4 Methods For Using Mantras Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:26:13 +0000 A mantra can be a word, chant or a phrase that you say repeatedly to help you quieten your thoughts and enter into a deep meditative state of mind. Mantra meditation can be really effective as a way of ‘switching off’ your busy head.

It can be a powerful way to quiet the mind, and help you achieve a sense of peace from within. In this article, you’ll learn more about the 4 methods of practicing mantra meditation.

Listen to a recorded mantra

With this method, all you need to do is to sit, relax and simply listen to a recorded mantra. Simply focus your awareness on the mantra, and notice how you feel during and after listening.  As a start, it can be a good idea to spend as little as 5 minutes for your practice. You can extend your meditation time as soon as you’re ready.

Chant your mantra out loud

Find a specific mantra or think of a word or phrase that helps you focus. Some of the most commonly used mantras are ‘Om’, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’,‘Ham-Sah’ and ‘Relax’. Choose a mantra that suits you and the inner atmosphere you want to create.

It’s important to find a comfortable position where you can stay relaxed and alert at the same time. Allow yourself to relax, and then begin chanting your mantra. Start by focusing your awareness and energy into saying your mantra out loud over and over again. Once you’re focused, you may slowly begin to pay attention to the sound of your mantra.

Adjust and play with the volume and speed of your chant until you find the level that’s most comfortable and pleasing for you.  

meditation-trouble-manChant your mantra inside your mind

Prepare yourself for meditation in the same way as the other methods. And then, you may begin to chant your mantra inside your mind. With regular practice, you’ll learn to continually chant your mantra internally even when you’re not paying close attention to it.

Listen to the mantra chanted inside your mind

Start your practice by sitting quietly and focusing your awareness inward. Simply listen to the mantra as you chant it inside your mind. Noticing the chanting in the background of your mind will help you to let go of usual autopilot thought patterns.

As you reach this point of mental focus, it will be easier for you to connect with your inner self and experience a more peaceful you, beyond your usual busy thoughts.

It’s useful to practice at least one method of mantra each day, even for just a few minutes. Keep in mind that the key is to stay consistent. The more you practice mantra meditation, the better you’ll get. With regular practice, you’ll notice improvements with your focus, and your overall sense of health and well being.

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Original article: Meditation Tips – 4 Methods For Using Mantras.

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How to Start Meditating Quickly and Easily Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:41:14 +0000 If you want to learn how to practice meditation quickly, then it’s useful to have a guide to get you started. There are methods that are easier to start with. Read on to find some helpful tips about meditation for beginners.

Don’t worry about ‘getting it right’

Understand worrying has no part in meditation. When you notice a worry, just let it go and return to the meditation process – that is the essence of meditation.

You don’t need to worry yourself about ‘getting it right’. This will only happen with practice and as a beginner you’ve had no practice. It’s better to be gentle with yourself and allow your mind to simply relax instead of hanging on to worries. Having your mind focused and free from unwanted thoughts helps your practice go smoothly. If your worries return to mind, simply notice them passing by and let them go. 

Try different techniques

There are different techniques that you can use when practicing meditation. The Breathing Meditation is a good one to start with, as it’s considered as one of the easiest. The main idea of this technique is to simply notice your breathing as if you’ve never noticed it before.  With the right focus this simple act can become fascinating and absorbing.

Another method that you might want to try is a Walking Meditation. This involves focusing your mind on the whole experience of walking while your mind stays quiet and calm. You might have even already practiced this, without being aware about it. Some people say that this can be as simple as ‘taking a walk in the park’.

Many beginners prefer to start with the Guided Meditation. In this particular practice, a voice will guide you. The voice may come from a meditation teacher in front of you, or through a pre-recorded meditation. Some people find this easy to start with, as you’ll only have to simply follow the voice. You’ll be guided through the relaxation procedure and the all the other stages of your practice.

Choose a regular meditation schedule

time-is-running-out-clockIt’s best to start meditating by choosing a regular time for your practice. Understand that meditation is a skill to be learned and mastered. Like any useful skill, it takes time and regular practice to make it a part of your daily habit.

The time you’ll spend meditating depends upon what feels right for you. It can be a good idea to start out meditating for as little as 10-15 minutes each day. Keep in mind that the key is to stay consistent with your schedule.

Over time, you might want to increase the length of your practice. Spend your free time wisely. Rather than spending your breaks on unnecessary distractions, choose to have quality time with yourself instead. Make time to rest your mind. Meditation allows you to get in touch with your ‘real inner self’, and experience a sense of peace from within. This will help reduce the stress and negative thought habits you’ve developed.

What’s most important is to make time for meditation, otherwise it won’t happen.

As you begin your practice, you may change different meditation styles until you find ones that suit you best. It’s best to find an experienced meditation teacher and guide to help you learn more easily, so you can enjoy more of the benefits of meditation more quickly.

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Original article: How to Start Meditating Quickly and Easily.

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4 Meditation Techniques to Help Beginners With Their Journey Through Meditation Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:21:03 +0000 There are many different techniques you might come across when practicing meditation. If you’re a beginner, here are 4 simple techniques that you can experiment with to get you started. With these, you’ll learn how to achieve better control over your mental state, focus and concentration. This article outlines some useful information about the 4 meditation techniques to help you on your journey through meditation.

Deep-Breathing Meditation Technique

Deep breathing can be a simple way to help you relax your body and mind. This is also known as the ‘Stillness’ Meditation Technique. It prepares you for meditation as you focus on your breath, which leads you slowly move into a more meditative state of mind. It helps you learn to control not only your breathing, but also your heart rate.

Slowing and deepening your breath can help reduce your stress and cam your emotions.

water-lily-meditation2It’s important to gently and gradually slow your breathing. If you try to to breath differently without proper guidance and practice can make some people feel light headed or panicky.

Concentration Meditation

This technique helps improve your ability to concentrate. To begin with you focus on your breath to help calm and still your mind and body. When you’ve calmed your mind, you will then choose something to focus on in your mind’s eye. 

A good and simple way to build and check your concentration is to count your breaths. This can be done in many ways. One way is to count to 2 repeatedly, counting ‘one’ on the in breath and ‘2’ on the outbreath. It might sound boring and a bit too easy but you’ll be amazed how interesting the process can be as your mind keeps wanting to wander off somewhere else.

Other counting breath techniques repeatedly count from 1 to 10. Variations include counting both the in and outbreaths, or counting either the in or out breath. As you practice these you’ll get to experience the subtle nuances that come from concentrating in these ways.

Practicing this regularly can lead to improvements in your ability to focus and concentrate. And as you learn to master this technique, it will be easier for you to control your mind from wandering.

Walking Meditation

Walking meditation is one of the most common forms of active meditation. It involves focusing your full attention on the whole body experience of walking. You need to feel and fully experience every step you take as if you’re experiencing it for the first time. With this kind of full attention it leaves little room in your mind for stressful and disturbing thoughts as you continue to walk. 

This can be practiced indoors or out in a park, beach or in your own backyard. If you prefer to practice meditation in an ‘active’ way, this technique can help you hone your meditation skills.

By combining meditation with a physical activity, you’ll get to enjoy the full experience of moving your body as you train your mind to stay focused. Some people say that walking meditation helps them achieve a greater sense of awareness than sitting or lying still to meditate.

In some Zen traditions, walking meditation is done after periods of sitting meditation to prevent legs and bodies from getting stiff or falling asleep. This is how some people can meditate for hours on end, as they’ve learned to break up long periods of seated meditation with movement meditation.

The walking meditation technique works by combining other meditation techniques, including the Deep-Breath Meditation Technique and the Concentration Meditation Technique. It takes lots of practice to do it well as there are far more visual and environmental distractions than if you were just sitting.

If your mind starts to wander, gently bring your mind back to the practice and refocus your awareness to your breath and the sensations in your body as you walk.

Affirmation Meditation

This technique allows you to clear your mind of negative thoughts, reduce unwanted feelings, and focus more on the things that are going right instead. It also can help you learn how to respond usefully in stressful situations. Being in a state of calm helps you give less importance to minor faults and niggles. 

getting-rid-of-stressAn affirmation is a word or sentence that reflects a desired state. Examples of these are “Relax”, “Letting go”, “may I be well”, “may you be well and happy”, etc.

When you focus on the affirmation and cultivate the good feelings connected with it, it can transform your thinking and how you relate to the world. This happens over time with practice as your mind takes on new thinking habits.

Some people want meditation as a way to help them relax. However, it’s important to understand that practicing meditation can be much more than this. It’s about discovering a bit more about yourself, and living your life more fully in the present moment. Realise that engaging yourself more in the ‘here and now’ can bring you closer to experiencing true happiness.

Meditation helps clear your mind and give it a break from constant unwanted thoughts. Being able to rest your mind for a while is an essential skill for mental health. It’s better to find a meditation teacher, or join a meditation class to help you learn to meditate. Understand that an experienced guide can help you learn the process more easily, and help you get the benefits of meditation more quickly as well.

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Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:14:21 +0000 There are lots of known benefits of mindfulness meditation. It’s a powerful tool that helps bring your awareness in the present moment. It allows your mind to rest, and brings you freedom from issues in the past or worries about the future. In this article, you’ll find out about some of the benefits of mindfulness meditation.

Helps clear you mind

Mindfulness meditation helps clear your mind from distracting thoughts. It can allow you to relax and experience a sense of peace from within you. Practicing this technique can help stop your mind from getting bogged down in your daily concerns. It sharpens your memory, improves your ability to focus, and generally make things better for you.

Helps increase self-awareness

Some people claim that they don’t remember their real selves anymore. For them, it seems like they’re out of control and living on ‘autopilot mode’. Mindfulness meditation allows you to enter into a more present state of mind, where you’ll be able to get in touch with what you’re really thinking, feeling and doing. It helps you release your thoughts and emotions, giving you the opportunity to understand yourself better.  

Helps with depression

human-gearsUnderstand that being able to switch off and rest your mind for a while is an essential skill for your mental health. Mindfulness helps change your relationship with constant negative thoughts and feelings. It helps to give some perspective and to put some ‘space’ between you and what’s going on with your thoughts and feelings. This can have a significant impact on your mood.

Promotes better sleep

Practicing mindfulness meditation just before going to bed can help promote better sleep. It quiets your mind and helps you wind down after a hectic day. It reduces your stress and allows you to notice and release some of the tension inside you. This leaves you feeling more at ease, which can help you sleep soundly at night.

Helps with focus and concentration

Mindfulness helps us to keep our mind on one task at a time. Nowadays, many people find themselves multi-tasking. We often try to do several things at once and wonder why we keep losing track of what we’re supposed to be doing. For instance, you might be talking on the phone while writing an email, and eating your lunch at the same time. After a long day at work, you still have to prepare your dinner and take care of your other domestic tasks. Then, you might watch some TV whilst surfing the web or reading a magazine.

A mindfulness practice will help you slow down your racing thoughts so you can focus and concentrate on what’s important to do in that moment.

Helps you spot problems before they become big ones

Given your busy schedule, it’s likely that you hardly ever take the time to ‘check in with yourself’ and find out how you really are feeling. Your mind and body appreciate being ‘listened to’. Often your mind and body give you subtle signals and messages to let you know that all is not well. With mindfulness you’re more likely to be able to notice when things don’t feel right, and do something about it before bigger problems arise.

With all these benefits you might decide to try mindfulness meditation for yourself. Find yourself a meditation teacher or sign up for the mindfulness classes put on by us at Meditation Up North. Being in a class helps motivate you to practice regularly. With a good meditation teacher to guide you, you’ll get to experience the benefits of mindfulness meditation more quickly and easily.

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Mindfulness Meditation – How It Can Change Society Tue, 05 Aug 2014 07:05:23 +0000 People who regularly do mindfulness meditation are generally considered more aware, open-minded, kind, and loving than those who don’t practice at all. Many claim their lives have become richer as a result of their practice. What’s interesting is that many of these people feel the need to help improve the lives of others as well. In this article, you’ll find out more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation and how it’s changing society.

Mindfulness meditation is getting more and more popular nowadays. Many people used to think about it as a practice that’s only good for the monks or hippies. But today, mindfulness meditation is practiced in many different ways. Mindfulness therapy has even been adopted in the medical practice as a complementary technique in treating various health problems.

relaxation-to-relieve-stress-and-depressionToday, it’s much more convenient to learn to meditate than it was before. There are lots of different information sources teachings available to explore. You can also learn about it from local mindfulness workshops or meditation classes in your area, or through online mindfulness training courses. 

It’s been covered on TV programmes, and it’s becoming more socially acceptable to discuss normal daily conversations. People are getting enthused about it because of its many health benefits.

Health benefits of mindfulness meditation:

A growing number of research studies have proven the many health benefits of mindfulness meditation. Some of these are:

Reduced stress

Research shows that mindfulness meditation helps reduce stress significantly. It reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It also gives people a feeling of safe space between them and the stresses they are experiencing.

Reduced risk of heart disease

Most people who meditate have a decreased risk of suffering from stress-related disorders, such as heart disease. A study published in the American Heart Journal revealed that mindfulness meditation helps alleviate symptoms of chronic heart failure.

Helps improve mental health

Mindfulness meditation promotes better mood, and an improved mental and emotional wellbeing. It has been accepted as an important part in treating different mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.  Regular meditators tend to become much happier.

Lower blood pressure

Studies suggest that a regular mindfulness practice can lead to lower blood pressure. As a result, it helps prevent stroke by reducing the risk of hypertension.

Strong immune system

Mindfulness-based interventions are considered effective in building a stronger immune system.  The immune system works more effectively in a less stressed environment. Research shows that it can even helps slow down the aging process. Many long term meditators say they feel and much younger than their age, and many look younger too.

How mindfulness meditation is getting popular in the Western society:

Celebrities, athletes and other famous personalities are talking about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. The Dalai Lama is among many who have been actively engaging the West. He’s worked alongside scientists who’ve done research studies about the practice.

Mindfulness meditation was first practiced in Buddhist communities in the East. Through the years, advancements in technology enabled more communication between the Eastern and Western societies and we in the west are getting on board with the practice. Western scientists are now starting to study and acknowledge what has been known as true for many thousands of years – that meditation is beneficial on many levels to aid mental and physical health.

Mindfulness meditation can be practiced in many ways. It can be detached from religion or any other ancient teachings and still have great value. This makes it compatible with the Western ways of living. At the same, mindfulness meditation may also enhance your spiritual life if you’ve got one. You don’t have to detach yourself from your own spiritual faith in order to get the benefits.

Personal performance

It has been proven effective in promoting an improved sense of wellbeing and helps overall personal development. This means people are better able to concentrate and perform at work to a higher standard.

Large companies are incorporating mindfulness meditation into their health and wellness programs.  

Mindfulness therapy has been proven to be safe and effective in treating various health problems. It has no dangerous side effects. It’s also started to be accepted as a complementary form of therapy to standard medical care. The only challenge with it is it’s a skill that takes time to learn. Today we tend to want a quick fix to, or a distraction from our difficulties. Mindfulness meditation is a job for life, but it’s a very pleasant job once you’ve learned how.

Through research and testimonials, more and more people are starting to understand the importance of practicing mindfulness meditation. As the practice evolves, perhaps it can be the simple solution for a healthier society.

Imagine for a moment if most people got the mindfulness meditation habit – how might our society transform if the majority of people were calm, kind, happy and more productive?

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Original article: Mindfulness Meditation – How It Can Change Society.

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10 Simple Meditation Techniques For Stress Relief Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:39:15 +0000 Meditation has been proven effective in reducing stress. It can help the mind and body achieve a deep state of relaxation. It can also be combines with visualization techniques to help calm the mind. Practicing meditation is a great way of improving your memory, focus and your ability to relax. In this article, you’ll find 10 simple meditation and vizualisation techniques that can help give you relief from stress.

Empty Mind

The key to this technique is to focus all of your mind on your breathing. Each time you notice your mind drifting away, all you need to do is to gently bring your focus back to your breathing.

You may want to count your breaths to begin with to give your mind an anchor to come back to when your mind wanders off.  Usually it’s useful to count up to ten and then begin again at one.  This helps you notice when your mind goes off track (if you’ve got to 14, you’re mind is off track!)

Eventually you can let go of the breathing and immerse yourself in the full sensory experience of breathing, noticing all the many subtle sensations and movements involved. This can become as relaxing as watching gentle waves on the beach, each one different and with it’s own shape and feel.

With practice, your mind becomes wholly engaged in the here and now of your breath and your mind will start to feel as if it’s let go of repetitive thoughts for a short while. This temporary feeling of empty mind can be a very calming experience.

Walking Meditation

sorting-things-outThis meditation involves focusing your mind on the whole sensory experience of walking. As you slowly and mindfully take each step, be aware of your breath. Slowly expand your awareness to your other sensations in the body. What do your clothes feel like on your body? What does it feel like as your foot touches the ground? How does your balance change? How many muscles are involved? As you continue to focus your awareness on your breath and body, you can enjoy and appreciate how amazing the simple act of walking and breathing can be. Continue to simply enjoy this sense of awareness.

Mirror Meditation

Sit comfortably in front of a mirror. Look into your reflection, focusing on your eyes. If you notice any negative thought coming up, simply let them go without judgment.

Imagine you are your own very best friend and that you love you unconditionally, especially as you have to deal with stressful conditions. Give your reflection a kindly smile to let it know it’s been seen, appreciated and acknowledged.

You may want to say something like “may you be well, may you be happy” inside your mind as you give that kindly smile. Or you might need some encouragement saying, “You can do this”.

This can be a very challenging practice as most people aren’t used to being kind to themselves. The key to success it to keep noticing and letting go of the negativity and practice giving kindly, unconditional love and support to yourself.

Mental Rehearsal

Studies suggest that having a mental rehearsal before an event helps improve your actual performance. Mental rehearsal is done by focusing your mind on a particular event that you want to go well. For example, meeting with a person you find difficult or stressful to be around.

Visualize the event as you would like it to be, as if you’re actually there seeing it through your own eyes. Imagine having an easy relaxed conversation, with you feeling good, calm and centred. Rehearse this imagining it’s going better than you might expect, with both of you happy. Repeat this several times, instead of just worrying about a future situation.

Breathing In Colors

Sit in a comfortable way with your back in an upright position. And then choose any color that you like. Pick those that make you feel relaxed. Breathe gently and slowly. As you breathe in, imagine breathing in the color. Continue to breathe in until your body and mind seems filled with the color. Choose another color and repeat the process.

Breathing In A Particular Smell

Understand that your sense of smell can easily change your internal states. Think of a smell that makes you feel good. Slowly imagine breathing in this smell deeply. Notice how it makes you feel and the sensations attached to the memory of that smell. Continue to enjoy the feeling of having your body ‘filled’ with this smell.

After this imagine your body filled with fragrant essences that you effortlessly give out as you go through the day. Imagine that everywhere you go is left ‘a nicer place to be’ as a result of your visit.

Candle Flame Meditation

Light a candle and focus your mind on the flame. Simply notice the movements of the candle flame. Gently close your eyes and continue to focus on the candle flame in your mind’s eye. Whenever you lose the mental image, open your eyes and simply observe the candle flame. If thoughts come to mind, simply watch them pass by. If you prefer, you may burn these thoughts in the flame.

Eating Meditation

eating-healthy-for-mind-and-bodyTake a moment to be grateful of having food on your table. Slowly take the time to appreciate the effort taken by many people to create the food and the room you are in. Appreciate the shape and colour of the food and then slowly start to eat. Chew your food slowly, noticing all the taste sensations. Also be fully aware that your food is giving nourishment not only to your body, but to your mind as well.

Being mindful of what you eat helps you savor the taste of your food with every bite. This can turn a simple meal into a delightful meditative experience.

Smile Meditation

As you start, think about something that genuinely makes you smile. It can be a funny event, or an image of something or somebody that can bring a smile to your face. Pay close attention to your smile and the sensations created as you smile. Then imagine it slowly spreading over your face and into the rest of your body. As your smile begins to feel real, you may feel like laughing. Feel free to do so. Breathe gently and continue to focus your awareness on your full smile, until your entire body feels like one big smile.

This technique is easy to practice, and is considered effective in helping you feel better quickly. Simply wearing a smile on your face promotes the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ into your blood stream. This helps reduce stress and restore your mind and body.

Smiling can even ‘trick’ your brain into thinking that you’re happy, even when you’re not. Wearing a fake smile for a short time even has a small effect decreasing your stress. Simply lifting the corners of your mouth can help lift your mood and make you feel calmer

Special Place

Think of a special place that makes you feel relaxed, comfortable and secure. Create a clear picture of this in your mind as if you were there seeing it with your own eyes. Imagine yourself being in this place and enjoying the good feelings it evokes. With practice this will calm your mind and body almost as well as if you were really there.

Understand that meditation and visualization are skills that need to be learned and practiced. All of these different techniques can be done easily. Understand that like any other skill, it takes regular practice for you to get better.

So, make an effort to meditate regularly. Have a good go at practicing while on the train, or in a waiting room, or whenever you feel the need to relax. Soon it will become second nature to put a smile on your face, to practice gratitude, to focus your mind and to simply enjoy living your life in the ‘here and now’.

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Original article: 10 Simple Meditation Techniques For Stress Relief.

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New Mindfulness Meditation Classes Up North Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:26:13 +0000 New Mindfulness meditation classes in Sheffield. ‘Meditation up North’ has been set up with the express purpose of making mindfulness meditation available to ordinary people without them having to take on extra ordinary beliefs or sit in weird postures for long periods of time.

New mindfulness meditation classes are starting in Sheffield.

It’s now well known that mindfulness and meditation are good for us. Regular practice can improve mental and physical health, relationships, concentration and even business productivity. For most people the challenge starts when they’re trying to learn it. Meditation up North has been launched to help people learn core ​mindfulness meditation skills so they can quickly reap the health and wellness benefits. It’s been established by John Nolan and Joy Taylor, Sheffield natural health practitioners . Their long-standing clients are capable, successful people, who want to improve their performance and get the most out of their life. John said “Many of our clients wanted the benefits of meditation but didn’t want to spend time in religious or spiritual environments to learn it. They just wanted to quickly get to the core of what's needed, so they could just get on with it, This led to us developing courses that can help those who want to quickly master the necessary skills.”

Meditation has been taught for thousands of years all over the planet. However much of what has been said about the subject is irrelevant to a person living in a modern Western city. The objective of meditation up North is to extract the most useful, relevant techniques that are easy to understand, learn and practice.

Without question ​mindfulness meditation is amongst the biggest breakthrough to help people improve physical and mental health. It also tends to make people happier. Meditation need not be hugely time-consuming, 20 minutes a day can be enough for most people to experience the benefits. Joy said “If a pharmaceutical company had produced a drug with the known benefits of meditation then all of us would be wanting to take it!” Meditation up north helps people learn the basic core mindfulness skills and set up a daily habit of meditating that fits into a busy, hectic life. To find out more visit Meditation Up North

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Why Is Mindfulness Meditation Becoming Popular In The West? Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:44:51 +0000 More and more people in the western world are practicing mindfulness and meditation. If you’re among the many that are new to meditation, then you might understand how challenging it can be. There are many ways to practice meditation, and there are lots of different techniques to use. This often means that beginners find it difficult to work out where to start.

In spite of the difficulties around learning it, many are still interested because of its many health benefits. In this article, you’ll find out more about mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a secular form of meditation. It originated from Insight Meditation, which is said to be the oldest form of meditation. This practice was developed as a way to help people achieve freedom from their suffering. This can be done by practicing mindfulness or developing an increased alive-and-freesense of self-awareness. This is because it’s often our negative views of the world and ourselves that triggers persistent unwanted thoughts and emotions. Being mindful can help us loosen the grip that unwanted thoughts might have on us.

Most people believe that the key to happiness is to indulge in positive emotions, and to avoid the negative. This is an impossible and futile task that can drain all your energy and keep you from really experiencing and appreciating life.

It’s important to understand that all human emotions are only temporary. If you can learn to make space for all of them as they pass through your awareness, they will soon pass with little effort.

Mindfulness meditation helps you become aware of the true nature of ‘reality’.

It teaches you to simply notice what’s going on around you and within your mind and body in the present moment. This helps lift the fog that creates the darkness and gloominess in your life.

This mindfulness practice trains your mind. It’s a mental discipline that brings you freedom from pain by helping you find a sense of peace and acceptance within yourself.

3 Main Parts of Mindfulness Meditation:


Mindfulness is about being aware of what’s happening in the ‘here and now’. It takes concentration and awareness to help you enter into this deep resourceful state of mind. This is when you’ll be able to connect with your inner or real self (the self that doesn’t tend to run around like a headless chicken when stressed). It can lead you to experience inner peace and knowing, which brings you closer to experiencing true happiness.


Concentration is the ability to keep your mind focused on a single thing. It can be your breathing, bodily sensations, or a mental image. Practicing this helps you improve your focus, which makes it easier for you to achieve a clearer mind.


love-hands-formationLoving-kindness is a concept from Buddhist teachings. It’s also known as unconditional love. This kindly well-wishing can be shared with anyone, even to those who you don’t really know.

It’s about simply having an attitude of loving kindness towards everyone, without expecting anything in return. It has been found though, that whenever you practice this, it can transform your life and your relationships.

The place to start using loving-kindness is towards yourself first. Being kind to yourself is essential for a happier and more resourceful state of mind.

The Power of Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation can be a powerful tool for achieving an improved overall wellbeing. What’s important is for you to make time for your practice, otherwise it won’t happen. The key to achieving its benefits more quickly is to stay consistent. Understand that it takes regular practice for you to get better. Keep in mind that your time and effort will be well rewarded with a greater sense of peace within yourself. This is what most people yearn for, which many have never achieved.

Reasons behind its popularity

A growing number of research studies have proven the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation. More and more scientists confirm its many health benefits. Researchers suggest that mindfulness meditation helps people overcome different kinds of health problems. It’s found to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, alleviate symptoms of depression and so much more. It’s also found to help enhance memory, self-insight, problem solving skills, and creativity.

Keep in mind that mindfulness meditation will help you experience a greater sense of wellbeing and peace within yourself. This rarely happens straight away, but with regular practice and the help of an experienced guide, you’ll begin to enjoy some peaceful and thoroughly enjoyable new life experiences.

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How Effective Communication Skills Can Help Solve Relationship Problems Fri, 18 Jul 2014 08:28:24 +0000 The key to maintaining healthy relationships is to constantly communicate well with each other. Understand that when you communicate, it isn’t just about expressing how you feel. It’s about being able to listen carefully and understand as well. Relationship problems at work or at home can be very stressful. So it’s important that you learn to communicate effectively with those whom you have relationship problems with. Read on to learn more about how to develop your communication skills to help you improve your relationships.

It’s important to understand that problems often arise when no one in the relationship is listening. Many people complain about not being listened to, and that’s where the conflict starts. Most employees wish that their boss or colleagues would hear them out. This makes them feel respected and recognized. communicationAt home, people wish that their spouses would listen and appreciate what they have to say.

There are so many people out there who just wish they could be simply be listened to. They long to be recognized, instead of having others always taking charge of things and not taking their needs into consideration.

Parents often wish their kids would turn off their gadgets, and simply have a decent conversation. Some kids also wish their parents would spend more time listening to them, instead of always being busy with work or other things.

Listening is a 2-way street. In order to communicate effectively, both people in the relationship need to listen to each other. When you listen, make sure that you pay close attention and suspend any judgments or urges to butt-in. Try giving the other person a chance to express their feelings or thoughts before you share your opinion. And then ask them to clarify what they’ve said before you make assumptions.

Whenever you have a conversation with others, try to listen more, instead of planning ahead about what you’re going to say. When someone else is talking, listen carefully and don’t say anything. This includes not taking to yourself on the inside of your head. Focus your attention wholly on what they have to say. Be aware of their words, tone of their voice and their emotions while they’re talking. You can ask questions at the end to help you understand their point better.

Without good communication, there’ll be a higher chance for both you and the other person in the relationship to make false assumptions. You might think that you’re right. However, assumptions are often based on unconscious thoughts or feelings.

Many people become unhappy as a result of making false assumptions about others. This is especially true whenever there’s a heated argument between two people. Anger can cloud your head with negative thoughts and can cause stress. This can lead to an even bigger gap in the relationship. So, it’s better to ask the other person to clarify their point, instead of believing your own assumptions.

There may be challenges in your relationships along the way, but keep in mind that there’s always a solution to every problem. Find ways to improve your communicating and listening skills. This can go a long way in helping you bridge the gap in your relationships. Having the ability to communicate and listen effectively are essential skills to learn if you want your relationships with others to be great.  Nobody else can improve your relationships for you, so enjoy learning to improve these skills and see how much better your life becomes.

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Original article: How Effective Communication Skills Can Help Solve Relationship Problems.

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Relaxation Techniques When You’re Busy Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:38:53 +0000 There are different techniques to help you relax whenever you’re busy. Like other useful techniques, it takes time to learn how to practice them. Read on to learn more about some simple relaxation techniques that you can use – even when you’re busy.

Breathe steadily and simply notice your breath.

Taking steady breaths is a simple way to help you feel relaxed almost immediately. Understand that taking fuller breaths helps reduce tension, more than taking shorter, shallower breaths. Being aware of your breath helps to relax and focus your mind, without you having to stop anything that you’re doing. To help you remember, you can post a little note saying “how’s your breathing?” on your desk, computer or your car.  

Make a note with the phrase ‘feeing relaxed and at ease’, and post it somewhere that you can always see.

Simply seeing this often helps guide your mind towards thinking that this statement is true. Over time, this can help make you shift into a more relaxed attitude that makes you feel more at ease.

Find pictures of nature and other relaxing sceneries, and post them where you can easily see them.

Human beings are natural creatures and thrive in natural surroundings. If you spend most of your time indoors place images of beautiful natural images around you.

You might find it interesting to make a ‘relaxation vision board’, and create a collage of relaxing images and words there. Take a moment each day to look at these to help you relax.

Take a walk outdoors.

scenic-view-place-to-relax-and-meditateSpending time out in the sun and fresh air can be a great way to help you relax. This can be a great way to break up the habit of a busy lifestyle. Do what you can to spend a few minutes each day outside. Breathe fresh air, and simply notice the sounds and the beautiful colors around you. For instance, if you’re living in a city like Sheffield, it’s usual to be able to see trees and hear birds, even in the city.

You might not usually find it relaxing to walk out in the busy streets. If you’re focusing on the traffic, rubbish or crowds it won’t be such a good experience. If you place your attention on the breeze, the space, the greenery, the birds or clouds passing by, it could be just the ‘mini-break’ you needed.

If you can’t take a walk outside, you can still take the time to simply imagine what it’s like to be outdoors. Your mind will still get the ‘wellbeing hit’ from a vividly imagined beautiful place.

Be here now

Another way of helping you relax is to paying attention to what’s going on around you in the present moment. This is called a mindfulness practice. Engage all your senses and appreciate your ability to let go of worries, if only for a moment.

No time to relax?

Understand that everybody (that includes you) needs to find time for relaxation. When you’re busy, this can seem almost impossible. Finding time in your diary for relaxation can seem to add to the stress you already have. However, it’s important understand that making time for relaxation is just as important as your other appointments in your calendar.

It can be a good idea to book slots in your diary for a relaxing massage or an acupuncture treatment. You may want to practice a guided relaxation exercise, or have a good go at trying different meditation techniques.

Take control of your relaxation timetable

If you think that your current lifestyle is too stressful, make the decision to shift to a healthier lifestyle that includes relaxation.

Find ways to reduce stressors. Let go of unnecessary things in your life that are causing you too much stress. Make an effort to eat healthily, and let go of some unhealthy eating habits. Most importantly, understand that your mind and body need a good rest. So, get yourself a proper amount of sleep at night and find time to simply enjoy a relaxing treat once in a while.

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Original article: Relaxation Techniques When You’re Busy.

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7 Great Tools For Stress Management Training Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:05:15 +0000 There are loads of things you can do to help manage your own stress.  It makes sense to educate yourself about good stress management techniques, especially when you feel that you’ve been under a constant ‘stress overload’ and you need stress help.

It’s really useful for you to identify what things and situations are particularly stressful for you. Then you can start to work out a few effective ways of managing these. In this article, you’ll find out about 7 great tools for stress management training.

1. Meditation

This is a brilliant and powerful tool that helps you clear your mind and get some space between you and your stressful thoughts and feelings. It gives you the space you need to relax and be able to see your situation more clearly. This helps you think more clearly, and be less reactive in stressful situations.

2. Resting on purpose

Understand that your body and mind needs a good amount of rest for them to be able to work properly. If you’re always on the go from dawn ‘til dusk you’ll be over-tired and overly stressed as a result.

lying-buddha-meditationDon’t feel guilty about taking regular short ‘stop’ breaks in the day. It’s good for your health. You may want to use a short guided mindfulness exercise to help you create an effective ‘refuel’ pause break.

3. Sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation is a common cause of stress. Getting a proper amount of sleep at night helps you feel calmer and more able to deal with the day.

If you find that you’re not getting good sleep, prioritise doing something about changing your sleep habits.

4. Supplements

There are various nutritional and herbal supplements you can take that may help reduce stress. These include,GABA, Magnesium, B vitamins, 5-HTP, Valerian root and St. John’s Wort.

Herbs can help you feel less stressed more naturally than taking drugs to calm you down. However, taking natural supplements requires you to do good research and take advice from an herbalist or a nutritional practitioner.

5. Exercise

This is a great tool that can help reduce your stress and help you feel better all round. Increased physical activity helps reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline.  Regular exercise promotes the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain, giving you a ‘natural high’. Some people claim that they feel less stressed almost immediately after a good workout.

6. Have a good Laugh

As the famous saying goes, ‘Laughter is the best medicine’. Enjoying a good laugh is another excellent way of helping you de-stress. Find simple reasons to laugh, and spend more time with people who make you laugh. Perhaps, you might even try to see the funny side of what’s causing you stress.

If you’re short of ideas, animals and children can be a source of innocent amusement. Failing that, try calling an old friend and have a good laugh about things you used to do together. If you’re struggling for inspiration you may even want to try a laughter yoga class.

7. Breathing on purpose

Noticing and connecting with your breathing is a simple way to make you feel relaxed and calm. Plus, you can do this anytime anywhere. Understand that ‘stress-busting breathing’ isn’t just about taking in a deep breath. It’s also about breathing out and releasing all the tension and stress inside you.

It’s important to understand that no one’s built to be under constant stress, including you. It weakens your immune system, and increases your risk of suffering from both mental and physical health problems. So, make sure to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break when you need one.

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Original article: 7 Great Tools For Stress Management Training.

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What Is Mindfulness Meditation? Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:50:12 +0000 Mindfulness meditation has recently become extremely popular. This is because practice it’s been used successfully as an effective intervention for stress, depression, chronic pain and other health problems.

Mindfulness meditation is simply described as a state of non-judgmental awareness. It’s about being aware of your thoughts and emotions in the present moment. It allows you to fully experience what’s happening around you, and brings you to a deeper understanding of your actions and feelings.

Mindfulness can also be defined as “a deep present moment attention, on purpose, without judging or evaluating the experience.” It means accepting each moment as it is in a non-judgmental way. Psychologist Daniel Goleman describes mindfulness as “the ability to notice the physical uprising of our emotions in a neutral way, using this information as a tool to respond skillfully.” The mindfulness practice teaches you how to respond appropriately to situations, rather than to react in a negative way. It gives you the space to think more clearly, rather than to react automatically without awareness.

mindfulness-mind-at-peaceAccording to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous mindfulness meditation teacher and founder of the stress reduction program, called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.

Yale University’s goBlue Labs pointed out that it takes some work to be mindful. But with regular practice, it will become second nature to get your mind focused. There comes a point when you’ll eventually master the skill of refocusing your mind from wandering back to the present moment. This helps you to stay relaxed and focused, allowing you to enjoy living your life more in the present moment.

If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness meditation, it’s a good idea to join a meditation class. You might also want to look for the mindfulness meditation courses we run at Meditation up North.

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Original article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation?.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Meditation Thu, 19 Jun 2014 07:01:53 +0000 If you’re just beginning to educate yourself about meditation, then this is a good place to start. This article contains the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about meditation.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a state of awareness achieved by training your mind to focus. It can eventually induce a state of deep relaxation, where you’ll be able to gently pay close attention to the ‘here and now’ in a non-judgmental way.

It’s a powerful tool that can help clear your mind and give it a break from constant unwanted thoughts. It provides some much needed ‘head space’, for the mind to rest; creating a ‘pause’ from today’s full-on busy lifestyle.

mindfulness-lighthouse-inside-the-headThere are many different techniques used when practicing meditation. Some require peace and quiet, while others require you to engage in the surrounding background sounds or music. Other forms of meditation involve making repeated sounds or ‘mantras’; visualizing mental images; doing mindful physical activities or participating in various different rituals. All of these share the same goal, which is to allow the mind and body to relax, come together, and experience a sense of inner peace.

What’s the best form of meditation for me?

The best way to work this out is too try a few different styles. It’s fun to learn about the different forms of meditation. Once you’ve learned about them, there’s usually a certain type that seems to ‘fit’ you best.

Trust your gut feelings and have a good go at trying some out. If it feels wrong, then try another approach.

One way of working out which type of meditation is best for you is to work out your reasons why you want to learn. For example – Do you need to rest your mind and relax your body? Do you feel the need to let go of your negative thoughts or emotions? Are you looking for a way to help you find inner peace? Do you want to connect more with positive emotions? Do you want more focus? Do you want to learn more about your true self? There is a meditation practice to help you towards all of these personal goals.

As you begin your practice, you may discover some of the many other benefits of meditation, such as having an increased sense of self-awareness, better memory, improved focus, finding your life’s purpose, healing of the both the body and mind, and an improved quality of life.

How often should I meditate?

For best results it’s useful to aim for a daily meditation practice. That way it can become a habit, (like brushing your teeth) that requires little effort.

To do this you may have to start small % minutes is a good start, if you have no time. Then you can work up from there as you get more experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to ‘force’ yourself to meditate. It simply takes gentle kind encouragement. Think of it as a treat, rather than a chore. Otherwise it can feel like an ‘obligation’ that you start to resist and resent.

Most importantly, you need to make time for your practice otherwise it won’t happen. This means putting an appointment in your diary with yourself and turning up to the meeting.

The key to benefitting from meditation is to stay consistent. Understand that it takes lots of practice to learn and master the art. It’s better to meditate every day, even for just 5 minutes, than for an hour only once a month.

Many people claim that doing a brief morning meditation helps start the day right. Spending as little as 5-10 minutes can have a significant effect that lasts throughout the day.

The early morning is usually an ideal time to direct your focus and energy towards your intentions for that day. 

A brief evening meditation can help you wind down from a busy day. Keeping up with your daily responsibilities can be so stressful, and can easily get you overwhelmed and out of balance. Meditation can be an excellent way of reducing your stress, and recovering your balance. 

How do I know if I’m meditating correctly?

If at the end of the session you’re able to congratulate yourself on your efforts you’ve made, that’s a good sign that you’re doing it right. It’s important to understand that it’s quite difficult to practice meditation and get it ‘wrong’.

Meditation is about experiencing what’s there in your experience. You simply can’t experience ‘what’s there for you’ incorrectly. Where you might go wrong however, is to start making judgments about those experiences.

Another mistake is to ‘try too hard’ to meditate perfectly. Resist becoming a meditation critic. If you’ve meditated, you’ve done a great job. It’s that simple.

Understand that meditation can eventually help you learn how to ‘let go’ of so many things that you don’t need – stress or tension, ‘mental chatter’, fears and doubts, judgments, negative thoughts or emotions and unhealthy habits.

relaxation-flowers-on-the-fieldWith meditation you can begin to see just how much you’re ‘holding on to’ that no longer serves you. It helps you notice these and in time you’ll be able to more easily let them go. With regular practice, you’ll learn the fine art of letting go. This leads to less stress, less tension, and fewer obstacles and less resistance, as you get on with your life.  

Keep in mind that practicing meditation ‘correctly’ isn’t something that you should worry about. Instead, think of meditation as a time for you to rest. Find a glimmer of inner peace and calm, and a space that allows you to simply release and let go of unwanted thoughts and emotions.

If you’ve just had a tough day, it may take a while to get yourself into a meditative state. Just be patient, take your time and trust the process you’ve learned. If you find your mind drifting away, gently bring your focus back to your breathing. You don’t need to resist. Simply notice your thoughts when they arise and let them go.

Does meditation “work” right away?

The answer is both yes and no.

The purpose of meditation is to give you some ‘head space’ away from your usual busy autopilot thoughts and activities. If you’ve kept your appointment with yourself for meditation, then you’ve taken a pause from your usual busy life. This means it’s already worked by you simply turning up and doing it.

The quality and content of your meditation will vary greatly depending on your mental states and the form you are practicing. You might be fortunate enough to experience peace, calm and relaxation straight away, or you might sometimes find the meditation a struggle to begin with.

The key thing to remember is the more you do it, the more good experiences you’ll get.

Meditation is a skill. Don’t expect to achieve a crystal clear mind and total inner peace straight away. It takes regular practice before you’ll reap some of the benefits of meditation. Over time, you’ll encounter highs and lows as you progress. The good news is that you’ll continually be moving forward as you stay consistent with your practice. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to stay focused.

It’s important to understand that having ‘expectations’ around your meditation experience can become a hindrance. There’s wisdom in just seeing how things are, rather than trying to make them a certain way.

Meditation is a great space you can create where there’s no need to struggle, judge and control things. Keep in mind that it’s best to simply relax, let go and be patient.

I sometimes find myself getting caught up in my thoughts during meditation. What do I need to do?

Firstly, you don’t need to worry about this. It’s natural, especially if you’re new to meditation or when you’re stressed out. It’s actually a normal process of meditation for your mind to wander.

It’s not wrong for your mind to ‘think’, as ‘thinking’ is it’s normal job. Understand that even when you’ve mastered the art and skill of meditation you’ll always have a wandering mind from time to time.

So remember that it’s futile to worry about it. Instead, when you notice it happening, congratulate yourself for being aware, then gently put your attention back on the meditation practice.

Focusing your awareness on your breathing is a great way of shifting your mind away from your busy thoughts. Mindful breathing helps you relax your mind and body quickly. It’s also a great way to improve your clarity of mind.

If thoughts come to mind, simply observe without engaging in them. Some people visualize their thoughts as clouds passing by and moving freely, or, cars driving by on a road. Just let them simply pass by, and then return your focus back to the center of your awareness. 

My mind seems to get in the way of my meditation, especially when I’m worried about something? What can I do?

It takes time to clear your mind and release your worries. But, what’s important is to understand that this can be done. The key is not to resist your thoughts, simply notice them, be kind to yourself, and just be patient.

I find myself easily falling asleep during meditation. How can I deal with this?

It’s important to understand that your body needs a proper amount of sleep. Meditation is designed to direct your awareness to what you need at the moment. With today’s busy lifestyle, sometimes all we need is a good sleep to keep as balanced or healthy.

If you meditate in a lying position, then you’re more likely to nod off if you’re short of sleep. If you need to sleep, you need to sleep. Giving yourself the space for a quick snooze could be a perfect act of kindness to yourself.

businessman-walking-on-the-streetTo reduce the chance of dropping off you might want to try a different meditation posture like sitting or standing.  During meditation, it’s important that you stay comfortable and fully awake and alert at the same time.

Sit with your back upright, and your feet flat on the floor. You may use a chair, stool, pillow or cushion for support. Some people don’t like the idea of using a chair, and prefer to sit on the floor. This is also fine, if you’ve got a flexible and strong back, hips and knees. If anything ever starts hurting, change your position. If you find a position keeps you comfortable and alert, then have a good go at it.

Mindfulness meditation can be done when walking. You may prefer to learn a walking meditation practice to prevent you disengaging from your meditation and falling asleep.

These are just some of the many questions newcomers to meditation have. I hope these have been useful for you.

It’s a good idea to continue educating yourself more about meditation and its many benefits. It’s useful to find a good meditation teacher to help you learn more easily. Most importantly, make sure to make time for it. Practice regularly, and soon you’ll begin to enjoy some wonderful and peaceful experiences.

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Original article: Frequently Asked Questions About Meditation.

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Hypnosis, Guided Imagery And Guided Meditation Mon, 16 Jun 2014 06:01:51 +0000 Hypnosis, guided imagery and guided meditation are all similar. All of these use language as a tool to help you change your state of being. All are also capable of inducing a deep state of deep relaxation. Each method can be useful if used in an appropriate context. In this article, you’ll find an outline of what these 3 processes are.


The term hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypnos”, which means sleep. This can be misleading as a person in hypnotic trance is in an altered state that’s very different to being asleep.

hypnotherapy-meditationWhen using hypnosis, a person is verbally guided by a practitioner, hypnotist or a hypnotherapist. The practitioner uses hypnotic language to induce an altered state, which is referred to as a trance state.

When in a trance state, the subject is relaxed and alert to suggestions from the hypnotherapist.

In this state it may be possible for the subject to access memories and thought patterns that they are not usually consciously aware of.

The therapist will use this as a window of opportunity to plant new ideas and more resourceful states into the subjects mind. These suggestions are in line with what the subject wants to get from the session.

With hypnotherapy, the hypnotic effect is combined with therapy to help you let go of negative thoughts, habits or emotions. A hypnotherapist may also introduce suggestions that will help you create new and useful thoughts, feelings or behaviors.

A common myth about hypnosis is that it can be used to make people do what they don’t want to do. This is false. Hypnosis can only be used to help a person do what they really want to do. It does this by removing any mental ‘blocks’ that have got in the way of progress.

Guided Imagery

The practice of guided imagery is similar to hypnosis, as it induces a focused trance-like state, which helps to engage a person’s imagination.

It’s often used to induce a state of creativity along with mental and physical relaxation.

Guided imagery involves using your imagination to create mental images and landscapes inside your mind. It’s just the same process as daydreaming, with somebody’s voice to guide you around the exact nature of the daydreams.

It helps you create a more peaceful state of being. It’s a bit like going on holiday in your mind. With practice you can escape the ‘here and now’ and the constant worries, and enjoy taking a journey through your imagination

It uses different techniques, such as visualization and engaging your inner senses.  A therapist may direct you to see through your mind a certain situation like walking on a beach, in a forest, or up a flight of stairs.

scenic-view-retreat-getawayGuided imagery is used because your mind responds in a similar way to both real and imagined experience. This means if you’re nowhere near a real beach or forest, you can always create a virtual beach or forest in your imagination for your mind to enjoy.

Guided imagery allows you to bring forward a sense of insight and creativity through your imagination. This can help create more resourceful mental landscapes.

Guided Meditation

In this technique, a meditation teacher will verbally guide you through a meditation process.

A meditation teacher or a guided meditation recording is invaluable in your early days of meditating to help you keep your mental focus. Our minds need training to stay focused, and this takes time and gentle guidance.

Without guidance a meditation session can quickly turn into a daydream or worry or planning session.

Guided meditation helps you get back to your meditation more quickly when your healthy active mind start to wander off. The main purpose of the guidance is to quickly bring you quickly back to what you’re supposed to be focusing on in the here and now.

Hypnosis, guided imagery and meditation are all used to work with the mind but are very different in their nature. Often the three are mixed up and used together, and sometimes this can work well.

If you understand and recognise the differences between the processes it will help reduce confusion and put your mind at rest.

Keep in mind that if you need help, there are many good teachers out there to guide you. With an experienced guide, you’ll be able to go through the process more easily.

If you join different meditation classes or a meditation group, you’ll find that there are many styles of meditation. If you don’t get on with a particular stlye, try a different teacher with a Meditation programme and style that better suits your needs.

At Meditation Up North, we focus on guiding meditation masterfully using precise language. We know the difference between the techniques and we know when to use them (we promise you won’t be asked to imagine riding a unicorn in an enchanted forest in our meditation classes!). This means with us you’ll be able to enjoy the process and ‘fruits’ meditating more quickly.

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Original article: Hypnosis, Guided Imagery And Guided Meditation.

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How to Meditate – Important Tips For Beginners Wed, 11 Jun 2014 07:08:29 +0000 When you’re trying to learn to meditate, it’s natural to have questions on your mind about what to do and what to feel.  Here are some useful pointers for you when practicing meditation.

Make a plan to meditate at the same time each day

man-meditating-in-workPracticing meditation at the same time each day allows you to attain a meditative state of mind more easily. Meditation will quickly become one of your daily habits, if you stick with your plan to practice regularly.

Create your own space to meditate

It’s important to book space in your diary for meditation. Think of it as an important meeting with yourself and clear all other people and distractions from that space.  

Find a special place

It’s important to create a special place in your home for meditation, where you can feel calm, comfortable and relaxed. You might want to put your chair in a quiet corner or if you’re fortunate you might even have an entire room just for meditation.

It can be a good idea to use pillows, mats or cushions to help you find your most comfortable position for meditation.

You may have walked into a church, temple or a similar sacred place, and noticed how the atmosphere feels calmer than other public buildings. Many of these places have quiet areas that are specially designed to support people and inspire quiet contemplation. Just like walking into a church, sitting in the same special meditation place at home can help you feel settled more easily. With regular practice, you’ll find it easier to enjoy your meditations.  

Create your own ritual

Creating your own rituals can help you prepare yourself before meditating. Some people find it easier to practice meditation after taking a warm bath at night. Others may prefer to practice at dawn, when everything around them seems peaceful.

Before you begin to meditate, you might want to light a candle, burn some incense, or do some body stretches to prepare yourself and help change your state to one of ‘non-doing’.

Some people listen to soothing music or chant a mantra to help quieten their mind for meditation.

Find a comfortable position

It’s important to find a position where you can stay comfortable and stay alert. If you prefer to sit on a chair, sit with your spine upright and your head up. You can use pillows for support, or a cushion to sit on. Some people prefer to lie down while meditating. This helps them feel more relaxed and focused. However, it’s common for beginners to fall asleep when meditating. If you find yourself easily drifting off to sleep in this position, then it’s best to sit upright.

Set how long you’ll meditate

It can be a good idea for beginners to start out doing as little as 10-15 minutes each day. The time you spend meditating is all up to you. There’s no point in forcing yourself to meditate for long periods if you’re not yet ready to do so. What’s important is that you sit for as long as you planned as best you can.

time-is-running-out-clockKeep in mind that the key is to practice it every day. With consistent practice, you’ll reap significant long-term benefits.

As you continue to practice regularly, you might find it natural to extend your meditation time. You can add 5 minutes each week, until you reach up to 25-30 minutes each practice. Some seasoned meditators say that this is how long it takes to settle your mind without causing too much stress on your body. Most advanced meditators spend an hour or more each day practicing meditation.

Be patient and consistent

Meditation is good exercise for the mind. With all forms of exercise it’s best to start small, get a habit in place around it, then increase the duration and intensity over time.

If you try to do too much too soon you’ll end up disheartened and demotivated. The greatest gift to your self is small, manageable daily practice. Where you turn up with a kind and patient attitude towards yourself as you learn.

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Original article: How to Meditate – Important Tips For Beginners.

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Focus Your Mind – It Will Clear Your Path to Success Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:54:06 +0000 It’s useful to know how to keep your mind focused, as it helps you see things more clearly. Having a clear and focused state of mind allows you to appreciate what’s happening around you in the present moment. It helps keep your mind alert, so you can take hold of opportunities. In this article, you’ll learn more about the importance of having a clear and focused mind in achieving a better life.

scattered thoughtsHaving a clear mind that’s focused on the ‘here and now’ is what it takes to prepare yourself in achieving your goals. It empowers your subconscious mind to lead you there. But if you don’t keep your mind focused on the ‘here and now’, you’ll only be stopping yourself from seeing the opportunities around you. Distracting thoughts about the past and the future keep you from engaging with, and appreciating life in the present moment. Understand that it’s only when you focus your mind on the ‘here and now’ that you’re able to learn how to best act within your current situation.

You may already understand the difference between having a clear mind and a so-called ‘normal’ confused/chaotic mind. You may even have experienced the differences between having and not having a clear, focused mind. However, it’s important to realise that cultivating your clarity of mind takes time and effort.

There’s a big difference between knowing about something and really knowing something. You’ll only really know it when you’ve made to time to learn how to do it.

It’s really important to understand that spending time and making an effort to cultivate a clearer mind is more than worth it. Spending just 5-10 minutes each day cultivating mindfulness can dramatically affect how you’re able to tackle the rest of the day. Regularly practice helps create a path to a happier and a more successful life. 

Meditation – a tool that can help you learn how to focus your mind

Meditation is a practice that involves simple exercises to help cultivate focus and clarity of mind. It’s a form of mental training that develops your ability to keep your mind alert and focused.

Generally, it often takes a few minutes to get your mind used to keeping it’s attention on what’s really happening in the present moment. Some people might assume that it’s automatic for them to be aware about the ‘here and now’, but research proves otherwise. It’s now common knowledge that most people spend most of their time thinking about things other than what’s actually going on around them.

Meditation is a form of mental exercise and mind training

Many people understand the importance of physical exercise. Lots of people go to the gym or enjoy other forms of regular exercise and feel the benefits. It’s a sad fact that for many more people, their good intentions around getting fit are often overpowered by laziness.
It’s important to realize that mental exercises like meditation also need regular commitment and self-discipline for you to enjoy the benefits. Meditation is a simple skill to learn, but it’s not easy. It takes focus and regular practice to make a difference in your life.

Useful ideas to help you meditate

Not all meditation needs you to sit still. Think of activities that might help you ‘get in the zone’ or to be in a peaceful state of mind. Some of the common physical activities that can be incorporated with active meditation include walking, jogging or tai chi.

It can also be a good idea to listen mindfully to some soothing music. Allow the music to absorb all your attention. This can be a great way to help calm your mind, which will make it easier for you to focus on the ‘here and now’.

Some people try to meditate while doing their daily tasks. However, it’s important to understand that when you’re doing something over and over again, it’s more likely that your mind will start to daydream or worry to relieve the boredom. It increases the chances of having your mind wander around instead of keeping it focused. It can be a good idea to do routine tasks in a different way. Making slight changes can make you pay more attention to what you’re doing.

relaxing-stress-freeAnother helpful thing you can do is to spend your breaks wisely. Instead of wasting them on doing unnecessary things, go somewhere peaceful, even for just a few minutes. Simply get yourself in a comfortable position, and pay close attention to what’s going on around you in the ‘here and now’. Focus on what you hear, feel, smell, taste and see. Find a balance between staying alert and feeling relaxed, and allow yourself to be fully present.

Understand that you need to take regular breaks to stay sharp and clear. Learn to clear your mind by letting go of negative thoughts from the past, unnecessary worries about the future and other distractions. Simply focus on the present moment and relax. Achieving a clear, calm mind is the key to developing the right attitude to help you be your best.

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Original article: Focus Your Mind – It Will Clear Your Path to Success.

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7 Reasons Why You Should Start To Meditate Tue, 03 Jun 2014 05:57:42 +0000 If you’re new to the idea of meditation, it can be a good idea to educate yourself about its many benefits. Read on to learn about 7 reasons to start practicing meditation.

1. Health benefits

It has been proven that practicing meditation has lots of health benefits. Studies reveal that meditation can help improve both physical and mental health. Many people claim that meditation is a great way to help reduce stress. Reduced stress levels helps lower your blood pressure and helps reduce your risk of suffering from other physical health problems, e.g heart disease. It’s also known to help improve mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

2. An increased sense of self-awareness

woman-meditatingMeditation allows you to have an increased sense of self-awareness. It helps you discover a bit more about who you really are. In a way, it’s about being aware of what you’re really about. When you’ve discovered your real self, you’ll then begin to understand more about your purpose in life.

3. Inner peace

Nowadays, most people live very busy lives. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to experience peace and quiet. The good news is that practicing meditation can help you experience inner peace. Meditation helps you learn how to achieve a clear mind, and find peace within yourself. This rarely happens straight away, but with practice you’ll begin to enjoy some peaceful experiences.

4. Happiness

Meditation helps you get in touch with your ‘inner self’. When you’ve found peace within yourself, you’ll be closer to experiencing true happiness. Practicing meditation allows you to experience peace and happiness without having to rely on external factors.

5. Helps simplify your life

Practicing meditation helps you learn how to simplify your life. Most importantly, it helps you understand that you can experience pure joy and happiness out of living a simple life.

According to one spiritual master Chinmoy Kumar Ghose, also known as Sri Chinmoy, “Meditation simplifies our outer life and energizes our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life, a life that becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot breathe without being conscious of our own divinity.”

6. Live in the present moment

Many people’s minds are filled with thoughts about the past or the future. You may find yourself dwelling on the past or worried about the future. It’s important to understand that focusing yourself on the past or the future keeps you from engaging with, and appreciating life in the present moment. Meditation helps you appreciate and give importance to what’s in the ‘here and now’. It teaches you to live your life in the present moment, and let go of habitual worries and fears.

7. Improved relationships

Often, relationship problems arise from petty misunderstandings. Some people dwell on small issues, which may only lead to bigger conflicts and unhappiness. Meditation allows you to notice more about what’s good, instead of dwelling on minor faults. It helps you develop a sense of togetherness, and teaches you how to nurture your relationships. Most importantly, it helps you learn how to give no importance to small issues and focus more on building better relationships instead.

It’s useful to continue educating yourself more about the many other benefits of meditation. Keep in mind that meditation is a skill to be learned and mastered. Like any useful skill it’s better to find good teachers to learn from. With an experienced guide you’ll get more of the benefits of meditation more quickly than fumbling through the learning process on your own.

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Original article: 7 Reasons Why You Should Start To Meditate.

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8 Best Tips on How to Meditate for Beginners Thu, 29 May 2014 06:28:11 +0000 If you want in learn to meditate you’ll need some tips on where to start. People who meditate regularly tend to have a subtle advantage over those who don’t. Maybe it’s because they learn how to master their mind and emotions though gentle self-discipline and regular practice.

These benefits of come over time when you learn to meditate, but in the beginning where do you start? Here are 8 key points that are common in most beginners meditation practices.

1. Find a comfortable position to meditate in

stress-and-depression-at-workIt’s a good idea to find a chair that you can sit comfortably in. Put your chair in a place where you can stay alert and comfortably seated. Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor, and that your hands are placed on your lap. 

If you don’t like the idea of a chair you could lie down, or sit upright cross-legged (if you’ve got flexible, strong hips, knees and back) with suitable cushioning.

2. Anchor yourself

Close your eyes and ‘anchor’ yourself in the present moment. This means be here now, fully present, just for this moment. Find the dynamic balance between being relaxed and alert.

3. Connect with your breath

Your breath is your constant companion so use it as a tool to help you focus. Breathe naturally and pay attention to your breath.  See if you can notice where you’re breathing from. Is it from your nose or your mouth? Are you breathing into your chest or your belly or both?

4. Breathe slowly and deeply

Breathe in and breathe out. Experienced meditators tend to do this slowly and deeply. Just notice the rate as you are as a beginner. Try to observe how long it takes for you to breathe in and breathe out. Do you inhale longer or does it take more time for you to exhale? Continue to focus on your breath. As you inhale, breathe in what you need. As you exhale, let go of what you don’t need.

5. Feel the energy as you breathe

Feel the energy flowing into you as you breathe in. Let the energy flow into your heart, opening and softening it as you continue to focus on your breath. There are many sensations you can enjoy noticing as you mindfully inhale and exhale.

6. Think of your heart and your breath as your two closest friends

Realise that your heart and your breath have always been with you and will stay with you until the end, like your two closest friends. So enjoy spending time with them as you meditate. Focus on your breath and put your heart in the center of your awareness.

7. Feel how comforting it is to breathe

Breathe in deeply and imagine that your heart is breathing as well. As your breath flows into and out of your heart, notice how comforting it feels to simply breathe.

8. Develop a sense of gratitude

Take the time to think about everything that you’re grateful for. Think about the many wonderful people that surround you, the many things that you have, and all your achievements as well. These thoughts will help you relax, reduce your stress, and make you feel good about yourself.

Meditation is a skill that’s well worth the effort to learn. Keep in mind that there are lots of experienced teachers out there who can guide you and help you learn more easily. Soon it will become second nature to put a smile on your face, relax, connect with your inner self and simply enjoy life.

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Original article: 8 Best Tips on How to Meditate for Beginners.

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5 Easy Mindfulness Exercises for Anxiety Attack Relief Tue, 27 May 2014 13:35:21 +0000 An anxiety attack happens when you’re anxious or deeply worried about what might happen in the future. It’s important to understand that a key to finding relief from an anxiety attack is to practice mindfulness. To be mindful means to simply pay attention to the ‘here and now’. In this article, you’ll find 5 easy so-many-things-in-mindmindfulness exercises to help bring you back to the present moment and help decrease the likelihood of a full blown anxiety attack.

Practicing mindfulness regularly is the key to increasing your overall sense of calm. This helps decrease your risk of suffering from future anxiety attacks as well. Mindfulness practices can be short and simple. Their purpose is to shift your attention from your anxiety producing thoughts to what’s happening in the ‘here and now’

Easy Mindfulness Excercises

  • Take a short pause and ask yourself – ‘how do I feel? Observe how you’re truly feeling, and identify what your emotions are. Once you’ve identified them, say out loud how you’re feeling. 
  • Identify the noise level of where you are right now. Are you in a quiet or loud environment? What are the reasons behind the noise level of your surroundings? Listen to the soundscape with curiosity and appreciation. These are the sounds of life that surround us.
  • Take a look at what’s in front of you and say out loud what it is and what it looks like.
  • Notice how other people breathe and how you breathe as well. It simply helps to take the time to notice other people’s breathing, and then observe your own.
  • Trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy by wearing a smile on your face. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, do it anyway. You’ll realize that simply putting a smile on your face, even for just 30 seconds helps you feel better.

Mindfulness Practice: How Long Does It Take?

It’s a good idea to have a good go at practicing one of these mindfulness exercises at least two times each day or whenever you remember. You can start by setting aside 30 seconds in the morning and another 30 seconds in the afternoon or in the evening. As your endurance towards practicing mindfulness increases, you can then slowly increase the frequency or the length of your exercise.

Keep in mind that it’s important for you to be consistent. Understand that practicing daily mindfulness exercises for even as short as 30 seconds each time is better than doing it 30 minutes once a week. Realize that it doesn’t have to take so much time to practice mindfulness. What matters is that you’re regularly checking in with yourself and bringing yourself to focus on the ‘here and now’.   

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Original article: 5 Easy Mindfulness Exercises for Anxiety Attack Relief.

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