Meditation is one of those words that scares people a little. It evokes thoughts of chanting (heaven forbid) and conjures images of tree-hugging, crunchy-granola, hippy-dippy types sitting around cross-legged, swaying in the breeze (kind of like this picture, right?)!
There is something about the idea, at least in the recent past, that somehow hasn't always jived with mainstream, western societies.
But lately it is almost hard to pick up a newspaper and read a recent report without reading about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
I must admit, while my yoga practice is my own moving meditation, I don't carve time out of my day to purposefully meditate. So being the eternal student that I am, I decided to take a short course through UBC Health Promotion on learning to meditate.
The course is taught by Wendy Quan at The Calm Monkey, a really inspiring woman who has now taught thousands of people to meditate over the last ten years. Her years of teaching and her own research have shown that meditation can increase "personal resiliency", which she describes as one's own ability to bounce back from difficult situations, and allow things to easily bounce off of oneself.
Wendy's demeanour, needless to say, is calm, collected and soothing - I suppose only to be expected from a teacher of meditation.
"When you are the most stressed out," she says, "that's when you should be meditating the most."
Words from the wise.
So for all of you type As out there whose brains are buzzing and you're thinking, "I don't have time to read about meditation," I know where you are coming from... because I am one of them.
So I will cut to the chase. My homework for this class is to meditate for at least 5 minutes a day for the duration of this course over the next four weeks.
Interested in joining me?
Here is the quick and dirty of what I learned about meditation to get started:
And here is the very basic on how to meditate:
Lastly, here are some final meditation tips from Wendy:
Finally, here is an example of how NOT to meditate below. This was me, a couple of years ago, attempting a mystical meditation in Hawaii. Although the view is alright, my knees are above my hips, and my ankles are stacked. #meditationfail
Now that you know what to do, keep calm and and meditate on.
Nikki Johnston Beaudoin is an outdoorsy Mountain Mermaid, and the Owner and Operator of Sea to Sky Paddle Fit, based on Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver.