I am so excited to finally be sharing #1 of my body, mind & soul health series here on the blog with you. I’ve been meaning to talk about this for ages and am thrilled to share a lifestyle with you that became vital to me over the past years…
Today’s episode is all about the most fundamental thing…
our mind & our soul.
The root of everything!!! The essence of who we are as a human being and as individuals. I personally believe that everything starts within us. Our health and also our sickness, – everything we are in our outer appearance is a reflection of our inner & mental health (excluding our given genes of course). I believe that our body, things that happen to us & our attitude about life in general starts within and transforms into our outer cells, – that can be seen. Let me quickly repeat that “simply everything we are, is a reflection of our inner state of being!” The way we talk to ourselves, the way we think, our beliefs… everything roots deeply inside of us. Therefore, it is true essential to create a space within us that is filled with love, balance, peace & stillness. A quiet mind & a nourished soul is key to a happy and fulfilled life.
Especially over the past 5 years, I learned so much about the importance of meditation and yoga, – it took a while for me to really dive into it, but I can proudly say the advice that I’ve been given back then, – that meditation will change your life and everything around it – is TRUE! Meditating has giving me daily balance, clarity, inner peace, healing, productivity & most of all self discovery when I needed it the most. It became my daily go – to and I honestly could not imagine life without it anymore.
The benefits of Meditation.
Before I get started with my little story and what got me hocked on meditation, here are some of the most amazing benefits & facts that are scientifically proven on what meditating does to you.
Just to name a few, the ones that stand out to me the most, –
- meditation grows your brain in volume and thickness
- it increases blood flow to your brain
- it reduces CORTISOL
- it also reduces blood pressure and heart rate
- increases the production of good neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine
- it boosts the immune system
- it causes muscle relaxation
- it slows the aging process
- reduces stress related conditions such as anxiety and depression
- increases focus and present moment awareness
- it gives emotional stability and intelligence
- and it increases your sense of purpose and meaning…
the list is long!!!
When I discovered meditation for myself like 5 years ago it wasn’t love at first side, quite the opposite… Well to be completely honest, I simply couldn’t manage to sit still for 10 – 20 minutes, nor did I manage to have “NO thoughts”. Like – WTF, how in the world is this shit gonna work?! I usually don’t have any problems to sit still & to focus but, for some reason I simply couldn’t manage the whole ZEN thing. Completely frustrated and without any kind of result I stopped doing it. Until exactly like 2 years later… I always believed that we are the masters of our own happiness and that growth and learning can only happen when we experience down times in our life’s… I wasn’t living a bad life back then, not at all, but I also knew I wasn’t living my best life yet – I felt unsatisfied, unmotivated at times and I had toxic relationships that I needed to get rid off, simply I lost clarity in my daily life. The chatter in my mind became so loud and so strong that I knew I needed to change something. Skating alone, a long walk, or a strong workout wouldn’t free my mind anymore. So I talked to several friends, I read several books on how to do this, how to do that, but nothing quite made the cut for me. I still had a feeling of discomfort and unfulfillment. Until one morning, I remember it like it was yesterday – it was a super cold winter night. I woke up at 6.30 per usual, it was still dark outside, and while I prepared myself my morning coffee I had a slight break down. To be exact – I burst out into tears and had this heavy, heavy feeling on my chest. I cried so hard and felt so devastated not knowing what to change… Like you know this moment when you hold it together for so long and then BOOOOOOM all of a sudden it feels like everything needs to come out, – YUP that’s exactly what happened to me that morning. Anyway, totally exhausted from crying, I think it was already 7.30 by then, I sat on my blanket on the floor staring at the wall. Trying to calm myself down… I noticed a huge tension in my back and that all my muscles were tightened, I then closed my eyes and started to breathe more deeply. I simply focused on me – breathing. Nothing else mattered , it was just me in the moment!! I kept focusing on my breath – how I inhaled and exhaled and on how my body reacted to it. My mind slowly started to interact by thoughts arising – yet again I always brought myself back to focusing on my breath. I got into a state of complete calmness and relaxation. After a while I even noticed that my shoulders slowly started to sink out of relaxation. Even the pain on my chest was gone. My entire body had gone through kind of like a “OFF period”, like I had shut it down but in a good way… Without even noticing, it had been sunrise outside and 8 o’clock by the time I opened my eyes again. It almost felt like I’ve been on a journey someplace else… When I opened my eyes I felt a strong feeling of comfort, calmness, but also will power, a certain kind of consciousness, but most of all I felt clarity…
that was the moment when I understood the magic of MEDITATION.
I’ve been adopting it into my daily life and practicing it ever since with no plans to retire. 😉 Meditation has become one of the most amazing things in my life, just like skating – it gives me soooo very much and I don’t want to live without it anymore. The chatter is still there, every day… We all have it in our head – but it’s on us to create a quiet mind. It’s on us to create clarity, happiness, consciousness… It is on us to create our life. Meditating will guide us – will guide YOU through it!
My routine in a nutshell
First thing I do after I have my morning coffee – I MEDITATE. It became like a natural drug to me. Just like I need my daily caffeine fix in the am, I need clarity, energy and I need to release any kind of tension – meditating does all THAT for me! I make it a point to meditate for at least 10 mins – EVERY MORNING!!! It can go up to 30 even 40 minutes – it always depends on my mornings and how busy they are. To me, starting my day without meditation is like going out of the house without shoes on, – something important is missing!!! If I’m in need of an extra dose of relaxation I even meditate before bedtime – ughhh such a wonderful sleep afterwords!
As we are all different and unique individuals, we all need different kind of things… so I’m just giving you a quick example on how I meditate “best”. Try to see what works most convenient for YOU and adjust it to your daily schedule –
1. You can mediate whenever – wherever!!! In the morning, at night, during your work break… Wherever you can find 5 minutes up to an hour – take them for yourself .
2. I usually make sure to wear super comfortable cloths. If you are at work or anywhere where you can’t change cloths, at least take your shoes off.
3. Then I’ll take a blanket or yoga matte, whichever is close to me, and sit down with slightly over crossed legs. If you are like me and need an extra kind of comfort – use a pillow to sit on. At a public place, or at work ?! No problem – just look for a quiet place, sit on a chair or ground and make sure to be comfortable!
4. Set the mood: I love playing meditation music in the background! Again, this one might not be for everyone, but it helps me to EXTRA relax. Spotify or even YouTube has wonderful meditation music.
5. Once everything is set and comfortable, I start my meditation process with a little breathing exercise, – called PRANAYAMA. (found a great article about it here.) There is no time frame to it – I usually end PRANAYAMA when it feels right, aprrox. after like 3 to 5 mins.
6. After I’ve done my breathing exercises, I dive into complete relaxation. Listening to my breath naturally flowing in and out of my body. Try to simply BE. Nothing else matters now – just you, in the moment!
7. If you are at work, or need to get to work, or any kind of appointment – set a timer! But plan wisely – there is no point in meditating when you have to rush to your next meeting afterwords. 😉
8. Take your time. There is no rush to it. If at first you don’t succeed dust yourself off, and try again.
9. Meditate as long as it feels right for you.
There is also great literature on “How To Meditate” if you feel like you need some knowledge before you get started!
The benefits of Yoga
Just like meditation, Yoga has a wide range of proven benefits that increase our well being, – here are some facts.
- yoga betters your bone health
- it increases your blood flow
- it boosts immunity
- drains your lymphs
- ups your heart rate
- helps you to focus
- improves your balance
- increases your self – esteem
- helps you sleep deeper
- it connects you with guidance
- keeps allergies and viruses at bay
- supports your connective tissue
- builds muscle strength
- makes you over all happier
- prevents clarity
- detoxifies the body
another long list of great health benefits when doing yoga.
My personal journey with yoga started a long time ago. Very different from my first experience with meditating. Yoga got me hooked right after my first session years ago. I remember I felt immediately less tense in my back and had a certain kind of calmness afterwords. As I experienced a severe car accident in my teenage years, I still suffer from major back pain daily, which goes all the way up to my head and transforms into migraines. Yoga helped me so much with that! I experience less back pain when I practice Yoga and much fewer migraines. What I love most about yoga… there is never a wrong or right, – yoga is practiced at your own pace, flexibility and endurance. It is never about achieving a certain goal, but all about the journey. Yoga is life!
My routine in a nutshell
3- 4 times a week, but preferably always after meditating – it’s yogaaaaaaa time baby!!!! Sure meditation works by itself, but have you ever had sprinkles on your sundae?!?! Exactly, – yoga is just like that! It is the right topping – a perfect “add on”! Yoga & meditation are unbeatable a wonderful combination.
This one I really leave up to YOU. There are million ways of doing yoga, and all kinds of different yoga types. I can’t tell you how to do it, as I am not an yoga instructor but best way to learn/practice it, is by going into a yoga class. At first I went to yoga class twice a week, now I am confident enough to practice mornings flows on my own… Just try and find your own kind of FLOW.
just like with meditation there are great books & dvd’s out there to help you guide through it.
Lastly, it really doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or practicing it for years now… There is NO wrong or right when it comes to Yoga & Meditating. It is there to help YOU. It is there to comfort you! Be patient and let yourself dive in. You will notice improvements over time – and you WILL feel amazing! Give yourself time – allow yourself to practice! Look who is talking, – NOW I am the one telling you – Meditation & Yoga will change your life and everything around it 😉