When I look in my cupboard and see the ‘little miss chatterbox’ mug, it always brings a smile to my face. Being able to ‘talk the hind legs off a donkey’ is something I've been able to do from an early age. At school I was constantly told off for talking, and couldn’t join clubs that required you to concentrate and learn as I was more interested in making friends, and (you’ve guessed it), wanting to talk to them! This extroverted behaviour that I have developed over the years, however, has started to dwindle in the last year and I’ve found myself enjoying being quiet and spending more time alone in my own thoughts. Having developed a massive passion for Yoga, this has helped to expand my love for these actions even more, becoming more introverted.
A good friend once told me that being quiet and alone is how introverts ‘recharge their batteries’ and recuperate. I am starting to see the benefits of this now and time to myself sometimes is needed to carry on. So how can this ‘quiet time’ be of benefit to us and how can we perform it effectively?
Where Meditation originated from
Long before we were making shapes on the mat in what we now know as Yoga, the Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhists were carrying out their own practices. Dating back as far as the 3rd and 6th Century BC and viewed in the ancient Yogic readings the Upanishads, individuals would sit together for hours in silence. Allowing their ‘internal voice’ to have the opportunity to be able to speak to them gave them the chance to filter their thoughts and feelings from the outside world and make sense of them. This meditative practice has now become a way for people to be taken into another world, where they can experience the ultimate ‘bliss’. This process can reset and restore their minds, and remove the things that are not of use to them.
Meditation can be a useful tool in our life today
Our 21st century lives can be super busy. Juggling work and home life, families and daily chores can leave us feeling overwhelmed. Couple that with a lot of people now holding down more than one job and they can be left with the notion that they are not achieving anything and sinking like The Titanic. Meditation can be used as a way to filter out the information that is of no use to us, allowing us to focus on the things of importance and giving us greater structure. With this structure comes a sense of calmness and clarity, and a feeling that we can conquer anything!
How can I meditate?
Finding a quiet space and time to yourself is of most importance within your day. There are many ways to meditate, but one of the easiest ways to begin with is to focus on your breath.
Sama-Vritti pranayama (translated as equal breath), is a type of breathing practice which can be used to gain a better mind and body connection, and control. It is performed by allowing the length of the inhalation to be the same as the exhalation. Once you are seated comfortably, allow the breath to flow naturally. Start to count the duration of the inhalations and exhalations, noting the differences. Aim should then be made to equal the breaths for a comfortable count (3-5 seconds is a usual time to start with). With practice, longer or deeper breaths can be performed, whilst staying relaxed and comfortable.
As you perform this practice, be aware of what your mind is doing, and if it begins to wander, bring it back to the counting of the breath. Avoid judging yourself for losing concentration or allowing yourself to think too long about what the mind wandered onto; just acknowledge and then come straight back to the task at hand.
Like training the body on a physical level in the gym for example, the more you practise meditation the longer you will be able to stay focused on the task of breath counting and the less your mind will wander. Training your mind is exactly like training your body, it can get stronger! Performing this practice anytime during the day when you are feeling overwhelmed is like pressing the reset button. You will come away from the exercise being more focused and more productive on what you achieve in your daily life.
If you would like to learn more about how you can attend meditation sessions or silent retreats (the ultimate meditative experience), feel free to contact me or visit