As I come closer & closer to being able to work with clients as an Ayurvedic Health Practioner - I find myself asking my close friends and family about their health a lot more and really trying to examine it through the lens of Ayurveda. What I've noticed lately are a lot of symptoms or health problems that are seemingly caused or exasperated by stress. While there are many ways to approach treatment - change of diet, herbs, exercise, yoga - trying to manage stress is always the first thing I recommend. I think it is important not to underestimate the affect stress has the body and to really notice how symptoms can change once we remove stressors from our lives or give ourselves the chance to find restful. meditative moments. One way to de-stress is through meditation.
I think meditation has been cool with my group of friends for awhile now, but it seems like the mainstream is really starting to take notice too. The science behind the benefits of mediation is hard to ignore and the stress created by our busy lives is abundant. It's catching up to us and affecting our health, so we are ready to find moments of respite and peace to relieve ourselves of the weight of it all.
Meditation can seem really impossible, though, and I think this is often because we go too big too soon. Just like you don't run a marathon without training first, you don't just dive into an hour of seated & silent meditation. You start small, doing what you can, and slowly build up your stamina. Just 5 minutes of mediation a day can have profound affects on your mind and body. Really.
So how do you start? Well, I started with chanting of mantra (and continue to do it today). For some that will seem a little too crazy or a little too woo-woo, and that is fine, but for me it was easier because I wasn't yet ready to sit silently with my thoughts. And anyone who has ever listened to the minimalist greats like Phillip Glass or Steve Reich knows how meditative repetition of musical lines can be! Chanting is really similar to that. You repeat a line, ideally 108 times, and slowly let the sound and words sink in. Your mind will still wander, but it is a great way to sit still, find focus, and connect with yourself (or those around you if you are in a group). So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites over the course of the week and then you can feel free to listen or chant along at home. All you need is a comfortable and quiet place to sit with your computer.
The first one is "Om Namah Shivaya" which means "adoration to Shiva." It is often found to bring peace and joy to the heart and soul. Sit and listen, or join along, and see how it makes you feel. When you are done take a few moments or more to sit in silence and breath. Take your time to find movement and to get up again. Slowly make your way back to your life.
How do you feel after? What came up while you were chanting? Where does your mind generally tend to wander to? Maybe journal about these things when you are finished. Hope you enjoy!