Whether a yogi or business executive, meditation should be a daily ritual
I am a business loving yogi and I want to help bridge the gap and debunk the myth that spiritual practices are only for yogi's, monks, vegans and all other stereotypes.
In this ever-changing, fast-paced, social media saturated world we are becoming tired, disconnected and lonely and need tools to help ground us and open our hearts.
Did you know that our addiction to overthinking and procrastinating is holding us back from harnessing our ability to perform deep focused work?
Alas, there is some hope and it’s called Meditation.
“Suppose you read about a pill you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it?” Suppose further that the pill had a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all-natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is called meditation.” Jonathan Haidt
Life is busy, the world is shifting pretty quickly and a real life version of The Hunger Games doesn’t seem that far-fetched anymore. There is a technological revolution happening right now and we have 2 choices: embrace it and step into the unknown with dignity or stay living in fear.
What one will you choose?
Today, on your lunch break, look around and notice the way walk around like zombies, our heads either in the future or in the past, rarely in the present moment, and almost always hypnotised by our handle held computers, refreshing the same content you looked at 15 minutes earlier. We are addicts!
This currently reality of sends us into fight or flight mode, the sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. This is the same response that would be triggered if we encountered a wild tiger, tsunami or any situation where our life was in danger. In developed countries our fears come in the form of made up story in our minds, money worries, opinions of others, relationship breakdowns, depression and anxiety. For me, this often affects my ability to make decisions and feeling in a state of paralysis.
"The real peace, the real silence, needs to be tested here in the world, in the marketplace. Deep in the mountains there is no way to know whether your silence is deep or just superficial" OSHO
We need to learn how to stop thinking! We loop the same stuff over and over again in our heads. Research shows that we have 70,000 thoughts per day and 80-90% of them are useless. Today notice, the repetition of pointless thoughts.
Doctors now know a key piece of advice for living a healthier life would be to learn how to breathe correctly. We are not doing it right and we do it all day.
Below are some facts as to why developing a sincere meditation practice should be as much a priority as brushing your teeth. Everyday with 100% commitment.
So, why meditate ?
1. Strengthens the Mind
Meditation has the power to literally rewire the brain via neuroplasticity reshaping leading to a more focused, positive and loving you.
2. Builds Willpower
We send more blood to our prefrontal cortex which is in charge of our self-control. More self-control = better decision making.
3. Optimises our Immune System
Help pull us out of the fight or flight response into the rest and digest safe zone.
4. Changes our DNA
We have over 30,000 genes. Studies show after meditating over 1500 genes are turned on more positively - reduced inflammation and cortisol levels occur after meditation.
5. Connects us to something Greater
This practice can be intimate and confronting, often acting as a gateway to tune in to the fact that we are not our mind, we are so much more.
6. MAKES US HAPPIER!
So, How do you meditate?
In Scottish terms: you turn your phone off, sit on your arse, shut your eyes and breathe. Breath is the pathway to your higher self. Breathing in and out through your noise is magic. Nasal breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, increases energy and brings a sense of calm. The brain uses around 20% of all oxygen we intake - so how is the quality of your breath?
In all seriousness meditation really is that easy.
Sit with dignity
Pick an anchor : breath, prayer, mantra
Be still, avoid the habit of fidgeting
5 minutes is all you need to start
Commitment to come back time and time again
Don't judge your meditation, just show up
Practical exercise: Let’s give it a go. Close your eyes. Tune in. inhale for six counts, hold and suspend the breath for two counts, exhale for seven counts. Repeat
I hope this inspires you to give meditation a go and if you are time poor, by the way we are all time poor, have a think about how long you spend online being unproductive! That stuff reduces your IQ and drains vitality.
"I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one." Gandhi
Laura Doonin is GM of ecommerce at Pharmacy 4 Less, and a business-loving yogi. We talk to Laura about the importance of health and mindfulness in the next issue of The Symes Report.