For thousands of years, meditation has helped us hectic humans hush our chattering minds, relax our aching bodies and change our states to one of calm. Even just 15 minutes of meditation a day can work wonders.
My first foray into meditation was only three years ago whilst travelling. I tried a few different one hour sessions at a retreat in Thailand and really liked how it helped me feel calm when I was so used to being 'on' all the time.
From these few taster sessions, I then dived head first into a 10-day silent Vipassana retreat in the hills of Japan which, needless to say, was quite a leap. It was a big, deep experience but I'll save that for another post.
Since then, I've tried more meditation styles, lasting between 15-90 minutes. From a simple 10-minute breath meditation when I wake up to - when I'm in the mood - an exhilarating dance meditation... in a room with strangers, often with eyes closed and music on LOUD.
However, Yoga Nidra is my favourite. Yoga Nidra is a yogic sleep; a state of conscious deep sleep and complete relaxation. A friend shared this Yoga Nidra guided meditation with me; it's less than 20 minutes long and her voice is hypnotic. Staying awake during Yoga Nidra is recommended to feel the full benefits but sometimes I am so relaxed, I can't help but drift off. Relaxation level: a resounding 10/10.
Deepak Chopra's Chakra Balancing Meditation (part 2, approximately 43 minutes) is also superb, and there are endless guided meditation recordings on YouTube of all different styles.
William Bloom, a co-founder of the Alternatives program in London, is an inspired meditation teacher. He leads with a relaxed approach, encouraging people to sit or lie however they feel comfortable, rather than enforcing a strict seated position or such with other styles do require.
See Dhamma.org for details of 10-day vipassana courses around the world, taught by S.N. Goenka
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