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Published Wednesday May 22, 2019 by Lydia Cardona

6 Meditation Myths, Busted

Meditation
Personal Growth

With the stresses and strains of everyday life, finding time to unwind can seem almost impossible. In fact, the recently published Wellness Index from MINDBODY found that downtime takes a back seat for many of us— with the UK getting fewer than nine hours of headspace per week and one in five people stating that they are “not content” with the state of their current mental health.

“While we might feel that we don’t have time to meditate (or we’re intimidated because we don’t know how), the reality is that everyone can find some time for mindfulness through meditation,” says Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing. “What’s more, it’s not all about mantras, lotus positions and long periods of concentration—it can be super simple and there’s a style that can work for anyone. “
 
To celebrate Meditation May, our MINDBODY team put together a no-nonsense, myth-busting meditation guide for first-timers! 


 
#1 - Meditation comes in many forms.

Any activity that gets you to focus and allows the subconscious to let go can be meditative, like colouring, drawing, or even cooking! Illustrator and keen yogi Kate Phillipson launched Yoga Life Drawing to fuse her two passions: yoga and art.  She explains that drawing, like yoga, is a moving meditation and a great way to unlock creativity. Try tapping into this type of meditation with Kate, who will be hosting Yoga Life Drawing workshops this month!

 

#2 - You don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position.

Meditation is about being comfortable, so if this means you are most relaxed propped up or sat on a cushion, then so be it. The traditional cross-legged Lotus Position is considered the best pose for meditation, as it places all the primary Chakra energy centres in alignment, making spiritual perception and operation easier. However, it isn’t a necessary meditative position and isn’t accessible to everyone (it requires open hips and a lot of practice). So, instead of battling with this particular pose, find peace in a comfier position and make use of tools, like a yoga block, blanket, or meditation cushion.


#3 - Meditation doesn’t have to take years of dedicated practise.

Meditation isn’t about achieving total perfection. Like anything, regular practise helps you to improve and means you’ll learn more, but the benefits of meditation can be almost immediate. A study led by Harvard University found that as little as eight weeks of meditation helped people experience decreased anxiety and improved stress regulation. With MINDBODY’s Wellness Index revealing that 24% of U.K. adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious daily, research like this is promising.

“At the end of every day take five minutes to reflect, think about the day and what made you happy; whether it was a beautiful sunrise, a great workout, or dinner with your family,” says Catie Miller, founder of Xtend Barre. “ Remember those things and be grateful for them.”

 
#4 - You can meditate anywhere.

It’s a common misconception that you need to create a sacred and special environment to meditate effectively. Whether it’s at your desk, in the supermarket or on the tube, you can observe and focus on the breath to feel the immediate effects of meditation anywhere. Whilst it’s best to meditate in a clean and clutter-free environment, if you feel your emotions start to get on top of you, pay attention to your breathing for five minutes and focus on it entering and leaving your body.

 
#5 - You don’t have to ban distractions—including technology—when you practise.

Many apps and online programs have actually helped bring meditation into the mainstream; technology like Muse and apps such as Headspace have guided users through focused meditation and can be a practical way to find your zen. If you find you are distracted by something in the room, don’t rush to block it out. Simply acknowledge the distraction before bringing your attention back to the breath. If you try and eliminate every single thought that pops into your head, you’ll just end up frustrated.


 
#6 - If you think you don’t have time to meditate, think again!

With common benefits including improved concentration and decreased blood pressure, meditation is definitely worth your time—as limited as it may be. Even just five minutes in the morning can be enough to set you up for a more productive and positive day. Focusing on the present moment also means that you’re not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, so you can focus on the ‘right now’ and make the most of your day.

“I make time to move and have a daily yoga practise. Even if it’s just five minutes of sun salutations on a hotel room floor at 5 am before a busy day,”  says Leon Taylor, yoga teacher, mentor, and Olympic medallist. “Keeping my morning routine consistent keeps me grounded when things are busy and challenging.”

 

Want to dive deeper into your practice? Download the MINDBODY app to explore meditation classes near you! 
 

Lydia Cardona
Written by
Lydia Cardona
PR and Content Specialist, EMEA Marketing
About the author
A self-confessed exercise and sports junkie, Lydia made the transition from fashion to wellness, handling media relations in the U.K. In her spare time, you'll most likely find her hitting up a MINDBODY studio, shopping for houseplants, or walking the family Pomchi.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

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Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

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Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.