The art of mediation is a timeless Indian tradition that has now gracefully entered the Western world. Perhaps in the 1980s, it was something only hippies, vegans and tree huggers did. But now, practising meditation is commonplace in homes, parks and talking therapy rooms up and down the country.
Which truly is wonderful. Because mediation has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, improve sleep quality and duration and physically increase our grey matter. (Our grey matter is found in the parts of the brain that are responsible for higher learning, attention, memory, thought, motor control, coordination and precision – neurodegenerative diseases, where we lose grey matter, include Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.)
So far from meditation being the preserve of spiritual types, we could all benefit, immensely, from regularly meditating. Meditation has been proven to enhance self-awareness, decrease depression and increase attention spans which is important for learning and comprehension.
As well as these benefits, through meditation, we seek to clear our minds to obtain a better emotional understanding of ourselves. It involves us consciously choosing to spend time centring ourselves, asking the mind to be still and find inner peace.
Another practice that goes well with meditation is manifestation. Manifestation is similar to the law of attraction – it allows us to attract positive things, happenings and people, by being positive. Thinking good thoughts attracts more good thoughts and in time these become good 'things'. These 'things' are the things we might visualise in our mediation. After all, they do say that a quiet mind attracts an abundant life.
Using manifestation, we can begin to connect our goals positively. Through a positive visualisation of specific goals instead of a broader, more vague sense of achievement, we can create clear paths to the achievements of these goals, using incremental steps.
During meditation, we can employ a technique of deep diaphragmatic breathing which will make our practice even more rewarding and it's all down to the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of interconnected tissues and organs that contain lymph vessels and lymph nodes.
The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph fluid around the body to remove toxins and waste products leftover from biological processes such as breathing and digestion.
During deep diaphragmatic breathing, we can help promote the movement of the lymph fluid, enabling a quicker movement and natural removal of these unwanted products. Since the lymph system relies on the movement of the muscles to move lymph fluid, if we're sedentary, have poor movement in our arms and legs or certain medical conditions, this movement can slow down. Even if we don't have any reason why our lymph drainage might slow down, we can still benefit from a faster removal of toxic waste.
So mediation with controlled breathing is beneficial to all of us, not just mentally, but physically.
And the great thing about mediation is that it can be done anywhere. In bed, on the bus to work, even whilst walking (in a much less inward form).
Commitment is everything, and when we're at home, in our most comfortable, safe space, we might be tricked into thinking it isn't necessary to practice our meditation. So we have a commitment challenge for you. To ensure your commitment to meditation, we'd like you to dedicate a pillow or a cushion to your practice. This is the meditation pillow that you can place somewhere in your home or garden, away from distractions (including digital distractions). Then, when you sit on your mediation pillow, you'll be acknowledging this valuable, nourishing time for yourself and your mediation.
Ten to 15 minutes a day, away from the noise of life, is all you need to commit. Practice deep, more controlled breathing and visualisation. Then wait to see how many of your goals gradually start to filter through from the universe.