A day of improved energy and reduced stress - that's all any of us want. Especially now, after endless headlines of coronavirus bad news.
But what if just 15 minutes of meditation each morning was all you needed to get there.
No pills, no coffee, just some time alone with you and your mind (ok, you can still drink your coffee).
Would you be willing to try?
Meditation works to clear our minds of thoughts that constantly bombard us. Tens of thousands of thoughts that keep coming, throughout the day. Negative thoughts, worrying thoughts, imaginary futures, and troubling ideas.
Today is a place where our future, in some ways, is unknown.
So we see the news, and sometimes we imagine the worst.
And the body believes what the mind tells it.
This is called anticipatory trauma: something the body feels now as real stress, even though the event has not happened yet, and may not even happen at all.
So how do stop ourselves from moving too far into an anticipatory abyss of hard facts vs not yet real tomorrows?
The answer is in reconnecting to the now, through your mind, body, and spirit.
The answer is in learning how to empty our mind of all those thoughts - through meditation.
Meditation is the tool to improve your day
A few months back I was chatting to a coworker and friend Amit Khurana on how to deal with personal stress. To my surprise, Amit provided me a quick tutorial in the office on exactly what to do. He showed me a specific form of meditation that worked instantly.
That day, I shared the approach with my wife and I started practicing immediately.
I'd tried meditation before, but never this kind. The resulting sense of peace I felt throughout the day, and the better nights sleep that came with it, was something I knew needed to be shared.
And then I found out where Amit had learned his meditation skills from. It turned out, it came from his wife.
The real master of meditation in the Khurana household was Megha Khurana. She's a teacher in Hatha Yoga which includes meditation that she explains below.
My wife and I recently had the chance to speak to Megha and Amit over a zoom call to discuss life, the stresses of the new normal, and how meditation can be a powerful tool to improve our sense of well being, and much more.
What resulted is this interview were some practical steps on how to get started and a reminder of the benefits that can come with daily meditation.
Megha Khurana Interview on Meditation: A Practical Guide
Name: Megha Khurana
Education in Meditation: Workshop on Transcendental Meditation, Teacher Training in Hatha Yoga of which Meditation is an integral part
Years practicing: 6 years
Photo - Megha Khurana
1. Whats your story? How did you get introduced to meditation? What has drawn you to the practice?
My story - It was in 2012, when I was on a sabbatical from work after being completely burnt out of all the extra hours and night shifts that I had put in for over 9 years into various jobs I did, I felt something wasn't right.
Nothing made me feel good or happy, I woke up tired every morning and had gained over 30 kilos in all those years. I suddenly had all the time in the world and wanted to make the most of it. I decided to join my mum in her yoga therapy sessions that she took for a heart condition.
Not that I was ill, but I had heard so much about therapeutic yoga and how it helps people in multiple ways, I hoped for it to help me in making some positive changes to my life.
I met her therapist and this was the beginning of what I call my journey. The therapist was not just a yoga teacher but a practicing doctor who had helped treat cancer patients through yoga.
After my counselling it was evident that I needed to make changes to my lifestyle which will eventually help me feel better mentally. So I started practicing yoga as well as meditation at his centre.
I saw myself evolve as a fearless, strong willed and healthier person from being an anxious restless soul. The side effects were brilliant too, I lost 30 kilos in the next year.
I feel while Hatha yoga and strength training helped me get in shape, it was meditation that cleared my mind and gave me the motivation I needed, it made me feel I could achieve whatever I wanted.
2. What are the benefits to meditation? What Type of Meditation are you trained in and practice most often?
Benefits - the benefits are huge, but come to those who practise it regularly.
Meditation helps one connect with their own self, what they call the unison of mind body and soul.
I am trained in transcendental meditation, however I stopped practicing it after a few weeks of doing it. I did see great benefits from the practise but it lead me on a path I wasn't expecting, neither keen to tread on.
I started having premonitions, and this came of all the images I would see during my meditation sessions. I couldn't handle it and stopped completely.
I however wanted to continue meditating, so I decided to stop using the personalized mantra given to me by my teacher, and used breathing as my focus to reach a stage of thoughtlessness during the session , which is the aim of all kinds of meditation.
3. Walk us through the steps, routines and the ritual leading up to a meditation. How does one prepare for a meditation session before it begins? Does diet matter? Is there a best time of day to meditate?
While each type of meditation lists steps to follow, over the years I learnt to practise what works best for me, and that isn't necessarily one kind, or rather its my own kind.
During my Yoga teacher training, we were taught focussed meditation, and the point of focus were all the energy chakras in the body while following a pattern of breathing.
So to list it simply, steps leading to a meditation session begin with:
1. The Will to Focus - A will to focus, relax, and give yourself to the practise.
2. Find a Quiet Place - preferably dark space, a cushion or a mat to sit on, and any aid that will work for you.
3. Meditation aids - To bring you into the experience, I prefer essential oils, and incense, but I do know of people using music as an aid too.
4. Let go of thoughts that enter your mind - This is the key principle. If a thought enters, let it pass. The aim is to sit through a session of peace where you focus on your inner self and let go off all the thoughts that come to your mind.
5. Letting Go of Thoughts is Not so Easy - This is easier said than done as the human mind continues to think and rarely do we have a moment of thoughtlessness.
6. Empty your mind of thoughts - The moment you're able to achieve it, you've made a start. It doesn't matter how long that moment lasts, what's important is to begin, and then build on it.
7. Benefits Revisited - The energy we save with this session of no thoughts gives us so much more energy in our days. Energy that we can use how we want, and it clears the mind of negativity.
8. When to Meditation, Morning or Night? - Ideal time to meditate is early morning, however you can practise it when you like. The only time you must avoid it right before bed.
9. Diet Tips - A clean vegetarian diet helps the cause further.
10. Begin with a few minutes and add to it - Begin with whatever you're able to achieve initially and then aim to sit through 15 minutes a session.
4. Resources for Meditation?
I find the Sivananda website quite useful, that's where I did Yoga TTC from. And here are other resources below.
a. Sivananda - Paths of Yoga - http://sivanandaonline.org/ The four main spiritual paths for God-realization are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
b. Sahaja Yoga - https://www.sahajayoga.org - Sahaja Yoga is a unique method of meditation based on an experience called Self Realization (Kundalini awakening) that can occur within each human being.
c. Tibetan Meditation Music, Healing, Sleep Music, Meditation, Chakra, Spa, Study, Yoga, Zen, ☯3665 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c97SDYC_AFE
I hope you give meditation a try if you haven't yet.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, stay strong, stay healthy and thrive.
- Goran Yerkovich
The-Inspired.com's related links:
1. What is the Single Most Important Factor in Reaching Your Goals?
How the idea of hope can change your life. Just ask the Olympic athletes who live by this rule
2. Does Sharing Goals Help or Hurt Your Chances of Success?
Accountability Partner is proven to work, if it's a close friend. Don't tell strangers.
3. The Inspired Foundations Articles: How Your Foundations Matter in Reaching Your Goals. Simple tips, routines, principles and habits to get you started.
4. Be Brave Enough to Suck at Something New: Is there something you've always wanted to do, a personal dream sitting there, a goal, still waiting to be realized?
5. Flow Will Change Your Life: Creating Goals Begins with Understanding Your Flow. Personal Growth meets the real authentic you. How understanding your passions will fuel your progress, happiness & personal growth.
6. Meditation - Skinny Dipping, Polar Bears, & Debunking Common Myths of Meditation
7. Bill Gates Pandemic Warning We All Missed. 10 Things You Need to Know: COVID-19 https://www.the-inspired.com/post/10-things-you-need-to-know-covid-19https://www.the-inspired.com/post/coronavirus-do-your-part-take-action-now
8. Coronavirus: Do Your Part, Take Action Now https://www.the-inspired.com/post/coronavirus-do-your-part-take-action-now
9. 10 Tips in Supporting Your Community and Home Life: COVID-19 https://www.the-inspired.com/post/this-game-is-for-real-10-tips-in-supporting-your-community-and-home-life-survival-covid-19
10. How Do I Self Isolate? The More You Know The Less You Fear - An Astronaut's Guide During COVID-19 https://www.the-inspired.com/post/how-do-i-self-isolate-the-more-you-know-the-less-you-fear-an-astronaut-s-guide-during-covid-19
11. Unsung Heroes: The International Team Mapping the Real-Time Spread of COVID-19: How to Take Action. https://www.the-inspired.com/post/unsung-heroes-the-international-team-mapping-the-real-time-spread-of-covid-19-how-to-take-action
12. The Great Pause of 2020: What Did You Do With Your Time?
About the author - Goran Yerkovich is the founder of The-Inspired.com, designed to help readers master their personal growth and live a more inspired life. He lives in the greater Vancouver area with his wife and two cats Kimchi and Kauai.