You don’t have to be Yoda to Meditate!

It still feels strange to openly admit that I meditate, I have in the last 12 months regularly practiced meditation and mindfulness, every day, in-fact every morning; ….No I don’t Om (at least I haven’t heard myself do it yet) and I am definitely not Yoda.

I am a mother of two mighty girls and they try my patience every morning and I do loose it from time to time especially when I am trying to get out the door for work and school. I am human not super human, I often get absorbed in Facetwittering when I really know I shouldn’t and that pulls me into a rush to do the things that I really want to be concentrating on.

Do I really have time to meditate?

My meditation routine and mindfulness practice is at the core of what I am able to do. I give myself 10 minutes of space every day, just as I wake up and in that calm before the day begins I meditate myself fully awake. It is a way to centre myself, to feel grounded. I am able to listen to my body’s aches and pains without judgment and allow my thoughts to float in and out of my consciousness whilst I sit above it all and smile, I feel fully awake when I am finished and that is the power it gives me.

I use mindfulness during the day as well, as set my pace, mindfulness gives me the freedom to stop and enjoy the little things. a cup of tea, the sun or the wind on my face, time to listen to a client and it is in the pedal stroke of my bike as I cycle.

This is my meditation…… It doesn’t mean it will be yours but if you want to know what I do and how I incorporated this into my life then read on.

It is a daily practice a ritual if you like.

What is meditation and why do I want to master it so much?

Studies show that regular meditation and mindfulness can bring long-term changes to mood and improve people’s wellbeing and happiness. It has long been used as a behavioral therapy (MCBT) in working with anxiety, stress and depression. In less clinical and scientific studies it has shown that it improves memory, creativity and mental and physical stamina. (Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by: Mark Williams and Danny Penman)

Meditation is not religious and mindfulness is a simple method of training your mind.

It was in the last 18 months at IBM that I really started to harness mindfulness and meditation. My coach first introduced me to my captain, this was the first sense of finding my guiding light, the second was the use of a breathing exercise to centre and ground myself before walking into a situation that I wanted greater control over.

These techniques were universal, they enabled me to lead and to grow in my role as a manager, but they were much more than that. I used my captain to get a PB in the 2014 Brighton Marathon and to find my legs on the final hills during the 100 mile Ride London later that year. The simple act of focusing my breath that enabled me to present to 20 execs at a bid meeting in NYC in 2014 was as effective then as it is now when I want to reign in my attention to the administrations of running a business.

However it was not until I left the corporate world that I truly put mindfulness and meditation into a daily practice. I had seen what it did for me in certain situations and how the focused attention on my breathing through stressful situations calmed me and enabled me to be more present if I had not done otherwise. What would it be like if I was able to harness that daily?

Getting Started

To set out my mediation routine I needed help, I looked around and picked up a number of different books and searched for on-line courses and weekend breaks. In the end I opted for a simple book by Clare Josa – 28 day meditation challenge. I had already spoken to Clare and attending a few of her business workshops and I loved her style, an easy choice in the end.

It wasn’t easy and I fell off the wagon a few times during the month – but the gentle coaching and intuitive daily practices enables me to pull myself back with kindness.

So why do it? That essentially is the key to it all, why do anything? Your why will be different to mine – regardless of what I say it is ultimately down to what you want from it.

Being more mindful and using mediation daily has given me back my life, it is like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time and being able to see the definition of the leaves in the trees and their varying colours. I have clarity of thought and subsequently clarity in deed. I am not perfect and I no longer seek perfection. I see the world for what it is and I embrace what I want to achieve in it.  I am more thankful, grateful and ultimately happier because of it.

Where will meditation and mindfulness take me?

I reap the benefits from my practice, therefore I know it will always be a part of my routine, it is how I can use these techniques to help others make their way through busy lives that I look to next.

Using the techniques for deep breathing and finding your inner champion are my stock in trade for the cycle confidence courses & cycle adventures. I can use these with my clients to help them conquer hills or take a route across a busy town, I am able to help the children I instruct and guide to find their inner champions which have in the past few weeks enabled them to cycle further than they had thought possible.

As for My Fit Life Coaching clients we start by simply noticing, picking up the varying degrees of self talk and inner critics, we talk about taking advantage of what they already have within themselves and then we move on to focusing the energy on where they want it to be. Mindfulness and Meditation has a place in this process, it can be a way to ‘sharpen the saw’ to use one of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits and like I said, you don’t have to be Yoda to use it.

This is my mindfulness and meditation journey – where will it take me – how will I grow?

To find out more: see the books that I have read and used in earnest to support my mindfulness practice.

28 Day Meditation Challenge by: Clare Josa

Mindfulness a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by: Mark Williams and Danny Penman