People Who Meditate are Happier - Learn How
It's worth taking the time every day to get some headspace. People who meditate regularly are less stressed, calmer and generally happier that people who do not meditate. Meditation can also lower blood pressure and lead to healthier bodies as well as minds.
Getting back in to your everyday routine can be stressful after the festive holiday season - the kids are back at school, work is piling up and that summer holiday seems so very far away. You might also feel the pressure (literally) of that one-too-many (boxes of) Quality Street on your waistband and while that Davina McCall workout DVD might have seemed a good idea when you bought it why not start your ‘new year, new you’ regime by being just a little kinder to yourself and find your inner bliss and outer superior posterior at the same time.
Union between body and mind
“Yoga means union and I have learned very much through my own practice that it is a connection between body and mind,” suggests Michelle Lang practitioner and instructor at Divine Yoga Glasgow.
Michelle’s classes consist of breath control (pranayama), asana and guided meditation. Students are encouraged to be mindful, to observe their breath and sensations that arise within their bodies.
“Awareness is promoted of the constantly changing process of thinking, rather than to the substance of thoughts, and is always brought back to the breath,” says Michelle. “This enables students to feel grounded in the present moment, within their yoga practice. The overall aim is for the asanas themselves to become a moving meditation.”
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga, the particular type of Yoga Michelle instructs, is the most popular Yoga in the West, and its benefits are many. “Hatha Yoga is a preparatory stage of physical purification that renders the body fit for the practice of higher meditation,” explains Michelle. “It strengthens the body, while creating greater flexibility and movement. It helps to regulate body secretions, breath, brain waves and prana (life force) bringing a sense of peace and well being.”
If you’re not quite up to a yoga stretch just yet however, then there are a range of mobile meditation apps that can help you live a more mindful life.
Meditation and Mindfulness Apps
Headspace breaks down the practice of simple mindfulness techniques in a pleasing user-experience app from former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. Each directed 10-minute session is easy to follow and super relaxing with the odd joke thrown in for good measures. Reportedly Emma Watson is a fan, and well, if it’s good enough for Hermione…
Calm presents the 7 Steps of Calm - seven guided sessions running from between 2-20 minutes with a range of natural scenes and sounds to transport you to your place of Zen - the pouring rain is particularly pleasant, though that may be because it is a familiar sound in Glasgow.
Self Lead Meditation
Of course you could just choose to find a little time in your day to meditate on your own. Mornings are best, and if you can pick the same spot and time to practice in every day then the likelihood is you’ll end up forming a healthy habit - but you could just convert some of your transit time (on the bus to work, perhaps) or a little of your lunch break. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Focus on your breathing - take slow, deep breaths while gazing straight ahead, imagine the sun warming you and melting away all of your stress - or the rain washing away your tension. Slowly stretch your arms and legs before rising and moving on with your day.
Michelle’s Divine Yoga classes take place at Cathcart Congregational Church in the Southside of Glasgow. Michelle runs a Beginners Level 2 class from 6.45-7.45pm and a Complete Beginners class from 8pm - 9pm on a Tuesday, a General Hatha Yoga class from 6.45-8pm on a Thursday and a Saturday morning Stretch & Relax class from 10am - 11am. All classes are drop in and cost £8 a session, but places can be reserved by contacting Michelle directly through her website.
Headspace and Calm are available on both Android and Apple iOS platforms.
Find a deal for yoga in Glasgow.
Ann Nugent is a 30-something girl in the city of Glasgow. A freelance style writer and culture insider, Ann established her blog in 2010 and regularly contributes reviews and social commentary across Scottish national and local media titles.