Strength in still­ness.

Good - - CONTENTS - with Rachel Grun­well Rachel is a writer, PT, yoga and mind­ful­ness teacher. in­spired­health.co.nz @in­spired health and fit­ness In­spiredHealthNZ

Strength in still­ness

We live on a stress­ful and sped-up planet. Ev­ery­thing is get­ting faster and more ef­fi­cient. But go­ing faster isn’t al­ways bet­ter. It can lead to burn-out. So, it’s im­por­tant to be mind­ful to pri­ori­tise time to feel calmer and have more clar­ity.

There is power in paus­ing and do­ing med­i­ta­tion. We can then re-set and strengthen.

When I teach yoga and med­i­ta­tion, I share with stu­dents that med­i­ta­tion is like mu­sic. You know those pause mo­ments in a song? They can be as pow­er­ful as the lyrics. Those pause mo­ments help us to ap­pre­ci­ate the loud, pow­er­ful notes too and beauty of the piece. If all the notes were loud, the piece wouldn’t have the same im­pact. Those pauses can also be like a piece of art. The softer, finer strokes in a paint­ing are as beau­ti­ful as the darker more in­tense shades.

Med­i­ta­tion slows us down, so we can speed up. It can help cast aside the mind clut­ter.

Bob Roth’s new book on tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion is Strength in Still­ness. It’s an apt ti­tle. He raves that this style of med­i­ta­tion boosts your well­be­ing. He says it im­proves fo­cus, sleep, re­silience, mem­ory, cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. He pre­scribes 20 min­utes twice daily.

The book has lots of celebrity en­dorse­ments. This in­cludes Oprah Win­frey, Hugh Jack­man, Gwyneth Pal­trow, Ellen DeGeneres and Stella McCart­ney.

Pal­trow states in the book that this med­i­ta­tion tech­nique is some­thing she has come “to rely on”.

Win­frey states “I am one thou­sand per cent bet­ter when I do it”. Roth ex­plains in the book that med­i­ta­tion af­fects our brain waves. It al­lows us to be more present and cen­tred dur­ing stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ences. We have more “rest­ful alert­ness” dur­ing med­i­ta­tion. It also makes us smarter, hap­pier and more re­laxed.

“It’s pow­er­ful for re­duc­ing stress,” Roth writes. He adds that the tech­nique can be ef­fort­less and is also non-re­li­gious.

Roth says you can learn tran­scen­den­tal med­i­ta­tion in a few sit­tings. He gives peo­ple a mantra unique to them which is “a ve­hi­cle for tran­scend­ing”.

When I run health re­treats at the Poly­ne­sian Spa, lots of clients ask, “how do I start med­i­tat­ing?”

I teach them to start with two min­utes daily, which is easy for any busy in­di­vid­ual. There’s true power in med­i­tat­ing even for two min­utes. You can build on this time if you wish.

I tell my clients to find a space where you feel com­fort­able – it could be out­side or in­side. If it’s out­side, you might like to ob­serve the clouds and their colour and their move­ment in the sky. Next, no­tice the sway­ing of the tree branches and lis­ten to bird song and no­tice the warmth of the sun on your skin. While do­ing this, breathe slow and deep belly breaths. These mo­ments of still­ness can help you feel more present. It’s an an­ti­dote to stress.

I now know how to use this tech­nique and use it of­ten. I even feel like my run­ning is mov­ing med­i­ta­tion a lot now. It’s so up­lift­ing.

It’s nor­mal for your mind to wan­der when you first start med­i­ta­tion by the way. Roth calls it the “gotta-got­tagotta mind”.

He writes we of­ten have a hy­per­ac­tive mind that’s al­ways think­ing “I gotta do this. I gotta do that. I gotta call him. I gotta call her.

I gotta make a list. Then I gotta slow down. I gotta get go­ing. I gotta get to sleep. I gotta get up.” Sound fa­mil­iar? I felt this way when I started too. I was the worst fid­get. Ev­ery­thing was a dis­trac­tion: Non-stop thoughts, sounds and I felt self-con­scious. But I have learned how to en­joy these pause mo­ments. They give me a pow­er­ful re-set.

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