Meditation is an ancient practice that allows you to reconnect with yourself, and with the world around you. It’s an extremely effective way of relieving stress, as it quickly calms the mind and relaxes the body, and over a period of time can significantly change your outlook on life.
People who meditate regularly:
- Tend to have more positive emotions and are less moody and irritable.
- Are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression.
- Have improved immune system function, lower cholesterol levels, and normalised blood pressure.
- Are able to relax deeply.
- Are more able to cope with pain.
During meditation, you learn to observe what is happening in the moment, and to let go of trying to control and change things. You’ll learn to listen to yourself more, to pay attention to what you need, and notice what is doing you harm. In the process, you often become healthier, happier, and more balanced.
Catherine Doyle is a qualified meditation facilitator and fully trained to support you in your meditation journey.
Your Questions Answered
What is Meditation?
Meditation refers to a mental state of clarity and calm, which can be reached by using various techniques. Typically you sit for a few minutes during meditation, whilst concentrating on a particular object, such as a candle or your breath. As you hold the object with your full attention, your constantly chattering mind slows down and you begin to experience moments of stillness. Although meditation is very simple, it can be incredibly difficult to hold your attention to start with, but with regular practice it becomes easier, and the effects start to spill over into everyday life.
Do I have to sit on the floor to meditate?
No; the most important thing is that your spine is balanced and supported whilst meditating. Some people prefer an upright chair, or a special stool, others prefer to support themselves as they sit on the floor cross-legged. For some meditation techniques lying down is best, and for others you will need to move around.
Is meditation religious?
While many meditation techniques originated as a religious practice, almost all can be carried out in a non-religious manner. I am trained in a wide variety of meditation techniques drawn from many traditions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, and modern practices. In my lessons and classes, we use various techniques purely for meditation without reference to the religions that they originate from. If you are wish to learn about Buddhist dharma or the yoga sutras, you’ll need to look elsewhere; however if you wish to learn how to still your mind, relax your body, better manage your response to stress, or gain a better understanding of yourself, then I can help you with that.
Will learning meditation help me to relax?
During meditation, breathing slows and deepens, heart rate slows down, blood pressure drops, and muscles relax – this is known as the relaxation response. With practice, you can recreate this feeling whenever you desire, either through a formal meditation practice, or more informally using mini-meditations which you can easily fit into a busy day.
What styles of meditation do you teach?
I use a variety of concentrative and mindfulness practices from Buddhist, Yogic, and Western traditions. My meditation classes and private lessons include the traditional uses of mantra, guided visualisation, mindfulness, moving meditation, and working with the breath and the body, as well as mini-meditations that you can integrate into your day.
What’s best for me — private lessons or a group class?
Private lessons work well for those who:
- Want to learn a specific style of meditation (e.g. mindfulness, mantra, walking, breath-meditations).
- Want to start meditating, and need help setting up a personal practice that works for them.
- Are having trouble with meditation and need practical help or accountability to get through difficulties they are encountering in their practice.
- Prefer individual attention at a time to suit them.
- Want to get started right away.
Private lessons are available face-to-face in the Southern Highlands, and via Skype worldwide.
Group classes are well suited to those who:
- Want to learn on a budget.
- Enjoy meditating in a group.
- Are looking for a general introduction to many different styles of meditation.