“Certain poses are designed to calm down the nervous system.
Some can help people with PTSD, and that’s my focus right now.”
Meditation – Remind your mind to relax
How do you relax? Do you find yourself reaching for a beer, cigarettes or a blade when the pressure just gets too much? You certainly aren’t alone if the answer is yes.
This month we’re exploring the topic of self-awareness at #PLQ, and in this article, we are focusing on the benefits of meditation. We’ll be sharing some lesser-known meditative techniques which can help you minimise anxiety and our guest interviewee, Brieanne Tanner, will be giving us some tips on yoga and meditation.
Photographer – Toby at http://www.pexels.com
Meditation – it’s a word which can put some people off exploring, even before trying – and if I’m honest, I was once one of those people, but what does meditation really mean?
Meditation is the act of remaining in a silent and calm state for a period of time, as part of a religious training, or so that you are more able to deal with the problems of everyday life.
How I learned to love meditation
Several years ago, my health became unstable. As a result, my anxiety promptly followed suit. I’d been here before and knew I needed to find an outlet before it got out of control. My insomnia, panic and plummeting mood were all too familiar.
My doctor advised I try working on my breathing by using meditation and yoga, two things I’d never tried before. The thought didn’t inspire me and I didn’t find it easy, but rather than be discouraged, I joined a local group. Once I got into it I was pleasantly surprised by how calming it felt. It’s soothing, repetitive movements were graceful, and the motion of breathing as one was wonderfully invigorating. My wariness of the unfamiliar gradually subsided and I began to look forward to these sessions and it soon led me to try tai chi too.
That was almost eight years ago. I now practice tai chi, qi gong and guided meditation every week. It’s become a part of my self-care routine.
You see, what I didn’t realize was that there are many ways to meditate, it can be easy and it should be enjoyable. That’s right! It’s all to do with noticing, living in the moment and appreciating small things in a focused way. Now I’ve got a number of what I call, “rescue remedies”, to reduce anxiety in myself.
My top five faves
- Eyes closed, focusing on birdsong beyond my window.
- PMR (Progressive Muscular Remediation). Guided meditation focusing on relaxing each section of the body. Progressive Muscular Remedy
- Meditating on an object – a candle, flower or found pebble.
- Meditative walking while being fully aware of my surroundings.
- Listening to calming music with headphones on and eyes closed.
What would yours be?
Recently, I was very fortunate to be able to interview today’s guest. Her name is Brieanne Tanner and she is an inspiring yoga practitioner who works directly with survivors of domestic abuse.
Brieanne has been practicing yoga for eleven years, is an avid practitioner and a registered teacher with Yoga Alliance. Her mission as a teacher at LACASA, is to help those suffering from PTSD.
LACASA protects, advocates for and empowers victims and survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Brieanne – “I started with gentle yoga, which is more meditative. I wasn’t a regular practitioner as I am now and it took me a while to realise it was changing my breathing pattern. At work I’d consciously notice how I was breathing intense situations, then redirect my breath. I was in panic mode. I then started Asana – physical yoga. I found that because I’ve been active all my life, I needed to do physical movement. I wasn’t the type of meditator who could just sit there.
Brieanne – At LACASA, my intention is to do a slow meditative Asana, the focus is on breathing and enabling a calm state rather than fight or flight, which is seen in survivors of abuse. Certain poses are designed to calm down the nervous system. Some can help people with PTSD, and that’s my focus right now.”
It’s also her wish to introduce others to the natural high that can be achieved through meditation, because many survivors of abuse find unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol. It’s remarkable what breathing deeply can do to the brain, isn’t it?
Many thanks for finding time to talk to PLQ, Brieanne.
We hope PLQ has inspired you to explore meditation and become more observant, after all, who doesn’t want to feel “blissed out”?
If this has encouraged you and you are physically able to have a go, why not try one of my “Rescue Remedies” above or this short practice for beginners, by Brieanne?
Be the person you want to be!
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist.