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I thought Meditation was for the mind…

I am writing this after having returned from a weekend meditation retreat in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.

After spending approximately 4-5 hours a day meditating, which is a huge increase for me, and also for many others on the retreat, I realised just how calm I felt. The really interesting thing was I didn’t just feel calm in my mind, but in a physical sense too.

This brought home to me how meditation is recommended as a mindset tool, but the effect on the body is rarely, if ever, mentioned. My cardiovascular system had countless chances to rest which in turn relaxed my parasympathetic nervous system (the nervous system in your body which promotes relaxation in your physical systems; thus reducing anxiety and stress, improving sleep and so on - essentially taking you out of flight-fight mode). As a result, I felt actually able to relax, my usual shoulder tense had eased and I felt calm enough to simply sit and ‘be’.

This is something that is very overlooked in our modern world, I mean how can you possibly just sit and do nothing, isn’t that just pure laziness? Well I can answer that with a categorical no. Our bodies are crying out for this, what we may view as a luxury is actually an essential.

Taking our bodies out of flight and fight mode is crucial to our physical and mental wellbeing; if we do not do this, one day we will suffer as a result.

I ended up spending time in nature, and I mean really spending time in nature; reading and even using a mindfulness colouring book that I bought about 5 years ago!

So, if you want to do something free, accessible and really good for you - I seriously believe there is no better option that to start to build a meditation practice into your daily life - perhaps swap your ‘scrolling‘ time on your phone; end your TV watching or set your alarm slightly earlier, whatever you can trade for a 10 minute quiet sit - you’ll be so glad you did.

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