Will Williams, Vedic Meditation Teacher introduces us to the power of mindfulness and gives us some intriguing insight into meditation.
Eight years ago I was working in the music industry, partying a lot, leading a very stressful lifestyle and suffering with insomnia. I was at Shoreditch House one evening when a friend of a friend suggested that I try Vedic meditation to alleviate the sleep disorder that was making me miserable.
Having tried many different treatments including yoga, acupuncture, tablets, reflexology and hypnotherapy, I jumped at the chance to try something different. Within weeks my insomnia vanished and my sense of happiness and well-being vastly improved. I was in complete awe of its effect on me and sought to learn everything I could about it.
We’re living in a world where we are chronically over stimulated from technology and demanding environments - the result being that our stress response is activated far beyond what is healthy. This can manifest in anything from irritability, to IBS, to cancer.
With the particular technique we teach, the nervous system is able to reach a profound state of rest. It is from this state that all of the systems within the body can repair and rejuvenate. This enables significant healing on a physical, emotional and psychological level. Our new normal quickly develops into being one of calm, clarity, positivity, creating and strength. Anxiety and depression are alleviated, mindfulness increases and our self-confidence develops, we begin trusting in life and become more in tune with our true selves.
There are other, perhaps more surprising benefits: we’ve seen women who have been struggling with fertility conceive within months of learning! Skin conditions clear up quickly, weight normalises and addictions like smoking and drinking disappear.
All I can say is that I have tried almost every type of meditation and learnt from many of the great masters. It is Vedic Meditation that has been the most transformative for me. It's simplicity and portable nature makes for very easy integration into busy, modern day lifestyles. Many people come to us after trying Mindfulness courses and various apps and felt that there were more benefits to find within meditation.
We teach the ancient Indian technique of Vedic meditation – anyone can do it! It’s a simple yet truly transformative style of meditation. Each person who learns Vedic meditation is given a personalised mantra, or sound, that resonates deeply with their nervous system. By silently repeating that sound in your mind with your eyes closed, you will be able to enter into a deep state of relaxation. When done regularly, we soon find that a sense of calm, clarity, creativity and strength permeates our everyday life.
The technique only takes 20 minutes, twice a day. Whilst it may sound ambitious to dedicate 40 minutes a day to meditation, the beautiful thing is that you’ll actually find that you’re getting more time out of your day as you become more productive and speed through your to-do list.
If you really can’t manage that, then try Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath) - it’s a ten minute breathing exercise that balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain and promotes deep relaxation.
Trying to quieten the mind by releasing all thoughts from it is somewhat of a challenge and can result in increased anxiety - which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve with meditation. It’s far easier to focus on a sound, an object or mantra - this allows the brain to effortlessly enter a state of coherence much more quickly than by trying to clear the mind forcefully.
It can be a really beneficial and indeed beautiful experience to learn in a group and share the collective harmonious energy that meditating produces. We run regular group meditation nights and even ‘shavasana discos’ that always go down really well, it’s great to connect with people on that level.
Ultimately, it’s what suits you best -be that an individual practice or as part of a group.
Other than meditation, which has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 33%, I’ve found that following an Ayurvedic diet has been significant in transforming my health and undoing the damaging effects from years of accumulated stress. Staring at screens all day can really upset the nervous system over time. Make sure you’re taking adequate breaks from the screen.
Gentle exercise such as yoga is great for opening up our energy channels and soothing frazzled minds and bodies.
We are all doing so much damage to ourselves through many of our everyday influences and no one is immune. So the greatest lesson is understanding just how much stress affects us. What a revelation it can be when we undo that and achieve a level of balance and growth that goes way beyond anything you may have experienced before.
The wonderful thing about living a life revolved around meditation means that I’m rarely out of balance! That being said, living in one of the busiest cities in the world can of course brings its challenges.
When I need an especially deep level of restoration, I do a technique called ‘rounding’, which we teach on our retreats. It promotes deep levels of healing and a combination of pranayama (breath control), meditation and gentle yoga asana.
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