Meditation for Mums – must do!

Meditation for Mums – must do!

One of the best things I’ve done for myself this year has been to start a regular meditation practice. It’s something quite new to me – and to be perfectly honest, it’s something way outside my comfort zone! But over the past several months I’ve come to realise what an incredibly powerful tool meditation is for new mothers.

As mums we can easily become overwhelmed by the enormity of our role. Every decision seems impossibly important. We find ourselves busily plowing through days – doing lots, but somehow not achieving much. Our minds suddenly cannot seem to be quietened.

If this sounds like you – meditation could be a wonderful solution.

Uncertain about meditation? Don’t be.

Meditation doesn’t need to be scary – we don’t need to climb to the highest mountain in our village and sit upside down cross-legged on a bed of lotus flowers in order to meditate.

We can do it anywhere, anytime, and there are several different forms of meditation you can try.

At its core, meditation is about allowing the mind to be still, calm, to focus. By allowing our mind to quieten, we also quieten our body and soul. Letting go of stress, anxiety and other negative emotions is the key benefit.

Here’s a few different meditation strategies to consider.

1:  Mindfulness:

  • Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Stop everything you’re doing and simply focus on your breathing. Focus on breathing deep down into your belly, not high into your chest. Focus your mind on the breath – in and out.
  • When you notice your mind wandering – which it will! – Just be aware of this wandering, let the thought go and bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Try this for a few minutes every day.
  • I find this is a particularly good technique to use if you need a “time-out” from a crying baby. Put the baby in a safe place – on his or her back in the cot – and walk outside to try this technique for just a minute or two. It could be just enough time to break the cycle of stress and anxiety you feel building up, which allow you to go back to your baby with a calmer focus. Babies pick up on our emotions – if we can remain calm, it will help baby to learn how to be calm.

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2:  Your Mummy Mantra

  • A mantra is similar to mindfulness meditation, but it can be used for a shorter period and you focus on a word, sentence or phrase which has meaning to you and calms you.
  • It could be a simple word such as “calm”, “peaceful”, “relax”, or it could be a more meaningful sentence such as “this too shall pass”.
  • Silently and calmly repeat the word or words to yourself, for as long as you need. Don’t try to change your thoughts, just allow the process to calm your mind.
  • This is a great technique to use when your baby or child is upset or causing a scene in public – such as at the supermarket!

 

3:  Moving meditation

  • This is a great one for people who don’t like to meditate or “can’t handle” sitting still – great to practice while walking bubs in the pram.
  • Find a calming, peaceful place to walk – along the beach, a park or trail is great to increase your connection with nature.
  • Before you start your walk – stop for a moment to appreciate your surroundings, then bring your focus to your body. Feel the weight of your feet on the ground, feel the movement of your legs striding, feel the lift of your torso holding your body up. Raise your face up and feel the sun on your face. Concentrate on how your body moves and the sensations of this movement as you walk.
  • Mindfulness is key here – being aware of your body and its surroundings.

 

4:  Guided Meditations.

  • There are literally thousands of guided meditations on the internet – some better than others. My advice is to simply google the sort of meditation you’re after, eg. “guided meditation for stress relief”, “guided meditation for confidence”.
  • Listen to a few and choose some that you like. You can then download your favourites to your iPhone – you can listen to them anywhere – take your baby for a walk in the pram and take a few minutes to sit at the park and meditate.
  • I quite like Meditation Station on iTunes – lots of free guided meditations for different topics.

 

5:  Take a class

  • A formal class is a great way to get the maximum benefit out of meditation, as you can be led by someone trained in meditation techniques.
  • Most yoga classes will include some kind of guided meditation at the end, which is always great. Also, many massage practitioners will include some form of guided meditation at the end of their treatment.
  • Another great option is an actual meditation classes – there are several around Adelaide – just google meditation in your local area – you might be surprised what you find!

 

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

Do you control your body? Or does it control you?

Something interesting happened today at one of my worksites. One of the staff, a Kenyan man, was showing a video on his phone of children dancing in a Kenyan village (much like this video I found on youtube!). The staff members watching the video were absolutely transfixed, astounded at the way these kids could MOVE! With such ease, lightness, freedom and spirit. The general chatter was something along the lines of: “I could never get my body to work like that”.

Why not? Where have we, in the western world, got it so wrong, that the notion of being able to control our bodies to move beautifully and intricately is so lost?

Our bodies are designed to move.

The human body is an absolutely amazing construction. Just think for a moment about the more than 600 muscles, 200 bones and 200 joints that work together to form the human anatomy. Not to mention the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and neural pathways that work in concert to operate this brilliant structure.

A creation this beautiful, capable and complex was not created to sit behind a desk all day. Or to slouch on the sofa with an iPad in hand. It was designed to move. To run, jump, crouch, leap, tumble, stroll, dodge, amble, skip, hop, sashay, jostle, climb, crawl.

It was designed to move. To dance.

It was not so long ago that our silver screen heroes were people like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, now it’s the Kardashians. Not so long ago that young people would congregate at public halls to dance the night away, now we meet at restaurants and take pictures of our food.

With our current lifestyles being ruled by seats and screens, it’s no wonder we’ve lost touch with our ability to move. That we no longer feel confident to command and control our bodies to move at our will. We live in a time where it’s reinforced to us that we are at the mercy of our bodies – through injury, illness, sickness, weight. And that our bodies are at the mercy of society, of our environment.

Kids know how to move. When do we lose this knowledge?
Kids know how to move. When do we lose this knowledge?

From the moment we start school we’re plonked in a chair and told to sit still for several hours a day. Fast forward 12 years later and we move to an office cubicle, where we’re expected to do the exact same thing. Where we email a colleague three offices away to save ourselves from the hassle of getting up and walking.

Have we, as a society, really lost our ability to move?

Or have we lost our belief in our right to move?

Want to regain control of your body?

Get up and move.