Do you have a To-Do List that you always struggle to get through? Do you feel that your brain is constantly foggy and less ‘sharp’ than it could be? What about feeling low in energy all the time?
Do you sometimes feel that if you could break through these issues, you could be thriving?
I have two words for you: Vedic Meditation.
I learnt to meditate over 10 years ago when a former boss told me that I was someone who was very anxious and stressed out (she got that spot on) and might benefit from learning to meditate. At that time, the only thing I knew about meditation is… nothing. I knew nothing about it, knew no one who meditated and thought that it only involved sitting crossed legged on the floor. How wrong I was!
After one introductory session hosted by the London Meditation Center, I took part in a weekend-long course that changed my life for the better. Sounds pretty far-fetched right? If someone had said that to me before that weekend, I would have thought: “Ok, you are obviously a total hippy, there is no way that meditation can be all that life-changing”. But for me, and it turns out for many of my friends too, it really has and continues to be the most impactful wellbeing practice I incorporate into my life.
On days where I consistently practice, two times a day for 20 minutes, I am transported into the person I want to be. I am productive, my mind comes up with creative solutions to problems I have been struggling with, I am more positive, happier, and most importantly, I sleep much better at night. This then becomes a self-perpetuating circle where I am just functioning better in every aspect of my life. I am thriving.
To contrast that, on days when, for whatever reason, I forget, or run out of time to practice, or think ‘I’ve totally got this I don’t need to meditate’, I lapse into the person who is honestly just not thriving. I procrastinate, it takes me longer to get things done, especially those things on my To-Do List that I really do not want to do and will find any excuse to put off, and I am just less happy and less calm. Small things make me more anxious, and there is just a little bit more adrenalin running through my body which means that throughout the day I am on edge and as a result, am more exhausted.
So what is Vedic Meditation?
Vedic Meditation is similar to Transcendental Meditation. It is a technique that arose in northern India around 10,000 years ago and it is said to be the oldest meditation technique still being practised today. It comes from the ancient Vedic civilization in India.
The great thing about Vedic Meditation is that you can practise it anywhere and the only thing you need, is you. (*Once you have been taught properly that is!)
So how does it work? You basically sit comfortably with your eyes closed. It doesn’t involve a breathing cycle or visualisations. In your course, you will be given a mantra which you silently will repeat to yourself over and over again. Your mind might wonder but that doesn’t matter. When you realise your mind has wondered you just gently bring the mantra into play.
When writing this, I realised that I didn’t know to describe a mantra without it sounding too ‘out there’. So I did some research and came across this description from The Meditation Trust:
“It is a meaningless sound. Using a word with meaning would keep the mind on the surface, thinking about the word, and not allow it to transcend (go beyond) that level.
Its vibration has a resonance with its source in the primordial hum (Om) close to the silent, blissful level of the mind which gives it a tendency to fade in that direction. This attracts and charms the mind, which itself is always searching for greater happiness, so the mind settles with the mantra towards silence.”
Even thinking about MY mantra as I write this allows my whole body to feel calm, to have clarity of thought. I know it sounds a little far-fetched, but it is true.
The impact of practising Vedic Mediation on my life
What is curious is that when I started my company Good Zing, I didn’t connect it at all to meditation. But reflecting on the time of my life when I had the ‘light bulb’ moment for the platform, I was consistently meditating, minimum once and sometimes twice a day.
As Good Zing grew and we started to get a varied mixture of experts on the platform, including a few Vedic Meditation practitioners talking about dealing with stress, procrastination, anxiety and other emotional issues, I realised what an incredible impact Vedic Meditation has had on my life.
I used to be riddled with low confidence and anxiety. What would people think if I said or did something? I would be too anxious to send an email without checking it multiple times. There is no way I would have had the confidence to start a business, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to put myself out there, to say ‘hey, I’ve got an idea of a business I want to start’ and here it is.
So how does it feel to practise Vedic meditation? I often joke that it feels how my cell phone or laptop must feel once it has been plugged in to be charged. I feel like I am charging up my whole body, both physically and mentally to thrive.
So where should you start?
Curious about trying Vedic meditation?
There are some really fantastic teachers around the world, with names like Charlie Knowles (Bali & the US), Light Watkins (US), Naomi Wright (UK) springing to mind. I also would always recommend the husband/wife team that I learnt with who are based in London and New York: The London Meditation Center. The key is finding a reputable Vedic Meditation teacher who you click with, who you can be yourself with and ask any question you want. For the cynics out there, like I was, this is especially important.