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MEDITATION IDEAS FOR BEGINNERS


How much time do you spend in activity during your day, performing tasks that make your brain work overtime?

And how much time do you spend quietly settling your mind and clearing it out from all the thinking, all the analysing and constant planning? Not to mention all the complaining about the hundreds of things that are not going the way you want. And the old resentments that keep poking their heads up for your attention. And the worries. And the to-do lists.

It’s not your fault! 

Life can be so stressful, and often we have no idea how to manage ourselves and so we turn to food, alcohol, drugs, compulsive shopping, binge-watching, or other distractions just for some relief. If you  sometimes feel like your head will just run away with you, and you don’t know what to do about it… well, there is good news ahead.

Meditation is something everyone can do with no need for anything outside of yourself. But if you are looking, you will easily find meditation courses and groups to help you. 

Eckart Tolle, who began his new life only because his mind ‘broke’ from anxiety, causing him to have a stress breakdown on a park bench, says “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

So here are some simple ideas that may help you to align the mind to your best purposes, and to gain clarity, focus and peace.


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Why Should I Meditate? 

The human mind is a wonderful machine, but it is just that: a computer given to us to use. And instead, most of us let it use us! The good news (and isn’t it amazing that there is always good news if we look for it 😊) is that, like a computer, the mind can be programmed to run the systems YOU choose. 

And here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy: 

Reduced negative emotions.
Calmed anxiety.
New perspectives on stressful situations.
Boosted memory.
Improved cognition.
Increased self-awareness.
More focus on the present.
Awareness of addictive behaviours.
Emotional health.
Increased creativity.
Enhanced self-awareness.
Lengthened attention span.
Improved sleep.
Increased patience and tolerance.
And more ease of kindness and tolerance.


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How Does Meditation Actually Affect My Brain / Neurochemistry? 


Your brain is capable of naturally creating key chemicals that pharmaceutical companies synthesize in a lab. For example, serotonin helps regulate mood, social behavior, appetite, sleep, memory, and more. Some antidepressants work by increasing the usable levels of serotonin in your brain. Meditation has also been shown to increase serotonin levels, without the side effects, making it a promising complementary therapy. Measurable changes of neurochemistry from meditation include:

  • Brain alpha wave activity increased: Alpha waves are associated with relaxation. 
  • GABA increased: Gamma-aminobutyric acid counteracts anxiety and stress symptoms, leading to more relaxation. 
  • Serotonin increased: Serotonin helps regulate mood. Low levels of usable serotonin are associated with depression. 
  • BDNF increased: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is a protein responsible for neuron health and neuroplasticity. Yoga can boost levels of BDNF, which may help people with chronic pain or depression. 
  • Dopamine regulated: Dopamine acts as your body’s reward system, and dysfunction is associated with addiction. Research suggests that meditation results in improved self-regulation. 
  • Cortisol reduced: Cortisol is a stress hormone. When your baseline increases and levels are too high for too long, it can lead to inflammation and weight gain. 
  • Norepinephrine reduced: A decrease in norepinephrine, or adrenaline, means fewer stress hormones in your system.

With thanks to www.yogajournal.com, read the rest of this article here.


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But How Do I Even Begin Meditating? 


Here are some ways to get started that may surprise you.

First thing in the morning, as you open your eyes, become aware of what you are thinking about. Is your brain buzzing with thoughts of yesterday, and of what the day ahead holds for you? Just start to notice this. Become aware of your thought patterns. That is the first step – simply becoming AWARE. 

Last thing at night, when your head hits the pillow: are you mentally going over things undone, resentments, and worries about what tomorrow will bring? Again, simply becoming aware of them is the first step. Be easy on yourself. Simply notice the movies playing in your head.

When the above becomes habit, when you are able to detach a bit from the noise and to observe the busy-ness, you are ready to step back from it, to SEE what the mind is doing. It is at this point that you are ready to start calming it. The great thing is that simply observing the mind quiets it already, and gives you the space to start changing the habits.

Because really, that is all it is – a habit. And habits can be changed! 

And now for the big surprise… if you thought you absolutely had to sit in silence, on the floor in lotus position with your hands held a certain way and your body still and upright, you are mistaken! 


Use your breath:

  • Simply focus on your breathing and allow the breaths to even out.
  • Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Be aware of the chest – if it is moving too much, draw the breathing down, and allow it to fill the area underneath the chest the diaphragm, more. 
  • This will help you to start pull the breath into your stomach, which is optimal.

Meditation can be simply a state of mind during odd moments in the day. It can be the habit of noticing your thoughts are going crazy and gently pulling yourself back to awareness of the moment.

Be easy on yourself…

Big changes begin with the decision. Intention is everything, so start with the steps above: first thing in the morning, last thing at night, become aware of your mind’s wanderings. Then, you start breathing to calm it. 

And then, you will naturally begin to do that as part of your daily life. Take time for yourself, with the little things: create rituals out of time you usually spend blindly, like showering, driving, even making a cup of tea.



A Tea Meditation For You To Try


What tea shall I drink now? Choose your tea with care. Sniff the teas, take in the colors of the boxes or jars you keep them in. Take a moment to enjoy having these choices and feel the gratitude. Be reverent of your blessings – not everyone has these luxuries. 

What cup should I use? Change things up, look in the back of the cupboard. Take time to enjoy the array, and perhaps take one that you don’t often use. Or lovingly pick out your absolute favorite. Just be in the moment.

Water… notice the sounds of the water boiling and the sight of the steam the kettle releases. Allow all your senses to take in this little miracle we don’t often think about, how heat changes the water and allows it to merge with the air as it bubbles.

Enjoy the color as it steeps: feast your eyes as the tea starts to meld with the water.

Bring awareness to the ritual. If you add ingredients, allow your mind to focus only on these, clearing all other thoughts. Milk, what a lovely viscous white. Honey, how it drips golden from the spoon. The sound of the teaspoon, the rattle of the saucer. 

And now… sip sloooowly. Taste the flavors on your tongue. Allow it to roll around your mouth. The smell, the sight, the heat against your lips… simply BE, with your tea. 


PRESS ME FOR
THE TEA!


Your meditation practice can be achieved anytime, anywhere, sitting, standing, running or even lying down. It is an attitude towards your thinking. It is a way of being. It is a conscious application of releasing the need to ruminate over the past or to worry about the future. 

Try it. You deserve it! 


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