Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I go on about the benefits of meditation, how to do it and how much it has changed my life, this is, of course, correct and I am very grateful for its many benefits. I dutifully get up in the morning, shamefully check my Instagram and emails, take a glug of water and then head for a first thing pee. But then I always sit back on the bed, pillows plumped to support my back, eyes closed and go start my morning practice. There are some occasions when I don’t meditate in the morning like if I have a migraine or much more rarely a hangover. If I have a migraine, it is often caused by said hangover; or if I have made myself late, scrolling mindlessly through my social media feed.
I make a promise never to go two days without meditating otherwise the wheels start to fall off my zen-ness. I do know how frustrating it has been for some of you to get your meditation practice off the ground. You have told me that you’ve downloaded the apps; you got up an hour early; you’ve crept downstairs before your kids, and snoring partner wake up, and you have even taken the time to set up a little meditation area in the corner of the living room. But try as you might this meditation lark just isn’t working and I blame that Pascale.
I really want you to get in to meditation. I feel that even if thing are tickety-boo on the mental front, having a spiritual practice such as this is something special that you can do for yourself, and it only serves to enhance your mental as well physical wellbeing. But I do know how hard it can be to get a meditation practice off the ground.
Put down the app for a second and google your nearest mediation centre. There are some places which are free and others you pay a small sum, but even if you go once to get into a better meditative place then do go. This is meditation made simple because someone is basically doing it all for you. If you find the right place, they will guide you through the steps and when your mind starts to wander there will be gentle prompts to bring you back. On top of that, the vibe of the place will help. There will be no people with annoyingly loud voices (my Achilles heel). No temptation to put on the last few series of your latest binge-watch, no rearranging your knicker draw and no glancing at that skinny yoga girl (urggggh that bod) and her hot new boyfriend on Instagram.
The energy of the place will help carry you in a space which is more conducive for your meditation. You may even learn some new ways of doing it which will help deepen your practice. Try a few different places if you can even after work or on the weekend. Eventually, I hope you will find a place and a technique that suits and helps you do your meditation more easily, alone at home. I went to one in New York’s Flatiron district called Inspace. I had a big meeting later on that day, and I was feeling nervous, so I added a visit to this place on top of my morning meditation session.
The minute I went in I felt relaxed. Everyone walked around looking peaceful, and whiffs of ylang-ylang and lemongrass filled the air. The girl at the desk took my fee of 22 dollars for a single session.
After entering the silent area to dispose of our possessions in a locker (which cleverly had a USB port at the back of each one so you could charge your phones), we received a talk from the facilitator. She explained what to expect during the next 35 minutes. She said to make ourselves comfortable in The Dome, use the bolster cushions wherever we saw fit and then just listen to the audio recording, guiding use to a higher place.
There were for of us in the group and she gave us all a drop of essential oil on our wrist which we were instructed to rubbed together with the other wrist and give it a good sniff. This magic blend was supposed to make us feel relaxed but alert and ready for the rest of the day. I remember thinking I must buy a vat of that stuff to take back to blightly. I sat in the room and made myself comfortable with the cushions and bean bags.
She dimmed the light and off we went. The room was like a hive with a bamboo ceiling, and a lady’s voice began speaking. I must admit for the first few minutes I was trying to figure out what the heck her accent was. It started off like an Aussie, then slipped into a La Valley girl and then, was that a west country twang? Eventually, I settled in and became relaxed, and just as I felt my mind emptying of thoughts my stomach started gurgling and I began to regret eating that vegan black bean burger for dinner last night. I tensed up hoping that no orifice would make a scene in this serene and silent place.
The session consisted of guided breathing ,and gentle stretching exercises plus a few moments in the middle with no audio for us go deeply into our unguided relaxation. When the 35 minute was up, we were allowed to leave at our own pace and offered fruit water to moisten our mouths and invited to set an intention with their ‘map’ in the reception area of the studio.
There are a lot of other little activities to get involved in like a place to dissolve your worries and also a place to write a wish to carry with you for the rest of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed having a guided in-person meditation, and I highly recommend trying out this place . Do find one near you for some easy peace and or to help you to get your meditation grove back if you are struggling to find it.
I have made a list of some places below that you can try in London.
Photos credits via unsplash by:(no 1) Dingzeyu Li, (no.3) Alejandra Quiroz