I feel GROOVY and it’s because I’ve just finished a Deep Peace Meditation class at the Australian School of Meditation & Yoga. Highly recommended! (Also, certain classes are free! Yay!)
I’m assuming that these days the health benefits of regular meditation are common knowledge, but if you really don’t know, and are curious, there’s a tonne of great information out there citing countless scientific studies and inspiring personal anecdotes. I won’t bore you with these. Suffice it to say- meditation is a thing that you should do. (Especially if you tend to suffer from anxiety and stress-related ailments like I do!)
The classes are especially great if- like me- you suck at ‘actually’ meditating, focusing, or calming the overabundance of thoughts in your head (I half-suspect my brain is full of fireflies sometimes). A lot of people think that meditation is just about sitting down, being still, and emptying your mind of distractions (easier said than done!!!) but there are actually many different forms of meditation, and various techniques, which can make your time easier and help you get the most of this amazing practice (seriously once you get it right, and experience how good it makes you feel, you’ll actually want to do it regularly and it won’t be a chore at all). The trick is to find the best method that works for you. These classes at ASMY teach several different techniques; Mainly- Yogic Breathing techniques, Mindfulness, use of Mantras, Alternate Nostril Breathing, Progressive Body Relaxation, and Japa Meditation. (Not bad for a free class!)
My super-happy-relaxation-time (that’s what I’m calling it now) started as soon as I passed through the door into the inviting studio space- dimly lit from the warm glow of salt-lamps, divine meditation music playing, and the sweet smell of recently-burnt incense in the air. (Yum).
I like to come in a bit early, before class starts, and just chill back on the matt (or fall asleep- which happens from time to time!)
You’re welcome to use the centre’s yoga matts, plush cushions, and blankets so you don’t need to bring anything. They even offer you natural food treats at the end of class! (Also yum).
But the reason I love class the most? I actually meditate (rather than procrastinating) or getting totally distracted by the billion and one other things usually floating through my head if I leave it all to myself. I find it helpful having a guide, as well as something to keep me grounded from distractions, such as the practice of physically touching each wooden Japa bead while reciting a mantra. At first it feels a bit silly (less so because the entire class is doing it too) but by the time you get about half-way around that necklace of wooden beads, your brain waves have calmed down and synchronised to some slightly altered, groovy state of being which makes you feel like a million dollars.
I was so impressed, that I bought my own take-home meditation kit. For $20, it contains 3 CD’s (Guided relaxation, guided meditation, and sacred Kirtan music & mantras) as well as some incense, a booklet of meditation practice notes, and a set of wooden Japa beads. (I seriously love them!)
ASMY is a non-profit organisation and has centres all around Australia, where anyone can learn yoga and meditation. To find your nearest class see their website: http://asmy.org.au