Quantity over quality isn’t a phrase you hear often, but in the meditation realm, it’s just one of the many mantras.
Meditation is an accessible practice for nearly everyone; when all you need is a quiet space and your breath, you can’t help but wonder why everyone isn’t devoting time during their day to doing it. Even better, meditation pairs well with so many components, its versatility lends itself to bring benefit in one or more areas of your life. Lauren Foreman, co-founder of Meditation Bar, expands on how you can change the relationship with your thoughts.
They sound interchangeable, and although they relate to each other, there is absolutely a difference. Meditation is the practice that creates a more mindful lifestyle. In mindfulness, you pay more attention. Think of mindful eating—you’re slowing down and paying attention to the process of eating. When walking mindfully, your experience will become more euphoric as you notice the beauty in your surroundings. With frequent meditation, you will find yourself feeling more centered as you build body and breath awareness.
Wishing there was a solution to “MoPacalypse”? Meditation gives you the tools to become a more mindful driver—especially when you’re at a standstill. “Tune into what’s around you, notice what’s in front of you. Turning off the radio, thinking about the chemical process of the car, looking at the colors around you—this is where you can change your mind,” Foreman says. Rather than stressing out, use it as an opportunity to practice compassion and connect with positive thoughts.
Our city consistently ranks highly in fitness, entertainment, and innovation categories. And earlier this year, Mayor Steve Adler made a mayoral proclamation that gave us another standout superlative. Austin has more meditation, yoga, and wellness resources per capita than any city in America, earning the title of “Most Mindful City in America.”
In 2017, Austin will host the National Symposium on Meditation, bringing together other cities that desire to make mindful living part of their culture.
Countless studies and years of research support the advantages of meditation for kids. Not only does it teach them how to slow down and reconsider impulsive decisions, but it also leads to calmer and more focused test-taking abilities. In fact, kids tend to be much more receptive to meditation. “They are very connected and very open. Adults have so many memories attached to emotions, and for them there’s not as much of that. They love this stuff,” Foreman says. Kids have a tougher time sitting still in general, so classes are customized with sensory components to give the students something to focus on.
Everyone experiences stress (especially at work), but the goal is to become more responsive than reactive to that feeling. As more employers are beginning to incorporate practical wellness programs to take care of employees, meditation is finding its way into the workplace to help them unwind and reconnect to find a more centered place.
Meditation Bar has an established partnership with the Austin Independent School District, offering free training for over 100 teachers. AISD even hired a mindfulness specialist to further support the staff. “So often we tell kids to pay attention, but we never show them how,” says Foreman.
By embracing the symbiotic relationship between teachers and students, the school system can be improved in a whole new way.
Children aren’t the only ones who get too fidgety to zen out. Many classes offered at Meditation Bar give “the brain something to chew on.” Aroma classes incorporate essential oils, guiding practitioners on a journey through their most nostalgic sense. Specialty classes with a focus on sound employ crystal singing bowls that produce a mesmerizing, full-body experience.
Naysayers may remain unconvinced meditation won’t work for them because their “monkey mind” is constantly active. But being able to control your thoughts isn’t the point; it’s actually about changing the relationship you have with your thoughts. If you change your mind you can change your life. Meditation addresses a spectrum of health diagnoses, and using mindfulness to calm anxiety, insomnia, and heart palpitations has proven to be an effective approach. Trauma victims and cancer patients also reap the benefits through specialized exercises and building a connection with grounding thoughts. Of the myriad classes offered by Meditation Bar, a mindful eating class is one of the most popular. The kind of food you eat contributes to weight loss/gain, but the way you eat plays an integral role as well.
Checkout more Body, Mind and Spirit feature articles!
Body: Gains & Losses (Transformation Stories)
Mind: Brrr… It's Cold in Hof! (The Hof Method), A Proper pH (The Body's pH Balance)
Spirit: Coloring Outside the Lines (Aura Photography), Natural Rhythms (Internal Balance), Interview with a Psychic Medium