This Friday is World Meditation Day, a day dedicated to the practice of training your attention in order to stay in the present moment. With a rich cultural history that stretches back thousands of years across the Eastern world and generations of devotees meditating daily, meditation has attracted millions of new followers in a bid to help them cope with our unpredictable new reality. So as the pandemic rumbles on, there’s never been a better reason for newbies to give it a go.
Credited with having mental and physical health benefits like stress relief, improved focus, and a greater sense of well-being, there are several different types of meditation – mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, mantra meditation, and transcendental meditation included. And whether you’ve only got 10 minutes a day to dedicate to switching off and tuning in or an hour a week to focus your energies on training your mind, there are countless specialist practitioners across the UAE to help you get started. Here are just three tapped by The Gaggler to help you on your journey to inner calm.
WHERE TO FIND HER?
WHAT IS MANDALA MEDITATION?
Mandalas are circular designs filled with geometrical shapes and patterns that you draw and meditate upon for your personal and spiritual growth, which helps evoke feelings of calm. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said a mandala represents your current state of being, with every colour, shape, and symbol holding its own meaning that reflects your emotional and spiritual well-being at the time you created it.
WHAT DOES MANDALA MEDITATION DO?
As a meditative tool, mandala helps the individual feel centred and connected, allowing one to get in touch with their inner self. Mandala meditation allows you to slow a chattering mind and let your creative juices flow – the whole process of drawing and colouring a mandala is actually a very sacred and therapeutic experience.
WHAT ARE THE KEY BENEFITS OF MANDALA MEDITATION?
There are quite a few! Mandala meditation can help to relax and destress the mind, boost confidence, increase self-awareness, enhance self-acceptance, and stay in the present moment. It also increases patience and tolerance, and settles your thoughts and emotions.
IS MANDALA MEDITATION SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ALONE OR IS IT BETTER PRACTISED IN A GROUP?
It can be done by yourself or in a group – both are beneficial in their own ways. Individually, you get to focus on your meditation, which can often go on for days or months depending on the size of your mandala and how much time you dedicate to it. Group sessions can work wonders as it’s a great place to meet like-minded others, allowing you to share your realisations in a safe space and learn about how mandala meditation has benefitted others. Many of my students become friends after class and continue to meet and draw together to share their progress. It’s fun!
WHERE CAN I TRY MANDALA MEDITATION?
I offer a variety of online and in-person workshops with different themes and prompts, and teach you how to draw a mandala from scratch. There is no need to be ‘artistic’ to do this. It’s about the process and how it makes you feel. I believe everyone is an artist and has a unique set of natural talents – just like we can express and communicate ourselves by talking and writing, we can do the same by drawing. More often than not, we lose touch with our artistic side because we have previously been told that we can’t draw or aren’t very good.
CAN YOU COMBINE MANDALA MEDITATION WITH OTHER FORMS FOR ADDITIONAL BENEFITS?
I strongly recommend mantra meditation along with mandala meditation. The word ‘mantra’ means that which delivers us (tra) from the mind (man). Just like mandala meditation, where you repeat a shape to create a pattern, mantra meditation is repetition of a sacred Vedic hymn for purification of the soul. The mantra that I chant is called the Mahā-mantra (Great Mantra).
WHAT IF YOU HAVE NEVER MEDITATED BEFORE?
The first step would be to ask: why meditate? When you understand the importance and benefits of meditation, you’ll be motivated to try it. Some people find meditation boring or think they can’t do it because of the thousands of thoughts they become aware of when they close their eyes and sit still. Accept your thoughts – it’s okay to feel overwhelmed as a beginner. As you practise, you’ll learn how to control your monkey mind. To start, give yourself some time every day to chant at least one round of mantra meditation and draw/colour one mandala a week.
Chikky Sirish, Sound Healer and Empowerment Coach
WHERE TO FIND HER?
Watch the Video: An Introduction to Sound Healing
Eda Gungor, Co-Founder, SEVA Experience
WHERE TO FIND HER?
SEVA Experience, Jumeirah 1, Dubai
WHAT IS CHANTING MEDITATION?
Chanting Meditation is a conscious practice of bringing self-awareness and coming to the present moment through sound expressions and recitations.
WHAT DOES CHANTING MEDITATION DO?
The sound current, the vibrations in the vocal cords, and the tongue movements start to harmonise the electromagnetic field of the meditator.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHANTING MEDITATION?
Feeling good! Activating the glands and decreasing stress while uplifting the mood are amongst the many benefits of chanting meditation.
WHAT KIND OF CHANTING DO YOU DO?
Chanting parts of ancient scriptures in Sanskrit and Gurumuki languages is one example.
IS CHANTING MEDITATION SOMETHING YOU CAN DO ALONE OR IS IT BETTER IN A GROUP?
We’re stronger together! Chanting meditation can be done alone, but the preference is to practise it in groups.
CAN YOU COMBINE CHANTING MEDITATION WITH OTHER FORMS FOR ADDITIONAL BENEFITS?
Of course! Chanting meditation integrates with various yoga movements and flow, and pairs well with gonging. It can also be part of a Kundalini yoga sequence or another form of yoga practice.