Dianna Martino - Holistic Naturopath & Coach

Holistic Adelaide Naturopath

8 Steps to Begin your Meditation Practice

When the ‘to do’ list never ends, the thoughts don’t stop, worries grow numerous and your muscles seem to be in a constant state of tension, the moment you become aware that this is your current state, you can affect it. If you don’t have time for anything else, you have time for this. I am talking about meditation, stillness, connecting with your being. It makes all the difference. Take care of your mental and physical health, gain clarity and perhaps even some insight, nourish and rest your body and mind and reconnect with your being. You don’t need to wait until you are stressed to meditate, if you practice when you are in a good place it can make it easier to practice when you are struggling, busy and feel like you have no time.

This is a super simple start to your meditation practice:

  1. Choose five minutes in your day, upon waking in the morning or before you go to bed at night.
  2. Choose a place- it can be your bed, a cosy nook, a mat or cushion on the floor, your favourite armchair…
  3. Go to this chosen place at your chosen time
  4. Sit comfortably with your spine straight, the back of your neck long, your lips lightly touching and your eyes relaxed and gazing downward. Rest your hands comfortably in your lap or on your knees/legs.
  5. Set your gentle timer for 5 minutes.*
  6. Breath comfortably in and out through your nose
  7. Place your awareness on your breath- either your belly rising up and down, or at your nose where the air flows in and out.
  8. Each time you notice that your mind has wondered off, place your awareness back on your breath.

That is all. Keep bringing your mind home to your breath until your timer gently goes off.

 

*Avoid using a loud alarm that will startle you into stress. Insight timer is a free application you might like to try that has a selection of gentle bells that can ding to begin and end your practice, and you can set the duration of the timer.

Simple Self-Care Strategies

We spend some much of our time taking care of things outside of our self; such as work, other people, administration, housework, renovations, garden, bills, appointments… the list goes on, and we can often leave our selves last on the list. To consciously decide to take care of yourself in a loving and nurturing way can transform how you feel and how you are in the rest of your daily interactions.

Here are some suggestions for self-care:

  • Daily 5 minute meditation practice (see up-coming blog for guidance)
  • Set aside 30 minutes to meal plan weekly. Include nourishing foods full of vegetables that you can cook simply each day, or in bulk to reheat for those extra busy days.
  • Go to bed early to get your 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • What have you been meaning to do for yourself? Is it get a massage, take a bath, spend time with an old friend, read a book, take yourself out for brunch? Prioritise this gift to yourself.
  • Watch your thoughts. Every time you notice negative thoughts or unnecessary worries creeping in, switch the thought to a loving one. Or find something beautiful around you, like the sky or a tree and take a moment to become present. If it is a real problem that you need to sort out, sit down and give it your full attention to resolve or work out your next step.
  • Take yourself outside. Sit under a tree or go for a walk. Nature can do wonders in refreshing our bodies and minds.

It is easy to let our minds fill up with things to do and memories past, it is also important to give to ourselves a mental break. This type of break is not necessarily easy, but is a nurturing step in the direction of coming home to yourself.

Fear and Pregnancy

Pregnancy can bring up fears in many women. Fear of the perceived pain of childbirth, looking after a baby, bodily changes, relationship issues or unresolved emotional anxieties are a few examples. Each woman is different and has a different path to take, a different perception of her experiences and handles these challenges in her own way. I believe that if you can meet these fears head on, you can understand them, feel them, allow them to process, then you can move through them. You can be free of them. The way to do this is through a means that feels right to you.

Facing your fears can be scary, and I completely understand why people may prefer to distract themselves and not feel the discomfort and intensity of fear. But unfortunately this strategy does not tend to allow the fear to leave, it just suppresses it further. The body still needs to deal with these unresolved emotions, whether you and your conscious mind want to or not. Just remember, once you decide to face these emotions- they are just emotions. They may feel uncomfortable, but they are part of our human experience and when you allow them to flow you feel once again in harmony with the universe around you. You are no longer stuck and you can see clearly. You don’t have to control yourself so much and hold back, you develop empathy and understanding, not only for yourself but for others too. Your body can relax. You start to live a more authentic life.

Once you have faced your fears and unresolved subconscious emotions, you can choose what you would like instead. I want to have a pleasant birth and I surrender to my body and baby. I can breathe and relax during labour. I am supported. You can start to choose your focus and what you want, instead of being overcome with fear and using all your energy to keep pushing it away.

Some methods to achieve subconscious resolution of fears and emotions that I have found personally effective include Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), Psych-K and hypnotherapy. Find an experienced practitioner who specialises in working with pregnant woman and choose someone who feels right to you, that you can work with to peel back the layers to find your calm centre.

Pregnancy and Birth Resources

How we experience pregnancy and birth is largely influenced by our past, what we have seen, heard and what we believe. Surround yourself with positive influences and consciously effect your pregnancy and birth experience. Here is a list of resources to support a natural, healthy perspective on pregnancy and birth:

Books:

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin
  • Childbirth Without Fear, Grant Dick-Read
  • Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method, the natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing, Marie F. Mongan

Courses:

  • Hypnobirthing- passive birthing methods, breathing techniques and pregnancy and birthing education

Audio:

  • Tracy Holloway Hypnosis audio tracks. Here you will find four downloads to listen to for relaxation, hypnosis and pregnancy and birth support, all free of charge from Tracy Holloway.
  • Once on the website, click on: Products, Hypnosis for Pregnancy & Childbirth

Birth Support: