Read on to learn why we’re meditating every morning throughout lockdown!
If you need solid scientific evidence that dragging yourself out of bed each morning to meditate has some kind of significant health benefits, then you need look no further than Harvard University! They found that meditation can inhibit genes involved in the inflammatory response and support genes related to DNA stability (in other words, meditation encourages a longer, healthier life!) Short term benefits include improved attention, lower blood pressure and a reduction in stress. Studies have found that both the long and short term benefits are strengthened with regular practice – we’re not talking about a one time fix here! And right now One for All is offering a morning meditation practice every day throughout the lockdown.
So why is first thing in the morning considered the best time to meditate? Firstly, taking advantage of the quiet time of the morning may help you to develop a consistent habit and allows you to start the day positively. Plus, meditating first thing in the morning as your body is waking up fits in very nicely with the circadian rhythm. The calm energy and connectedness you get from a morning meditation practice tends to carry through for the rest of your day. Experienced meditators can meditate in any kind of environment but as a beginner, morning is definitely best as the environment of your mind is naturally quieter and more peaceful!
There’s no doubt that a morning meditation practice can make you more productive. For example, if you usually get up at 7am and rush around getting yourself prepared for the day, by getting up to meditate for half an hour at 6am you still have an extra half hour to yourself. So instead of rushing around you can continue to focus on being present and mindful, allowing ideas and inspiration to flow in! When you begin each day with a practice that reminds you to be present and mindful, you start to notice when your thoughts move towards more constrictive or negative qualities and you are better able to steer them back. Rather than putting meditation off to later in the day when your mind is already bogged down with thoughts, set yourself up in the morning to carry a sense of mindfulness with you as you approach the challenges that the day brings.
Another benefit of committing to a morning meditation practice is increased happiness! Although it might be a struggle in the morning at first, by the end of the first week you should already begin to notice the change you have been cultivating in terms of how your mind absorbs and responds to what’s going on around you. Starting the day with the practice of being present allows you to forget about and to step away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
I really love my sleep and am not a natural early-riser (I could sleep for England). So when Jesse suggested we make meditation part of our morning routine throughout the lockdown I knew it was a BIG commitment, but it only took a few days of doing it to completely convert me (alright, it took about a fortnight!) But the peace and clarity it brings is incomparable – I feel like it gives me a little bit of control during a time when things feel very much out of control – and I’m not there yet but I’m learning to love it. By meditating each morning I feel like I start each day with purpose and during this period where we’re all cooped up together it is a precious time that I can enjoy for myself!
Not sure what to expect? Here are some practical pointers to get you started:
- What to wear? If you’re setting your alarm five minutes before the class starts then you’re welcome to join us in your nightclothes. You don’t have to turn your camera on and the most important thing you need to meditate is to be comfortable. Any kind of loose fitting clothes are good and like all good things in life you can do it naked – but please do make sure your camera is off!
- Sign up for the class before you go to bed to make sure you get the email link in the morning. Our morning meditations are running every day throughout lockdown from 6am and once we get settled we’re sitting silently for 20 minutes!
- The meditation ends with 3 chimes and then I will do a closing chant. This starts with the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, which is a life-giving mantra, followed by a selection of Shanti mantras:
|Mantra in Sanskrit||Translation|
|Om Tryambakam Yajamahe|
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat
|Om – We offer worship to the fragrant, three-eyed Lord Shiva who enhances prosperity. May he liberate us from the bondage of death, like the watermelon (which effortlessly separates from the vine); let him not turn us away from immortality|
|Om Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu|
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu
|Om – May auspiciousness be unto all|
May peace be unto all
May fullness be unto all
May prosperity be unto all
|Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah|
Sarve Santu Niramayaah
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu
Ma Kash-chid-Dukha Bhag-Bhavet
|May all be happy|
May all be free from diseases
May all look to the good of others
May none suffer from sorrow
|Asato Ma Sat Gamaya|
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maamritam Gamaya
|Lead me from the unreal to the real|
From darkness to light
From mortality to immortality
|Om Purnamadah Purnamidam|
|Om – That is whole|
This is whole
From the whole the whole becomes manifest
From the whole when the whole is negated what remains is again the whole
|Om Shanti Shanti Shanti||Om Peace Peace Peace|