Does the idea of meditating have you a little perplexed? Do you imagine growing your armpit hairs, sitting alone in silence for hours upon hours and humming “oooooommmmmm” while your legs are crossed?
Well, firstly, not all meditation means you need to be a zen guru nor does it need to be time consuming or vocal, if you don’t want it to be. Really, meditation is just a fancy way of talking about mindfulness; the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment.. It's a way to focus your thoughts and can alleviate stress and anxiety.
So how does one achieve a meditative bliss, without actually… umm, meditating? Simple!
1 Yoga With Wine
This is not a trick, people! We already knew it was relaxing to end a day with a glass of red wine, but one yoga studio has taken that one step further by partnering it with a medium-level yoga and relaxation class. Everyday Yoga in Stafford offers a “Vinyasa to Vino” class on the first Friday of the month, where the class is followed by a social exchange and a glass of vino. Yoga is a great way to clear and focus the mind, while also practicing breathing that is very similar to that of meditative breathing.
1/39 Hayward St, Stafford
2 Colouring for grown-ups
Ever noticed when you give a child a colouring book they’re quiet and still for a while? Well, that’s because it’s considered to be a form of mild meditation and now grown-ups are cashing in with adult versions to help us switch off.
One Gold Coast business, The Fifth Element Life, have designed an e-book with 111 Mandala to colour in for meditative purposes. The owner, Sarah Wilder, claims the book brings about “clarity, calm, creativity and consciousness… and is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have time to meditate or wants to create more presence and peace in their day”. The e-book, $11, is available here.
We’ve also heard Sarah's currently working on a new version of the Mandala Meditation Colouring Book, which will be a published hard copy. Keep an eye out on her website for the announcement.
The Fifth Element Life www.thefifthelementlife.com
3 Float Away
Meditation is about tuning into your self and focusing your attention inwards, while minimising outside distractions. Our outside distractions are attributed to our senses; what we hear, feel, see and experience. But these can be eliminated through sensory reduction, an experience that helps you experience a deep sense of relaxation and achieve a stillness sought through meditation.
Just Float offers a form of floating therapy, where you float in a pitch-black and quiet floatation tank, with warm water saturated with 350kg of Epsom salts used to reduce the sensation of where you body starts or ends in the water. By eliminating noise, light and touch, it allows floaters to achieve a meditative state, with one hour in the tank equivalent to four hours of sleep.
344 Queen Street, Brisbane CBD
4 The Dummy’s Guide
I’ve trawled through many apps out there dedicated to the practice of meditation, but this particular FREE app recommended for beginners caught my attention due to the celebrity endorsement by Emma Watson aka Harry Potter's best friend Hermione Granger: “It’s an app that teaches you how to meditate. It’s kind of genius.”
Stripped back to its simplest form, the Headspace app delivers easy-to-follow 10-minute sessions to ease you into meditation one program at a time (the first 10 are free). It’s like having a personal trainer for the mind in the palm of your hand, with the relaxed, cool, calm and collected co-founder Andy Puddicombe (a former Buddhist monk) talking you through it all, with basic language and the odd joke, here and there. In other words “oooooommmmmm-free".
The Headspace app is available here.
5 Patting Animals
Who doesn’t love patting or cuddling an animal? Research has shown the relaxing and calming feelings we experience are actually linked to a chemical production of serotonin in the body, which is the chemical associated with releasing feel-good endorphins.
However, it’s not beneficial if you’re patting the dog, while watching the Bachelor on the couch. You need to be focused and complete the activity mindfully and independently.
If you don’t have your own fur baby, Brisbane now has its very own Cat Cuddle Cafe where you can get cosy with a kitten until your hearts content. You can even adopt one, if you feel so inclined.
Cat Cuddle Cafe
160 Musgrave Road, Red Hill