A few of the St. Eval team attended a virtual Move & Meditate yoga class held by Oceanflow Yoga last week and were left feeling relaxed, de-stressed, and ready to take on the world.
Oceanflow Yoga is based in Cornwall with far-reaching views of the ocean from their studio. They run a series of classes each week and are now live streaming yoga classes 7 days a week, helping to keep us all sane and grounded during this time. Stretch, a yoga teacher and co-owner at Oceanflow, loves to burn our Sea Salt pillar candles in lanterns during his meditation and yoga practices, and when you join the class you can see the beautiful sea view of Fistral Beach behind him as he leads the meditation.
As part of our Self Care series, we would like to offer you this wonderful wisdom on meditation from our friend, Stretch, at Oceanflow Yoga. We have also added their peaceful and calming mantra on our new IGTV channel - take a look here and awaken your mind, body, and soul.
Wisdom from OceanFlow:
It still amazes me how quickly everything happened. One minute it was life as we knew it, the next, full lockdown and a life of isolation. It doesn’t seem so long ago I was self-isolating in a remote part of Bodmin Moor for a week of silent solitude and although I was longing for a similar experience again, I hadn’t anticipated it would take this form. It was a profound week on the moor which totally shifted my perspective on life.
Image credit: www.leskernick.com
I became highly aware of just how much humans naturally adapt to the environment they surround themselves with…it is a part of our evolutionary makeup. To give you a simple example, if I hang around the gym, working out seven days a week, I am likely to get the body of someone who hangs around the gym, working out seven days a week! Similarly, if I was to put myself in a high stress environment seven days a week, then it is highly likely that I will be going through life with a highly stressed mind that doesn’t want, or know how to turn off. Sadly, the latter of these two examples is all too common in today’s world as many people aren’t armed with the toolkit to deal with major shifts, like a country wide lock down or the constant threat of a virus attacking our bodies.
For me, meditation has given me the tools I need to navigate whatever life throws my way. The feelings of stress and anxiety are often experienced in the body when the mind fears what might happen in the future. We may experience the hopelessness of depression when the mind reflects on past actions, behaviours or circumstances. Although it may feel like it, in both scenarios the mind is not in the present moment. I find it fascinating how we can be or do anything in our minds…with no boundaries we are free to literally do anything the mind can imagine. Yet, as humans, why is it that we tend to always gravitate to the negative? To pre-empt danger is certainly a part of our survival mechanism, but it seems almost like our world has evolved so quickly that our brains haven’t had enough time to adapt.
Most people’s first journey into the world of meditation involves trying to sit in silence for five minutes. Thirty seconds in the fidgeting starts, then comes the annoyance and agitation, and finally by about a minute into the practice, they have stood up and walked off having convinced themselves that meditation isn’t for them. This was certainly my introduction to meditation. Sitting in an uncomfortable position trying to silence the mind is a gross misconception of what meditation is all about. In meditation, we teach techniques to keep the mind in the present moment. Our breath is something that can only occur in the present so if we can learn techniques to focus our mind on the breath then we are able to become present whenever we need to, thus removing the source of the anxiety or depression. A very powerful mantra you can repeat over and over in the mind is this: “Right here, right now, in this moment everything is ok”
Below are some advantages you can expect to benefit from, with a regular meditation practice:
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Regulates mood swings
- Promotes quality, deep sleep
- Improves concentration and productivity
The knock-on effect that a regular meditation practice can have on our lives is nothing short of spectacular. It is my belief that a vast majority of illnesses and injuries start in the mind. Now hear me out if you are thinking this sounds a bit whacky! When we are stressed out, our Fight or Flight survival mechanism kicks in. Adrenaline is released into our bodies, our eyes dilate, blood is focused to the muscles to make us stronger and the heart pumps quicker to get more energy to the muscles. Basically, a myriad of reactions happen to put our body in peak strength in that moment to either fight for our lives or to flee as quickly as humanly possible. The thing is though, this survival technique was only ever designed to be used in intermittent bursts. In the modern world, our perceived dangers have mostly moved on from death by wild animals to relationship issues, money worries, long term health concerns, problems at work etc. The challenge is that these issues don’t resolve themselves in ten minutes like with the wild animal. We turn these issues over in our mind all day everyday as if we are stuck on loop. The brain cannot tell the difference between what we think and reality. For example, if we think a scary thought, we go into fight or flight just like if we were faced with a real danger.
What is the relevance of this you may ask?
Well, certain systems in the body are suppressed when we go into fight or flight mode. Two being the immune system and the digestive system. If we get stressed regularly, our immune system will almost certainly be compromised leaving us more vulnerable to getting ill. Also, our digestive system will likely be struggling, meaning people who are regularly stressed often experience problems such as bloating, heart burn or IBS. This is how the state of our mind can directly affect the health of the body.
Meditation can take so many different forms that there is sure to be something out there which you connect with. For some, mantra can be an incredibly grounding daily ritual which helps to settle the mind. We are offering free mantra sessions at 8:05am, 7 days a week on Instagram. DM or Email us if you would like a copy of the words. We also offer live streamed meditation classes alongside our yoga classes as part of our schedule at the studio. For more information, check out our Website or find us on Facebook
I want to finish with a final thought…remember our body and mind will adapt to whatever environment we put it in. If we meditate regularly, we can expect to enjoy more calm, less mood swings, better sleep and more energy thus providing the optimum conditions to restore health in the body.
Stretch at Oceanflow Yoga
Don't forget to see their peaceful and calming mantra on our new IGTV channel here.