When I was going through my divorce in 2007, my emotions had completely taken over me. And every time I allowed them to, I got increasingly disappointed in myself. I wasn’t consistently practicing things like yoga and meditation, and found myself in an endless cycle of trying to be strong and holding my ground instead of focusing on myself. It felt awful. I knew that I only had control over myself and the way I responded to others, and that I had to do something about the pattern I felt stuck in. I just wasn’t sure where to start.
I felt completely unequipped to deal with all of the changes that were taking place so rapidly — until one day a former in-law gave me advice that has stayed with me even to this day. She said, “growing up NYC meant you needed to be strong on the outside. With divorce and relationships, you need to find the strength on the inside.”
Those simple words gave a me a lot clarity. It was my aha! moment. But if I was going to seek out guidance, it was going to be the real deal (especially at that time). I called a local Buddhist temple and spoke with a monk. I briefly explained what I was going through and that I would like to learn how to separate all of my learned responses (the ego) from my soul. He told me to come in for guided meditation, and the rest was history.
In collaboration with pRana, I would like to share how meditation can improve your life, the way it did for me. They create versatile and sustainable clothing to wear on adventures or for sitting in stillness while meditating. Every design is mindfully created using materials from sustainable sources like hemp and organic cotton. Their designs are beautiful, stylish and comfortable. I’m super cozy in their Juniper pant and Mika Strappy Top, and wear this to do cardio, yoga and jogging.
Admittedly, it took me a long time to fully incorporate meditation into my life. Separating my ego from who I am was no easy task. But I’ve been determined to do the work. I wanted to reach a place where I could clearly identify my ego’s strong-willed needs and that of others. Getting to this place requires a lot of practice and self-awareness. I work at it everyday.
5 ways meditation can improve your life
1. Meditation increases positive thoughts
Whenever the “noise” gets to me, I use meditation to shift my thinking. Focusing on my breath brings me back to myself on a deeper level. Tapping into my own inner light allows me to shine that light onto others. Positivity is contagious and changes the way you see things. If you feel that within yourself, you emit that to the universe and it comes back to you. Same works with negativity, which is why it’s important be a light of love. It is all energy we are sending out and receiving.
2. Meditation helps with anxiety.
Now, having anxiety about some things and having an anxiety disorder are two different things. The latter is more complicated, and in many cases it’s not enough to say that meditation will do the trick. There are different levels to anxiety, and I don’t want to simplify the complexities of this disorder by saying to breathe it out.
However, meditation does calm the nervous system down over time. If you have a sensitive sympathetic nervous system, meditation can be very beneficial. It increases your oxygen uptake, helps get your circulation going and, through time and practice, starts shifting your body’s fight or flight response into a more relaxed state.
3. Meditation helps you let go and forgive
The greatest gift you can give yourself and others is forgiveness. When you meditate, the ego starts to quiet down. The resentment, anger and pain starts to diminish, and you’re able to go back to who you really are. You’re greater than what the ego wants you to be and how it wants you to feel.
4. Meditation helps improve concentration
We live in noisy times and our attention spans are shrinking with every click on our keyboards. But studies have shown that meditation can alter your brain function to improve cognitive performance so at least there’s still hope for us all. Meditation is a practice that is used to remove unwanted thoughts driven by the ego, therefore it makes sense that it would increase our ability to focus. In fact, many companies (Nike, Apple, Google to name a few) are now encouraging meditation during work hours by installing relaxation rooms for employees.
5. Meditation helps with overall functions of the body
An overactive nervous system usually means that you’re likely not breathing properly, holding in a lot of stress, your circulation is likely poor, you name it. This can affect your digestion, heart and overall health. Everything is connected. Taking the time to meditate is like giving your organs and blood supply the love it needs to function by getting rid of the stagnant energy.
pRana is all about living a healthy, inspired life while pursuing passions and trying to make a difference. If you’d like to start meditating or practicing yoga (or go for a swim!), check out their collections. You can get a discount by using this code – WAGLNRM.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of prAna. The opinions and text are all mine.