Yoga & Meditation
The benefits of yoga, meditation, and a regular Shakti practice have significant overlap. Combining these things can help to supplement and enhance the individual practices, assisting you in finding balance, despite the pressures of modern life. Treat your body to an invigorating experience by using the Mat in your yoga practice or reconnect with your breath by meditating on The Shakti Mat.
Yoga is defined in Sanskrit as both a state of connection, and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to anything. Although yoga has many meanings and definitions, at the daily level, yoga is a progression of enhancing our self-awareness.
In The West, yoga is most often associated with group classes where postures are held to both simulate and relax the body and mind. The overlaps between the benefits of yoga and The Shakti Mat are obvious, and the simplest way to ‘double down’ on the effects is to lie on a Shakti Mat at the end of your practice when you would usually lie in Shavasana (corpse pose).
Exercising, holding a stretch or demanding posture requires mental resilience. Often our body feels pain and wants us to stop; it is only through mental resilience that we hold through the discomfort and find the benefits thereof. The Shakti Mat teaches us to cultivate resilience. By pushing through initial discomfort we discover the rewards. Changing our relationship with discomfort, both physical and mental, can have excellent flow on effects with resilience in life.
Within New Zealand we are running regular “Shakti Classes” involving slow stretching on The Shakti Mat and long and deep meditations. If you are interested in attending a class in Christchurch, they are available twice weekly at Flow Hot Yoga or follow us on Facebook for updates on classes throughout the rest of the country.
Meditation is a state of awareness – a profound, deep peace that your mind achieves when you give it stillness. In its most simple sense, it is sitting in silence and allowing the mind to become still. It is a practice used by millions of people across the globe as an effective way to reduce stress and enhance focus. Acupressure and meditation are a natural combination, as the benefits they provide complement each other.
Beginning a meditation practice can be as simple as setting aside time each day to sit. There are many free guided meditation videos on YouTube; as an alternative we recommend the apps Calm and Headspace to facilitate a regular practice.
When using a Shakti Mat for extended periods of time, the stimulation can relax your body. As the body relaxes, the mind soon follows. In turn, when you meditate you build focus and body awareness which allow you to get more out of your Shakti Mat.
If you use your Shakti Mat regularly, you may be already entering a meditative state. We often describe it as “unintentional meditation”. The next step is to consciously meditate while on your mat. Try 10-20 minutes a day. One practice that is particularly rewarding is to ‘body scan’ while on the mat. This involves drawing your focus to individual areas of the body and checking in. Because The Shakti Mat provides such immediate feedback from the body, it can help to highlight this process.
When lying on the mat, try focusing on areas of discomfort and consciously willing the body to relax the area with each exhale.
Tips for meditating on your Shakti
- Select a room where you have space to lie out flat and can meditate undisturbed.
- If you can lie down on the floor, place your mat (and optional pillow) down. Otherwise, use a couch or bed where you can comfortably lie down.
- Set a timer, or use a guided meditation.
- Lie down on the mat by slowly lowering your spine down. Adjust until you find a relatively comfortable position. The weight of your body should be evenly distributed across the mat.
- Focus on your breath, repeating a mantra, or listen to your guided meditation.
- After about 20 minutes, your body will go into a deep state of relaxation. You may even fall asleep, which is completely normal and okay to incorporate into the practice.
- When your timer goes off, or your guided meditation ends, bring your attention back to your breath and the room.