Meditating by the fire

Meditation has been practised for thousands of years, in many cultures, all around the world.

There are numerous styles of meditation including guided, breath awareness, visualisation, focused, walking, body scanning, gratitude and chanting. Some techniques will resonate with you more than others, but all will help calm your mind, release stress and benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing.

Meditation gives you the opportunity to take time for yourself and slow down, to reconnect with your inner self and cultivate a sense of peace within. Most importantly, it helps develop a sense of self-compassion.

Evolutionary psychologists believe compassion is an integral part of what makes us human, and have identified an area of the brain known as the ‘care circuit’. When we develop self-compassion, we stimulate the care circuit, which helps regulate our emotions and create a deeper and more stable experience of wellbeing. As a result, our resilience is increased, and we are more able to show compassion to others.

Research also shows that practising meditation regularly reduces stress, decreases blood pressure and hypertension, lowers cholesterol levels, increases production of the anti-ageing hormone DHEA, improves immune function and decreases anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Our Approach

Meditation is not about clearing your mind, saying ‘om’ on repeat or sitting cross-legged for hours. It’s about practising self-compassion through sitting and connecting with your body, finding a style that works for you.

We believe it’s important to approach meditation with curiosity and playfulness. We’ll help you discover what works for you by sharing simple techniques you can easily incorporate into daily life.

Mindfulness and meditation are terms often seen or used together. On the surface, they appear interchangeable, but there are some clear differences between them. Ultimately, both teach us to be present in the current moment. With practice, this skill increases our overall levels of happiness.

You can read more about our approach to mindfulness here.

Gemma David is our meditation, mindfulness and sleep expert.

‘I was 23 the first time I did a meditation and I remember it well. Seated on the floor of my sunny sitting room in London, I followed the instructions in a book on the coffee table in front of me. I closed my eyes, and made myself aware of my breath coming in and out of my body, while I tried (unsuccessfully) to clear my mind. At the end, I was struck by the immediate sense of rest I felt simply by focusing on my breathing for around 5 minutes. I felt completely rejuvenated.

Meditating

I have practised meditation regularly for 20 years, continually expanding my knowledge and techniques through studying and attending courses. It is a valuable and empowering tool that I regularly use in my acupuncture practice and offer my patients to enable and support their wellbeing journey.’

You can find out more about Gemma here and read her wellbeing story here.

Later today, she’ll be sharing a simple meditation exercise you can practise at home, along with tips on integrating meditation into your everyday routine.

‘Meditation helps you access the deepest, strongest most powerful part of yourself and suddenly everything becomes possible.’  Patrice Gladwin

We have a very special guest on the blog this Friday. I recently had the honour of interviewing my meditation teacher, Patrice Gladwin. She has been practising and teaching transcendental meditation for 47 years and will be sharing her wisdom and wellbeing story with us all.

Love Lizzie xx

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Lizzie Jones SOL Founder and Holistic Chef
Written by Lizzie Jones SOL Founder and Holistic Chef
Hello, I’m Lizzie, founder of State of Liberty and holistic chef. My personal journey through life has given me a deep connection to a plethora of wellbeing practices. All have had a positive impact on me and are included in our online retreats. I have worked as a nutritionist and holistic chef on wellbeing retreats around the world and lived in India for 7 years working on yoga retreats, which eventually culminated in the opening of my own natural food cafe where I served yogis after their morning practice. This yoga lifestyle allowed me to practise every day and benefit from a wide range of experienced teachers. Home is now Bristol where I’ve been living for the past 8 years. I have another business called Wedding Yurts, and we host celebrations all over the UK in our beautiful handcrafted yurt venue. Life is busy! I support myself by eating well, drinking lots of water, regularly practising yoga, meditating and getting plenty of sleep. ‘Lokah samastash sukhino bhavantu’ ‘May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to happiness and freedom for all’. This beautiful Sanskrit mantra perfectly captures my vision for State of Liberty. We are all unique and we all have our own stories to tell. Understanding your story empowers you to discover true health. You are the only person who can heal yourself because you are the only person holding the knowledge of who you really are. Together with the rest of the SOL team, my intention is to create a inspiring, supportive and safe online wellbeing platform. I believe that with the right tools and support, everyone can improve their health and wellbeing in a natural and holistic manner. When I’m not working, I enjoy travelling and spending time outdoors. My partner and I regularly escape to Hungary where we own a little wine house in the forest. The windows are wonky and it’s really quite wild. Located in the middle of nowhere, it’s incredibly quiet and at night, pitch black. For us, it’s the perfect contrast to city life.