In honour of Men’s Health Month this November Selph Director Myles Shares How He Cultivated a Daily Meditation Practice.
Passionate about sharing the benefits of a daily meditation practice, Selph Director and Co-Founder Myles Sgammotta shares simple tips and tools you can ultilize in order to feel more calm, experience improved sleep and access a state of presence within each day.
I began to look into meditation in my mid twenties; drawn to it’s well published solutions in dealing with stress and life direction. Every night I would have trouble falling asleep and would wake up with anxious thoughts about what could go wrong with my business. It often felt like my mind was searching for anything that would trigger a feeling of worry, to spin itself into a never ending cycle. I knew at that point I had lost control over my stress levels, and as a result my emotions. Stress would cause me to feel more on edge during my day to day, and caused a lack of satisfaction and contentment with where I was at in life.
Meditation ultimately gave me a strong sense of connection with my inner self, and created a consistent level of calmness in my body and my mind. It additionally provided me with a perspective beyond the physical, and provided a tool that I could use whenever I was feeling unbalanced, unsure or uneasy. I came to understand that it had effects that were far greater than just dealing with stress. It created a much deeper connection and appreciation of nature, and a greater empathy for people and all living things.
It’s been a daily routine for me since then, and the idea of not being able to sleep because of thoughts of work, or waking up to a feeling of anxiousness or worry seem so incredibly foreign. If any of the above speak to you then my advice would be to explore meditation as a real solution, it’s never too late to start cultivating a practice, and even the smallest amount on a regular basis creates noticeable change in your life.
Tips for starting a meditation practice:
1. Start light, but explore different practices
There is an overwhelming amount of meditations out there today. All of them work to try and calm your body and mind through breathing techniques so that you can then drop into that place of inner peace, and connect with your true self.
Technique: Start with a 10 minute practice every day, then increase 5 minutes more each time you’re feeling comfortable. Work up to a second meditation at night, even if it’s 5 minutes. Use the app Insight Timer to time and keep track of your meditations.
Explore different guided meditations, and find the ones that work for you, as everyone is different and will connect with different techniques. There are guided meditations available on Selph’s MoveOnline platform, as well as ones found on Spotify and Insight Timer.
2. Meditation is all about consistency
Think of meditation as a muscle. If you don’t train your muscle and try to pick up a 15kg dumbbell, it’s going to be hard and uncomfortable. But if every day you trained that muscle, after a short while that 15 kilos is going to feel quite easy.
This same principle also applies to when you return to meditating after some time off. The concentration required during those first few meditations are going to feel harder, but the ease will come once the muscle memory returns.
Technique: Set a strict time every day to meditate. It’s important to make it part of your routine, whether it’s when you wake up or after you exercise. Be strict with the time that you set as well. If you’re sitting for 10 minutes, stay with it till the end of the time.
3. Ritual and space
Some people may like to incorporate a ritual within their practice, such as cleansing their space with palo santo or sage. This helps to relax your energy and signals to your mind and body that it’s time to meditate.
Ensure that you have a nice and quiet and comfortable location that’s clean and free from interruption. Cross legged on a pillow elevating your back on your bed, the floor or a chair are good options.
A easy four step process you can use each day.
Note, only breathe in and out through your nose.
(i) Setting up: Take a comfortable seat and start to relax all your muscles. Feel the seat underneath you, your back and shoulders relax, and your hips soften. Straighten your back and broaden your shoulders, and Imagine a string pulling you up from the middle of your head.
Place your index finger and your thumb together and rest them facing up on your knees. Take a few deep breaths in and out all through the nose until you feel settled.
(iii) Om’s: Give 9 Silent Om’s (imaging each Om travelling from your sit bone, all the way through your body and out the top of your head.)
(iv) Intention: Set your sankalpa, or intention for the practice. This could be to reach a single moment of stillness in your mind, or to just stay with the meditation for the amount of time. It could be to incorporate more love into your life, or just reach a point of pure happiness
(v) Dedication: Dedicate the benefits of your practice to all living beings on the earth. You can picture those that may need to benefit the most from the benefits that you feel from meditation, such as those suffering or less fortunate.
(vi) Gratification: Send blessings and your gratitude to anyone you would like. This could be those around you who have helped you, past or present, your teachers, or anyone you feel grateful for.
2. Breath exercise: Work towards doubling the exhale breath
Begin to breathe in and out normally, counting the length of your exhale (eg 5 seconds). Breath in for 5 and out for 5, without straining the breath. Slowly begin to exhale longer until you reach a 10 second exhale (and a keeping 5 second inhale).
Picture a bright, divine white light entering through your third eye. As you breathe in; visualise the breath in the form of light, filling your whole body, permeating each muscle and filling it with warmth and energy.
If your mind wanders, go back to feeling the breath through the nostrils, down the throat and into the body and out the nostrils again.
3. Nadi Shodhan: 2 Nostril breathing
Completely bend your index and middle finger of your right hand. Place your thumb over your right nostril and breath in through your left for 5 seconds.
Close your other nostril with your pinky and ring finger, and then release your thumb, breathing our through right nostril.
Breathe in through your right nostril, then hold both nostrils and release the left nostril. That’s one round. Do this for 5 rounds.
4. Release your breathing and watch the gap
Breath normally again, and monitor the top and bottom of each breath in and out. Notice the gap in-between each breath and try not to miss a single one. You can focus on this whilst bringing light in through your third eye.
If your mind wanders go back to feeling the breath entering through your nostril, entering your body and then leaving with each exhale.
If your mind feels completely still stop and sit with the stillness, and have a play with it. You might find that your breathing slows to an almost standstill as you completely relax and let go. After doing this every day for a few weeks, you can start to introduce the chakra cleansing as well.
If you’re interested in deepening your meditation practice you can explore our 1:1 Meditation Packages below.