Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Vedic meditation course in London with Will Williams. I have had various experiences with meditation, most recently yogic mediation as part of my teacher training where we were introduced to many different ways of meditating, but mostly focusing on the broad concept of a 'sit still, be quiet' practise. Vedic meditation is one of the simplest forms of meditation making it incredibly accessible for anyone to learn. You sit comfortably, close your eyes and begin to repeat your mantra. The mantra is selected by your teacher, designed to send your nervous system into a state of restfulness. In this state, our mind and body automatically develop without us having to try.
Vedic meditation is something that I had never experienced before, but a type of meditation that I hear about often from sceptics who went along to a class and are now totally committed to a twice-daily meditation practise. I really loved the ritual of daily meditation while I was away but since coming back to London I had let it slip completely so when this opportunity came about I decided that it would be the perfect time to give it a try.
Will's introductory course begins with a 1-2-1 session where I was invited to a welcome ceremony with Will, during which I was given a personal sound or mantra. Will then explained how to meditate using the mantra by repeating it silently in the mind and within moments, I was deep into a state of relaxation. I left feeling excited to return for the next session to see what was in store. I was set homework to try to meditate at home before the next session. The course continued with 3 group sessions which involved open discussions about expectations and share our experiences. I was apprehensive about the group sessions as I wasn't too sure what to expect but it was so valuable to hear about other peoples' experiences and to hear answers to questions that I wouldn't necessarily have thought of myself. By the end of the course you are filled with knowledge and understanding to take forward with you into your own mediation practice. In Vedic meditation, the recommendation is to practise for 20 minutes, twice per day, which understandably seems like a big commitment. In all honesty, I have not managed to keep that up every day but it is something I am working on and trying to ensure I make time for as it really has been a transformative experience for me.
Everyone's experiences are totally different - for my during the course I had real up and downs! Mostly, the meditations left me feeling energised and creative but on one occasion (the first group session) I was totally drained and very emotional after. It was so fascinating to feel so much so quickly and notice the shifts in how I felt, which only intrigued me more and more about the power of this meditation practise.
If you are interested in learning more, I would highly recommend going to an intro course to learn more. I had a really positive overall experience and would urge anyone to give it a try. Meditation can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety, stress and other common daily experiences that so many people seem to face. There is more and more research showing the benefits of meditation and I would urge you to give it a try. There are so many different styles that even if the first few don't suit, you can shop around and find one that does. Stick with it too - it can be incredibly challenging at first, but the benefits are worth it in the long run!
You can read lots more about my teacher, Vedic and other meditation styles here.