Meditation often brings up many images, such as sitting bolt upright with your legs crossed, fingers making up a circle with each hand resting on each knee, of chanting an affirmation over and over again, or staring at a spot on the wall for hours. Although these ways of meditating are extremely beneficial and involve a form of discipline which forms part of the meditative state, here at Ongoing Support we like to use the ‘flop’ pose to meditate. We will encourage you to form a shape above your chosen beanbag, and then to ‘flop’ down using your own body weight to mould the beanbag around your body. Admittedly this does take a few test runs before understanding how the beanbag and your body work together, however once you have found your best flop position you are already halfway to a deep relaxation and meditative state (well, once you recover following the laughing and giggling if you slope off to one side the first few times). All fun aside, actually there are many ways to relax and meditate, and although most of our relaxations will involve you getting in the most comfortable position possible on the beanbags, we may explore some alternative meditation techniques.
Meditation, relaxation, breathing techniques and hypnosis really all mean the same thing; ‘state-change’ (changing your physiology), you will naturally state change throughout each day and night, depending on how you personally respond to your environment, however sadly many people do not incorporate a relaxation/meditation state change within their daily routine, one that connects your mind and body together consciously in order to create a feeling of ‘at one with yourself’.
There are many good reasons to start meditating, it can help manage anger, stress, anxiety, depression, low mood, sleeping problems, physical pain, bereavement and loss, ME, fibromyalgia, and many other life issues. Short bursts of meditation have been shown to be as beneficial as a nap to help refresh the body, and indeed many people do fall asleep during meditation, although we view this as your body and mind communicating to you about what you need most (once you have let go of tension in your body and relaxed your thought processes).
We like to think of our relaxation classes as being no different to going to the gym, or Zumba for that fun mind and body workout that improves your strength, stamina and fitness; that you could take an hour out of your weekly grind to really pamper and take care of yourself – body and mind!
So what makes us different to anybody else offering meditation classes? Well, we (Dena and Mark) are both experienced clinical psychotherapists (12 years+), so we work with both the body and mind every day – our own and our clients. We routinely use and teach meditation and relaxation therapeutically for a variety of presenting problems (such as stress, anxiety, depression, anger etc), and we pay close attention to the links between our bodies, minds and energy systems, encouraging acceptance within ourselves and promoting self-care. We are also both qualified and experienced martial artists / instructors (traditional karate), where the bringing together of mind, body and spirit (otherwise known as ‘the martial way’ or ‘way of life’) promotes harmony, knowledge, integrity, respect, and courage. And finally we really do like to have fun, laugh and enjoy ourselves and our life.
Our relaxation classes themselves are different because of the environment we create:
RELAX ON OUR HUGE BEANBAGS
These are not your ordinary beanbags, they are nearly 2 metres long and have a variety of different seating/lying positions to choose from (oh and they are washable, so always clean and fresh). Our favourite position is lying down in a hammock like position (although getting out is a little more difficult than getting in). We have nine bright beanbags in total, three cyan, three magenta, and three yellow, although we only run groups of six for our meditations, allowing for a bit of elbow room. The beanbags are truly magical things, they conform to every part of your body, comforting and supportive, and they reflect your own heat back into your body, soothing your aches, pains and tensions, but don’t take our word for it, come and try them out for yourselves.
UNWIND WITH OUR COLOUR CHANGING LIGHTS
These change the mood of the room completely, often during the relaxation classes we have them rotating through the full spectrum of colour, which can induce a hypnotic trance all by themselves On evenings when we use colour therapy meditations, we will synchronise the LED lighting to match too, so you can really integrate the colour into your body.
DE-STRESS WITH OUR MUSIC SYSTEM
We have a full high-end sound system to ensure you get the best music experience during meditation, including a pair of Mordaunt Short floor standing speakers, and a specialised computer sound card built for hi-fi sound. The music itself just carries you away to distant places and promotes relaxation from head to toe. We have digital music at our fingertips so we can create themed meditations and create a variety of different moods.
EXPERIENCE OUR FULLY GUIDED MEDITATION
We are not content to just give you the environment to relax in; we will pick a theme for the evening, sometimes based on your needs (you may be asked at the beginning of each class), so that we can guide you gently into and out of relaxation. If you are not used to meditation this will be of particular importance, as it is much easier to follow instructions than to make your own up. There will usually be a guided relaxation to begin with, using your body or your senses; following this, a guided meditation with a 15 minute gap to enjoy the meditative peak state (and drift away with the music); and then a graded guided awakening back to the relaxation state, and finally back to the room. If needed we also will do some energising exercises before you leave and return home (this can be particularly helpful if you are driving).
These four elements together create a very special environment indeed, one that helps you to get in touch with yourself and sooth away the stresses of your week in a variety of different ways. Because we can vary different elements of the class, each one will be different. So, on to the business side of things. Your first relaxation class will be completely free, no catches, no obligation! We will ask you to fill in a short form, this is totally confidential (please note that we ask for your doctor’s details so that we know who to contact should you need medical assistance for any reason). Each class then costs £5. As we only have six places at each class, reserving your beanbag is essential. If we can’t fit you in, we will simply set up another class. If you book a beanbag and then do not turn up, we may ask for your payment in advance on your next booking. We will ask you to remove your shoes on entering, and to check your pockets for any sharp implements that may either mark or puncture the beanbags.
Our classes for 2016 are currently on pause due to a high amount of evening psychotherapy appointments. HOWEVER we will take bookings to suit your schedule, so if there is at least three of you, we will run another class, so please contact us if you want to book a beanbag but the day above does not suit you. You can also check out our facebook page which will advertise every class day and time as and when they are organised.
So there we have it, our relaxation/meditation classes in a nutshell (albeit a large one).
If you have any questions, feedback or ideas they would be most welcome, or if you want to reserve your very own beanbag, you can call us on 01726 76913 or 079 800 61115, email us using the form on the left hand side, post on facebook, or comment on our blog.