Powering Down For Holy Week: Benefits Of Meditation, Quiet Time, And Yoga
Holy Week, though a solemn period for most people, is also synonymous to vacation plans and getaways. The long weekend draws people to tourist spots from North to South of the entire country, with much revelry happening on what is supposedly one of the most reflective times of the year.
If you don’t observe Holy Week but would like to empathize with the introspective nature of the holy days, there are other ways and other places to slow down, take a deep breath and recharge outside, and in.
Meditation has long been proven to have benefits for both body and soul. A few minutes of solitude and silence improves concentration and focus, promotes self-awareness, which in turn increases the feelings of contentment and happiness. Meditation usually involves breathing exercises, and this simple physical activity is good for the cardiovascular functions of the body and immune health.
To begin a meditation practice, one can simply start by finding a quiet spot, turning off all alerts, gadgets, and electronics, close your eyes and do some deep breathing. You can even find guided meditation playlists on Spotify, ranging from quick 10-minute sessions to 40-minute deep meditation, with themes such as “letting go,” “protection,” “wholeness,” among others, for whatever you may need at the moment.
A solo retreat is one you can do at home, or your choice of quiet destination. Whether at home, or in nature, introspection and reflection makes you step back, gather thoughts, flesh out emotions, and make way for realizations and epiphanies. A simple way to do so is take on a journaling challenge. Journaling is popular and many websites have guided journaling cues that work for anyone, even if you’ve never journaled before. For those worried about their patience with writing, your entries don’t have to be in the written form. You may record your thoughts on your phone. You will be the only one to hear them (unless you choose to share), so feel free to speak freely. Some people might also opt to use art, drawing or painting their journal entries. In whatever form, take advantage to flesh out thoughts that have been in the back of your mind. Bring them to the forefront and give them a chance to tumble during the quiet days ahead.
If activity is your thing, decluttering may be the key. Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy method for cleaning up, dubbed “Konmari” has reached global success, with millions testifying to the life-changing method of tidying up. More than just decluttering, the Konmari method offers up a philosophy that makes you zone in on what’s important in your life, what you hold on to, and what you should let go. There’s no question that a tidy, well-organized space does wonders for mental health, and with a few days at your disposal, it may be just the right time to finally cull your wardrobe and all your storage spaces of items that may be holding you back, keeping you in the past and are barriers to what the future holds for you.
For those who crave physical activity and clarity, yoga may just be the thing. The changing power of the practice is widely touted as a means to increase concentration, focus and clarity. The physical demands of yoga offers a tangible means to measure personal success. Increased strength, endurance, better posture are just the tip of the iceberg for the benefits of yoga. Even with all these, yoga remains a personal journey, and the respect for each person’s pace and capabilities is what makes it so popular.
Craving for more? Check out these people, places and sites where you can get more information on meditation, introspection and yoga.
The Healing House. This place for learning and healing is in a low-key address in Mandaluyong. They offer healing services in a variety of modalities and offer regular workshops as well. Tel. no. (02) 4778823, or message them on their Facebook page @HHMandaluyong.
Spark Joy Philippines. If you’ve read Marie Kondo’s books and looking for a community to support your Konmari, Spark Joy Philippines is here. Led by Konmari consultant, Christine Dychiao, they offer tips, a community of decluttering beings and workshops that can help you along the journey to a household that sparks joy at every corner. IG: @sparkjoy.ph. Join the Facebook group: Spark Joy Philippines.
Urban Ashram Manila. Urban Ashram Manila is a long-established yoga center with studios in Kapitolyo and BGC. Ask about their Beginners Yoga workshop, widely popular for those starting new or anew in the practice, with beginner packages that offer great discounts. Visit their Facebook page, Urban Ashram Yoga, their website, urbanashramyoga.com, or call (02) 6619642 to reserve a mat.
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