Republished with permission from Unapparenthood an Evio Community Partner
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of meditation? What even is meditation? I asked a few friends that were working away around me what they thought meditation was:
"I dunno, yogi's? I was going to say something rude but...lately, it's been other forms of meditation besides sitting cross-legged. Meditation is like doing something like curating a playlist or lighting a $300 candle." Gen Z'er.
"Breathing and trying not to fall asleep. Meditation is thinking about nothing? That's the problem, struggling to not think" Millennial.
"Being present. Not focused on the past or the future, but the here and the now. All suffering takes place in the past or the future, can't happen in the present." Millennial that does 3 hours of therapy a week, so not fair that he kind of knew what it was.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
SOME KEY TAKEAWAYS ON MEDITATION:
it's training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective
it's all about learning to observe your thoughts without judgment
mindfulness is the ability to be present
meditation is like learning a new skill - you have to practice
I know mindfulness and meditation are buzzwords being thrown around all over the place, so I did some digging to find out what it could mean for my pregnant bod and baby. The meditation benefits are plentiful, but here are some of my favourites:
SOME BENEFITS OF MEDITATION DURING PREGNANCY
Calms pregnancy stress - check out this study on the effects of anxiety, depression, and stress in pregnancy, and the implications on mothers and their children
Reduces pre-natal depression risk - depression affects 1 in 5 women during pregnancy when anti-depressants aren't largely prescribed
Get better sleep - practicing meditation during the second trimester can improve your sleep (this alone would've convinced me to do meditation 10 times a day)
Connect with your baby - you can bond with your baby by visualizing positive imagery and to start building this bond way before baby is here
Your baby might pop out more zen - experts say that babies of women who meditated had a better temperament than those who didn't. I'd like a zen babe thank you v much.
Ease labour anxiety and pain - okay, so the experts say it doesn't actually reduce the pain, but changes your perspective and response to pain which makes labour more effective
So with all of this in mind, I headed over to Quiet Company to do my first sit and had a mini-meditation sesh. Quiet Company is Toronto’s first modern meditation studio. We exist to create mindful experiences for the modern mind. Emily created The Quiet Company as a place for people to come together and find stillness in this busy city. She leads a team of some of the best teachers in the city to help you find a happier, more balanced and less stressed you.
The Quiet Company is a new Toronto meditation studio oasis in the heart of King Street West. For 2 years, Emily Thring hosted meditation and mindfulness workshops around Toronto, until she found The Quiet Co.’s permanent home at 511 King Street West.
The first thing I said when I walked over the threshold was "uh I don't think I'm going to be good at this". Emily totally convinced me for about 5 seconds that there's no such thing. But I'm competitive as hell. So when Emily, the founder of Quiet Co. told us to sit on our sit bones, I sat the best way I could with my 26-week pregnant belly. She told us to inhale, boy did I inhale. And for about 10 minutes we meditated.
We inhaled for as long as we exhaled. We breathed in collectively. We closed our eyes. We meditated.
45 seconds in, I thought I was failing. I couldn't stop thinking about everything I needed to do, or should be doing instead of meditating. I got distracted by own thoughts. I felt a little twinge in my pelvis. Baby etta wouldn't let me concentrate. But then, it was over. She asked us to open our eyes and asked us how we felt. I blurted out, I think I did bad, I couldn't concentrate. And then, I was reminded that that was kind of the point. It's all about allowing yourself to see all of those thoughts dancing around in your head and sort of greet them with a hello and go back to focusing on your breath. I learned that there was no such thing as a "perfect practice" and what was actually more important than achieving meditation perfection was to practice on a regular basis. You know those quote graphics you see all over Instagram that say "the journey is more important than the destination" and you kind of roll your eyes and keep scrolling? Well this is that. So I stopped rolling my eyes and realized after the practice was over, I was actually very aware. I knew all the things I needed to do (like write this blog post) and all the things I should be doing (like 10 minutes of meditation a day). I kind of felt clear. And I loved it.
Want to check out The Quiet Co? Here's their schedule (hint: they have a special unlimited sit introductory offer for $35 on right now).