8 in August Challenge: Practice Meditation Daily for 8 minutes in August

Here’s a video introducing you to the free 8 minutes in August daily challenge, including a guided meditation in the last 8 minutes of the video.

If you wish to listen to the audio track version of the video on Soundcloud, you can do that here:
 

If you wish to share this video on your blog or social media, you have full permission to do so. Just link back to us if you can.

 

To Summarise the Video

The summer seems very fun and positive, but is often one of the most challenges times of the year. Partly because there’s the image that everyone should be having fun, and partly because everyone’s usual routine goes out the window.

So, let’s bring some stability to the summer with daily meditation.

Watch the video, and the guided meditation is in the last 8 minutes. Here’s some tips to practice meditation everyday.

  1. Practice at roughly the same time everyday if you can

  2. Link your meditation practice to a daily existing habit, like after having a shower or simply after getting out of bed

  3. Enjoy! Smile, practice in your favourite chair

Remember, if you miss a day or two, no worries. Just start up again where you left off...we are here to support ANY amount of practice that you do.

Quote of the Week

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.

― Mahatma Gandhi


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

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50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
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Self-Care Tips on Self-Care Day

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Yesterday I celebrated International self-care day. So I thought I’d write a blog post about it too!

 

My Personal Journey of Self-Care

I’ve been on a personal journey towards improving my own self-care in the last few years. I hope my authentic sharing will help you to see it’s okay not to be perfect, and that we are all on the same journey together to balance caring for ourselves as well as others.

I don’t care for my body the way most people do, I guess. Appearance, although I know it’s important, is quite boring for me! Shopping for clothes is a bit of a torture for me for some reason!

Physical exercise is also not something I’ve massively got into. I haven’t been to the gym for ages. My main exercise for the last year has probably been brisk walking, which I love. The only time I enjoy physical exercise is if it’s part of a sport like badminton or tennis, or if I’m running to raise money for a cause or part of some group.

In terms of food, I’ve been brought up vegetarian and continue to do. In fact, I’m 95% vegan now. I wish I could say it’s a self-discipline based on ethics and the environment, but to be honest, it’s because I’m lactose intolerant. But I’m very happy that my intolerance is very good for the environment too, and whenever I organise events, I encourage vegan food only.  Food wise, I mainly eat whatever I find tasty, rather than just healthy. Luckily some healthy foods are also tasty so that works out well!

For my mental and emotional wellbeing, I’m far more interested and self-caring. I do meditate regularly, most mornings, and enjoy other healthy activities like reflecting on what I’m grateful for from time to time, mindful walking, teaching mindfulness and kindfulness and spending time with nice friends.

I love doing acts of kindness, practising being generous and helping others when I can. And I’m also conscious not to doing too to please others all the time, and make time for myself too. I always invest a lot of money and time in attending trainings, conferences and retreats. Going away on retreats is probably the biggest act of self-care that I do.

I know relationships are really important for wellbeing, but I’ve noticed when I don’t feel that good, I prefer to avoid friends! Or anyone! I’m most likely to either sleep, watch comedies on YouTube, go for a walk - usually walking to the park. It’s on these times that the opposite of self-care happens and I can be hard rather than nice to myself. I can end up judging myself - ‘why are you being so lazy?’, ‘why don’t you have more energy?’, ‘you should be working harder’ and so on. It’s not easy to catch these thoughts when in that state of mind. But I’m definitely getting better. If I feel really tired, I do go to bed. And when I’m having one of those tricky days, I don’t force myself to work too hard. I accept my feelings, remind myself that they will pass (although they always feel like they never will for some reason!) and so on.

These kinds of judgmental thoughts can come up in meditation too. Thoughts like ‘Why won’t my mind stop wandering off so much’ or ‘Oh my God, I think I’ve been thinking for that whole meditation’, or ‘I should be better at meditating, I’m a meditation teacher!’. A little bit of reflection reveals none of these thoughts are true. There is no such thing as a bad meditation. And thoughts are just that - thoughts. They come and go. There’s also always a cause for the way each meditation went - it’s not random - due to what’s happening in my life and how I’m feeling at the time.

Try Out My Favourite Self-Care Questions

As it’s self-care day, I’m going to be practising being caring towards myself. Why don’t you try them too?

Dear body, how can I best take care of you today?

Dear mind, how can I best take care of you today?

 

What responses did you get? Here are mine!

Response from my body: Smile, have a nice tasty but not too heavy breakfast, and make sure you take me for a walk!

Response from my mind: Smile, don’t work too intensively, take breaks regularly and don’t spend too much time on the computer. Would be nice to do some short meditations throughout the day and some deep breathing exercises too.


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

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The Art of Stillness

Last week, I bought and read a short book called The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer. I loved it.

The beautifully written book shares how Iyer seemed to live the ideal life living in a Manhattan apartment, travelling the world writing for leading publications like Time magazines and the New York Times. And yet he felt compelled to step out of his busy lifestyle and live in a simple apartment in Japan for a year to begin with. This started his relationship with going Nowhere, as he calls it, not to escape the world, but to better able to meet the world replenished. More mindful that happiness is obviously an ‘inside job’ rather than about striving to keep shining the outside.

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For me, spending some time in solitude is a wake up call. It’s a bit like when you’re in a room and it has a smell...but you’ve been in that room for so long, you don’t even notice the smell. Then, you step out, and realise the room didn’t have a pleasant smell at all! Have you had that experience?

The same happens with sound. There’s a noise in the background but you don’t realise the effect it’s having on you. Once the noise stops, you feel an immense sense of relief and surprise. Relief that the noise has stopped, and surprise as how much that noise was irritating you.

Getting caught up in the world of doing is similar. We all end up doing so much, we don’t realise the effect it’s having on us. Doing something all the time becomes a compulsion. And then, if you’re fortunate to find yourself with no phone signal, in a place with very little to do, you experience a deep sense of relief. Perhaps panic at first, but eventually you let go. As if a noise in the background has gone off, you relax.

The noise of doing has stopped, and the sweet experience of going Nowhere and doing Nothing create a sense of peace you forgot about and yet now feels so familiar and natural.

I live in the city. I’m not that used to being in the countryside, out in nature. I sometimes worry I’d get bored if I spent too much time away from city life, out in nature. But following my recent experience, I don’t think so!

For the last 4 days I’ve been immersed in the countryside, in the middle of the South Downs, about 50 miles south of London. Walking with my friend amongst the fields of wheat, acres of blue flowers, blue sky and fluffy white clouds was truly joyful.

On most days I seemed to wake up in the middle of the night for some reason...on one occasion, it was around midnight.

I got out of bed and opened my back door which looked out into the sky. I gasped. The whole night sky was filled with stars. I stood outside in the cool midnight air and gazed and gazed. The constellations were so easy to see. And the stars all looks different. Some brighter than others. Some larger than others. And amongst them all, the faint hue of the Milky Way galaxy could be seen. A sight I’ve rarely seen from most light-polluted cities.

I also enjoyed walking on my own, not knowing where I’m going. I love that feeling...I think I love the feeling both in my walks and in my life. I walked down a small road and followed a sign saying ‘footpath’ into a field. Before long the field turned into an ancient forest….seemingly a forest no human had touched for thousands of years. Wondering around that forest, not knowing what I’d come upon next, was deeply pleasurable.

Nature is a great teacher, healer and friend. As more and more people leave the countryside to live in cities, we as a human species become less in touch with nature.

Living in the city, I sometimes forget the importance of making time to immerse myself amongst the trees, grass and rolling hills of the English countryside. But when I do, I’m often rewarded with a deeper rest, a sense of inner nourishment and a greater ability to see things from a bigger and more realistic perspective.

I hope I’ve inspired you to spend some time in nature, in stillness. For nature is none other than an extension of yourself. When you’re falling in love with nature, you’re falling in love with yourself. The air you breathe comes from the trees around you. The ground you walk on is the soil, nature’s nourishing carpet. The sights you see and the energy you have, comes from nature’s everlasting battery, the sun. Just a short reflection helps you realise - you are nature.

Not possible to take time out to visit the countryside? Just to give some time to look at a flower growing from a neighbouring front garden or a little weed pushing its way out from the pavement may act as reminders that nature is always trying to find a way to say hello to you...so say hello back, and let’s make better friends with her.


Enjoyed this? Try our Free Kindfulness Course today for 7 days, or book our full HD 8 week program with:

20 guided Kindful Meditations,
50 High- Definition Videos
200 students have completed the program
5 stars is the average rating!

Start Kindfulness today