Neurovine is pleased to announce its partnership with Lisa Greenbaum, a practicing meditator and yoga therapist who's provided guided meditation exercises for concussion patients.
According to a study done by Frontiers in Psychology, mindfulness-based interventions such as meditation may relieve fatigue in neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and multiple sclerosis. This exciting collaboration includes a full meditation program designed for individuals in concussion recovery.
Check out our meditation program here.
Our partner Lisa has over 750 hours of Yoga Teacher Training education and has studied in Canada, the US, Australia, Bali, and India. She's also a certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. Lisa has been teaching group fitness and Yoga in Toronto since 2001.
We sat down with Lisa to discuss what meditation is, its benefits, and how we can get started in our own practice!
How would you describe meditation?
For me, meditation is like finding the gap or space in between a thought. It's a practice that has to be experienced to be effective. There's no magic switch in your brain that will take us to this place. Meditation takes practice!
Throughout your meditative journey, it will likely feel like you're slipping in and out of that gap or space between your thoughts. This is completely normal! We often find ourselves in a hamster wheel of thoughts. Meditation can help us step off that wheel and find a moment of clarity. And, it may only be a moment. While in a meditative state, we will find ourselves coming in and out of our stories of thought. The difference is that through meditation we learn to tell those thoughts "not right now" and we can put these thoughts aside so that we can be more present.
What are the origins of meditation?
Generally, meditation is referenced to have started around 1500 BCE, which is during the time of the Vedas. The Vedas were a people with an oral tradition of passing down guidance verbally. This is where Mary Taylor's Buddhism Yoga has a lot of its roots. But there are even indications that the practice of meditation may be as old as 6000 years. There are stone seals found up in the Himalayas and Northern India that have pictures drawn with people sitting in Lotus Pose, or a traditional seated meditation pose.
How is concentration different from meditation?
This is a great question. Both concentration and meditation describe a certain state of mind. Concentration is typically done to achieve a focused mental state. Meditation is often practiced to achieve an uncluttered state of mind. That being said, concentration is often part of the process to achieve a meditative state. Additionally, meditation is mostly practiced seated. One of the main reasons for this is to prevent you from falling asleep during your practice. Although, there are some meditation practices that are better done lying down, such as that of my Yoga Nidra exercise which is a specific practice to help promote sleep. When you practice a meditation exercise, you will often notice that you find yourself feeling sleepy and this is a natural response. But, if you're falling asleep during meditation, you're skipping over the brainwave state needed in order to achieve the benefits of the practice.
IS THERE A SPECIFIC SESSION LENGTH REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE A MEDITATIVE STATE?
There are many answers to this question. I believe one of the most important questions to ask yourself is how much time are you willing to give? When you're just starting out, sitting in a meditative exercise for five minutes can feel like an eternity. So start with a minute. Put a timer on your phone and just sit for a minute. The next day, try two minutes. Guided meditations are also really helpful to get you started as you're following along with your instructor and you're less likely to check your phone every three seconds. Ultimately, we do want to sit for a minimum of 10 minutes because it takes about that time to cross the brainwave state to get us into a relaxed frame of mind. And then when we reach 10 minutes a day, ideally, we want to stay there longer because once we do achieve this state of relaxation, we want to stay there, right? Experienced meditators typically spend at least 20 minutes a day in practice. The more time you put into meditation, the quicker you'll start to see the benefits.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICING MEDITATION?
The benefits of practicing meditation are endless. Arguably, the most important is that when we meditate regularly, we start to experience clarity of mind. It's almost as if the world slows down a little bit. We might have the busiest day in front of us but finding clarity of mind helps calm that overwhelming feeling that we have an endless amount of things to do. With clarity of mind and becoming more present I think you'll find stress and anxiety levels come way down, and consequently you’ll feel more relaxed and at peace.
Another thing you'll notice when you start to regularly practice meditation is what I call the ripple effect. As you begin to make more positive changes and you're feeling calmer, the people around you naturally pick up on that energy and they in turn feel calmer. Our relationships then get better and we communicate better. Often, our sleep health also improves.
I believe that as we find that deeper connection with our true self, we also feel more in control of what's happening to us. With meditation, we're able to slow down and think clearly.
WHERE'S THE BEST PLACE TO MEDITATE?
I don’t think there's a specific place in which you should practice meditation. The most important thing is to find a place where you feel comfortable – ideally, a quiet place with little distraction. Some of my clients use headphones to help block out any external sounds. If you want some extra support, sitting against a wall can be really nice. You can do meditation seated in a chair. Just be sure to sit forward in the chair so your back is straight. Remember, the most important thing to consider is that you're comfortable!
ANY TIPS FOR BEGINNERS TO GET STARTED?
First, consider what you want to get out of a meditation exercise. Are you trying to quiet the mind? Are you using meditation to help with sleep? Do you need help focusing? Once you've determined what you want to achieve, try different techniques and exercises until you find what works for you. Guided meditations are a great place to start. When choosing a guided meditation, consider the instructor's voice. Some people prefer a more feminine voice, others a more masculine voice. Consider whether you prefer a visual experience versus a purely audio experience. Meditation is a very personal thing. Everyone will respond differently so it's important to explore and find what works for you!
Be sure to check Lisa Greenbaum’s full meditation program here! Neurovine envisions a world in which brain health is visible and accessible - empowering everyone to reach their full potential for health and well-being.