Hello my beauts ! How is everyone doing ? Anything exciting happening this week with you guys ? Nothing really exciting happening here just working away ! I recently just had my last social anxiety meeting forever and it was bittersweet ! One thing that I personally loved within each class was the opening the class up with mindful breathing . I had mentioned this within a previous blog before but I really wanted to emphasize how much I enjoyed doing this at the beginning of each class . I have tried on my own time meditation before and that one time was amazing . I really followed the girls voice who was narrating it and really felt at ease with my body and mind . I really wanted to get into meditation and yoga because I heard wonders how much it helps calm and soothe you . Being a very anxious person I am often looking for alternative ways to calm myself and relax from a stressful day. When I started researching about yoga and meditation, I found it overwhelming mostly because I knew nothing about it whatsoever and did not know really where to start . That is when I discovered 23 year old Meghan Dendekker , god bless her soul . I went to high school with Meghan but we never got the chance to actually meet. I had noticed her Instagram one day start lighting up with beautiful meditation and yoga poses , and literally thought ” wow “, that looks so interesting and it grabbed my attention right away. I love learning new things and I am very open to this experience and the new opportunities life has to offer. You guys know me ! I had to reach out to her immediately and ask he about her methods and advice on meditation and yoga . I am so excited and happy to announce that I will be collaborating with the beautiful Meghan on this unique and inspiring blog post ! Meghan spent a lot of time prepping for this post and you will literally see why ! Without further , grab your yoga mat , have a seat and lets get chatting !
Meghan like I mentioned above, is a 23 year old girl who has always been used to being that independent person all her life. Growing up the youngest of three is never easy , so the emotions of feeling unheard and undervalued were present leaving Meghan often full of anger in which she was really good at hiding . Being ” the baby ” had its consequences of course but everything was not all bad . Learning to be independent , Meghan began travelling and making her own choices and decisions. Trying hard to not let the negativity and hardships get to her , Meghan started practicing yoga and meditation.
I began right away asking Meghan about her practices and when she began this adventure ! Meghan explains, “I was a competitive dancer for about 14 years of my life and I have always been pretty in-tune with my body. The problem with dance is when you stop; it takes a huge toll on you, physically. The last few years of competing I suffered from non-specific back-pain, knee and hip issues. I finished dance a year after high school and went to college for 2 years. During this time, I hit the gym once in a while, but the pain was always there which affected my mood and motivation. Eventually I took a few yoga classes at the gym and although they were beginner, I really enjoyed them. I have been practicing yoga for almost 2 years, and meditation for 6 months now. With meditation, I knew it could help control the temper I have… but I never knew where to start or how to conduct my own practice. I started researching more about it and attending more classes that incorporated meditation”. That is so interesting to me ! I have always wanted to try a yoga class but never really had the guts to do it ! I wonder how it would be ? I would probably really enjoy it to be honest , sounds like Meghan did !
Do you practice yoga and meditating every day? If so, what time of the day works best for you ? “Basically, my body will speak to me. I don’t practice everyday, I practice when I know I need to but also when I want to. Based on my schedule it can be any time of the day, but I’m a nighthawk and before bed is my usual practice time. I usually meditate when the day is almost over because this is when I can reflect on and observe the thoughts and emotions I had that day. Keeping up with what goes on in my mind is definitely something I consider a priority, especially if life starts to get hectic then I know I need to take a rest and sit for bit”. I think I would personally find it best before bed as well to be honest . I usually find working out before bed to have a great impact on my sleep quality , so I can only imagine the sleep quality I would have with meditation and yoga! Makes me want to try it now! I love how spiritual Meghan is when she states , ” my body will speak to me“. I love this. I find we do not listen to our bodies enough when they are trying to speak to us.
I then went on to ask Meghan about certain types of yoga and meditation. As you all know I do not know much about yoga at all whatsoever , so I did not want to insult her on this question ! I generally wanted to know what exactly she practices in her spare time . Meghan states, “In terms of being involved with certain types, I am exploring as much as I can at the moment. Currently, I am in my 200 hour yoga teacher training with De La Sol in Hamilton/ Waterdown, so hopefully it will help guide me toward my niche. I do however, LOVE slow deep hot classes such as Hatha or Yin. Deep stretching allows me to incorporate meditation while I practice, and connect to my mental and physical self as a whole. I can check in with parts of my body that feel tension, and relate it to how it makes me feel. I actually have silent conversations with myself, which sounds so silly but it really helps me focus on my inner self. I consider these practices to be my “absolute me time.”
I love this ! I love how Meghan is getting out there and doing her thing, it’s inspiring ! I love learning about her classes and more about meditation and yoga in general . I have heard this so many times when it comes down to these practices is that it’s about focusing on parts of your body that are tense and need that extra help. I love how she considers this her ” absolute me time “. That’s awesome . Especially since you are literally worrying about nothing else in that present moment but your own personal thoughts and body. I find this would be super relaxing and this “me “ time would be super beneficial .
(The crow position )
What is your favourite pose or position? Explain. ” I am really learning to love crow pose. This is a pose I could always hold, but I never felt good in it. The biggest challenge while in a posture is finding comfort in it. I have been practicing that focus a lot lately. Recently in my teacher training we learned some super helpful tips to feel lighter and stronger, and low and behold… I am feeling so much better and confident in this pose! This progress is something I am so proud of at the moment! For a more passive pose I really enjoy happy baby or child’s pose. Both are amazing hip openers and a super nice stretch on the low back “. I have always been super jealous and envious of people who can do the crow position . This looks so hard and looks like you need to be super flexible to do so ! I find that so interesting how she states that her teacher taught her some usueful tips to feel lighter and stronger . That is so crazy to hear but amazing at the same time what you can do with your body and mind. I find this would truly help a ton that’s for sure! Maybe I’ll get Meghan to teach me this pose one day that I always wished I could do ! I absolutely however, love child’s pose . I find this so relaxing and lets my muscles breathe and stretch , feels unreal . I often do this when I am working out to stretch out after a hard workout !
I went on with the collaboration to ask Meghan if she self taught herself to do these practices , I was very curious ! Meghan explains, “Yes and no. I was a dancer so being aware of my body and moving it in ways that aren’t considered normal, came very natural. After dance was over, occasionally I would stretch out my usual sore spots but then decided to start watching YouTube and using Pinterest for yoga poses and ideas. Eventually I started going to real classes. Meditation was not self-taught. I began taking guided meditation in yoga classes and obtaining tips from some admirable teachers to further my personal practice”. You got to love Pinterest and YouTube ! I would have done the exact same and actually have done so when experimenting with meditation and yoga myself . I have to get the guts to actually attend classes however ! This is the best way to do it though , asking the experts ! In order to better yourself and do the best you can , it’s okay to ask for help and be shown what to do !
Do you find that you are feeling more at your best now that you have incorporated yoga and meditation? “I can definitely agree that incorporating yoga and meditation in my life has brought out the best in me. I rarely have lower back pain anymore and my mood more balanced. I have noticed that I am calmer and more relaxed, especially in traffic. My thoughts are clearer and I am more attentive to them. Yes I still experience anger and off-feelings, everyone does.. But the way I deal with and evaluate them is very different then the usual “snap”. It also gives me something to grow with and look forward to, and that to me is so important. I’m not saying this is a cure all, but for me it’s close to it “ I for sure have to try this out ! I don’t necessarily have any injuries but I need to feel calmer for sure after a stressful day at work . That’s amazing Meghan ! You are so inspiring and there’s something about what you write and how you word things that is calming altogether .
“True yoga is not about the shape of your body,but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived.Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming.Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose,and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied” – Aadil Palkhivala, Fire of Love
Do you find that your practice has helped with mental illness at all or do you believe this could potentially help someone who is suffering? “Personally, mindfulness and meditation has been helping a lot lately. There are times when I have these breakdowns because my thoughts are everywhere. I can’t understand for myself why I felt this way and what the heck triggered it. Then I’m left stressing and wondering WTF is wrong with me.. When I sit with myself frequently, I am able to lay out my thoughts and see the patterns of my feelings. If I was feeling upset that day, it’s a little clearer to find out what the trigger was, and if I can control the outcome next time. Here’s a simple guideline for a classic meditation if you’d like to try it for yourself:
I find it beneficial to sit in a comfortable space and tune into your breath, don’t force your breathing but just notice you are breathing.Picture nothing until thoughts pop up like clouds. Don’t shut them out, follow them. Evaluate your clouds of thought, how do they make you feel? Feel the feeling, but don’t become the emotion. Witness it, allow it, release it. Let go.Picture that cloud of thought moving past you in the sky, that thought is gone. It does not serve you anymore.Sounds easy right? Always come back to your breath if you get distracted. When your session is completed, slowly open your eyes and always give yourself love and gratitude for taking the time to heal and be with yourself. Be attentive to how you felt before, and how you are now feeling, take note of the difference. Use it as a positive foundation to reset the clocks in the mind”.
Thank you so much Meghan for providing us with this example of meditation! I was so excited when she provided this I thought that was so neat and for sure going to try it ! I couldn’t agree more with what Meghan is saying about mental illness and helping with that ! I have anxiety , and I have heard nothing but positive results with meditation and yoga reducing anxiety or calming you. I am so glad I had asked this question, because I was very curious to ask someone who actually does meditation and yoga , and get their views on this. Let me know if you beauts try out this mindfulness activity and guided meditation!
What has this practice taught you about yourself? “This practice has enlightened me of things I have unconsciously allowed in my life that have not been serving me in a positive way. Lately it’s been easier to evaluate what is actually doing me more harm than good, whether it’s a friendship, path in life, or family member. It has taught me to slow down, breathe, evaluate, and let go. This practice has shown me that growth will only happen when you fuel the fire and keep feeding it. It has been inspiring my own self-love and gratitude. I always thought I loved myself, but the truth is I never really knew myself until I started looking inward. This practice encourages me to embrace all I am, all I can be and all that I want to create for myself”. The thing that stuck with me from this specific part of the conversation was the ” slow down, breathe and let go” aspect . I could not agree more . By the sounds of it , meditation and yoga help so much with this and allowing your body to get out of that constant rush, to just slow down. I am so proud of you Meghan for exploring new things and finally figuring out who you are as an individual! We should all look up to this and encourage one another to spend that time searching who you really are . Meghan found who she was , did you ?
I was also interested if Meghan uses these practices as a hobby or is she relies on them . Meghan explains , “I totally rely on it. If I don’t practice for a while, I notice the back pain coming back and I start to feel stiff in various places. I also start to feel disconnected from my body. If I have had a crappy day, an asana practice or meditation is definitely my go-to. I know it will make be feel better even if I’m super unmotivated”. I feel the exact same way when I take a few days off from the gym or can’t make it for some reason. I am miserable . It is like my body strives for that exercise, and calls for it ! I completely get where Meghan is coming from that’s for sure.
Are there any props that you use when completing your practice? “After an asana practice I usually apply some essential oils to the back of my neck, behind the ears, temples and wrists while I lay in my final pose and rest. If I’m going for more of a spiritual meditation, then sometimes I hold my special objects and exchange energies with them, then always complete the session with a bow to Buddha. Some of my meditative objects include crystals, feathers, candles, a salt lamp, my weeping yogi, and a sacred mala. For a lengthy mindful meditation I often journal about the experience afterwards”. I have always wanted to purchase essential oils to use for my body , the boys who I nanny for use these oils and there’s all kinds for different purposes! I am for sure going to look into this. I found this so interesting to read ! Meghan uses a lot of beneficial props when completing her practices which is so fascinating to me .
Lastly , I asked Meghan one last question in regards to her future plans or goals for her practices . Meghan states, ” Future plans are still in the works. I definitely know this is where my heart is and my passion grows brighter every single day. I would LOVE to travel and teach yoga retreats, so I’m dreaming the opportunities right now but other options are always open. I’m ready for whatever the Universe feeds me J I really hope you enjoyed reading, I’m totally open for feedback, it’s what helps us grow!”
TIP: If your one of those people who has tried yoga once or twice and hated it, please don’t stop there. Keep in mind that there are thousands of different styles of yoga and teaching methods. Chances are the one you tried just isn’t right for you. It also depends on the teacher. Give it another shot!”.
Namasté, beautiful souls ❤
Thank you so much to the beautiful and spiritual Meghan Dendekker for collaborating with me on this blog post on meditation and yoga. I have learned so much from reading her answers as I am sure you beauts learned a lot too ! Be sure to follow her Instagram page for more updates on her practices!
I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post as much as I did ! Be sure to comment below and let me know if you are involved in yoga or meditation! I am curious ! Be sure to follow my social media accounts for updates on future blog posts !