Jacqueline has practised Meditation & Yoga for over 30 years, teaching Meditation since 2001; Relaxation since 2002 and Yoga since 2004. She received the Reiki Master Teachers Degree in 2006 and in the same year, a PostGraduate Certificate for Teaching in Further Education from Dundee University. She created and taught courses on Meditation, Relaxation, Integrative Art and Stress Management at the former Langside College (now Glasgow Clyde College) for four years. Jacqueline previously co-ordinated the teaching programme and has led guided meditation at Kagyu Samye Dzong in Glasgow for several years.
I found Jacqueline to be very helpful, clearly demonstrating what was expected and at all times in a very relaxed manner. This was my second course which helped develop my understanding of meditation. J.C.
Felt calmer, more with the moment. E.S.
I feel more able to look at things differently; able to focus. I feel more disciplined, active, open, aware. Jacqueline has an inviting and relaxed approach. The course has worked for me. At last I can find tranquil moments without having to leave my surroundings. R.K.
I feel greater emotional stability and sense of peace. Jacqueline interacted effectively with the group: with patience, kindness, gentleness, positivity; a sense of fun and most importantly-completely down to earth. K.B.
What is Meditation and Why Do it?
Meditation (or Mindfulness) is currently more talked about and tried than ever before.
But what is it?
It has been said to be a technique to reduce stress in our everyday lives; a way of relaxing.
But from another perspective it is best described by the phrase- ‘the way of tranquillity and insight.’
Why do it?
Well, it can help reduce the effects of stresses that we all experience in our everyday lives, but that is a more mundane, though not unimportant, aspect of its effects.
Meditation is fundamentally a spiritual practice, more than a stress management technique.
Although, tranquillity seems to equate with relaxation, it goes much deeper than just relaxing in terms of the effect on our lives.
Whereas insight can produce awareness and clarity about who we are and the choices we make now and in the future.
An Healthy and Ethical Lifestyle
Just as Meditation can affect how we act in our everyday life, so will our everyday way of living affect our ability to relax or meditate. Trying to lead a healthy lifestyle can help make us feel happier and more positive.
Some elements of a healthy lifestyle are:
- Maintaining our physical well-being by eating healthy food; getting enough rest; taking regular exercise.
- Taking responsibility for own circumstances, actions and states of mind.
- Developing communication and friendships with others who are like-minded and practise meditation.
- Taking a wholehearted approach to anything you try.
- Trying to act with awareness in whatever you do.
If we usually live in states of tension, anger, confusion etc., it will be difficult to relax, much less meditate. By living in a way that overcomes or cancels out these unskillful states of mind we can relax more and be preparing for meditation in everything we do.
For Example, we can try to:
Violence & Manipulation Kindness
If possible it is best to prepare at least half an hour in advance of meditating. There are some things we can do to prepare our body and mind before we practice:
- Reduce any distractions to a minimum eg. turn off the TV; music, put away books or stop other activities.
- If you feel sleepy, try to wake yourself up by taking a short walk, open a window or doing some exercise.
- If you feel restless then try to relax by doing a relaxation exercise or having a cup of tea and sitting quietly.
- Prepare a place to meditate. It is good to sit in the same place each time you meditate. You could make it comfortable and attractive by tidying up before you start and having a point of focus such as flowers or a candle or burn incense.
- Adjust the temperature and light; if you feel tired make the room cool and light. If you feel restless make the room warm and dim.
- Whenever possible, sit at the same time each day.
- You might find it useful to have a wash and clean your teeth to freshen up. Wear loose clothing. You may want to do some exercise to loosen up the body and try not to meditate within an hour of having a meal.
- Mentally prepare by considering that you are going to meditate. Decide which practice you’re going to do. Think of new ways of approaching it rather than just habitually sliding into it.
- Remember to end the meditation gradually, taking your time afterwards as you have before beginning.
Once we have sat down to meditate, there are five final aspects to our preparation.
- Posture: Find a comfortable position then check your posture to ensure you are sitting upright without strain.
- Introspection: Check how you are feeling physically and emotionally eg. restless, doubtful, aching, happy etc, and try to find ways of easing physical aches or be aware of emotions.
- Recollect your purpose: the reason you are meditating and resolve to overcome any hindrances which may get in your way. Resolve to put 100% effort into the meditation practice.
- Be as Enthusiastic as you’re able. Try to make an emotional connection with the practice. Consider the benefits of meditating.
- Relax: Don’t try too hard or force yourself into a meditative state. It won’t work! Relax into the meditation and enjoy it while remaining alert.
CLICK & FOLLOW THE GUIDED 4 MINUTE BODY SCAN RECORDING BELOW BEFORE USING THE 10 MINUTE SELF-GUIDED BREATH AWARENESS MEDITATION WITH BELLS TO BEGIN AND END THE SESSION.
StillMind 4 min Body Scan (freemindfulness.org)
Mindfulness of Breath 10 min Meditation (freemindfulness.org)
Recommended Reading List
‘Start where you are’, Pema Chodron, Element, 2003.
‘Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart’, Mark Epstein, M.D., Thorsons,1999.
‘The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying’, Sogyal Rinpoche, Rider Books, 1995.
‘After the Ecstasy, The Laundry’, Jack Kornfield, Rider Books, 2000.