Here at IntelliCasa we have been reflecting over the last few months on the importance of self well-being especially during the lockdown period, with businesses opening again and the return to work for some within sight, we wanted to review the importance of maintaining a good balance, and believe that smart technology can help achieve this. While gyms and boutique fitness studios may also start reopening, many of us will continue cocooning within our homes with a new fitness routine that saves on time getting to the gym or studio. Creating a highly functional space that boosts performance and adds to a sense of well-being is the key to building a sustainable new fitness plan.
Just as you might build a home fitness routine to stay in shape, meditation and relaxation rituals are equally more important in bringing balance and personal effectiveness to your days. It helps curb negative thought patterns, control anxiety and boosts overall well-being.
When you can combine the comfort of your own home with well-being rituals, life becomes that little sweeter still. Rather than rushing to get to a yoga or meditation class, you can now tune into an online session instead and better yet, using a smart environment custom built to your preferences.
With that in mind, we spoke to Minal Bhanshali, a qualified yoga philosophy and meditation teacher and founder of lifestyle brand 7 Over 7, a scented candle range designed to enhance meditation and relaxation.
Minal grew up with many Ayurvedic traditions – Ayurveda is a holistic wellness practice, which has been followed in India for thousands of years. As a result, meditation is a key part of her life – so we caught up with her to find out more.
What is the importance of meditation and relaxation?
Throughout the day, we are bombarded with so many stimuli that assault our senses on an hourly basis; especially given the current context, where we’re having to tune into a new digital first reality. This overstimulation not only affects our bodies’ circadian rhythm (the circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of our brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's also known as our sleep/wake cycle), creating sleep disorders, but also leads to a feeling of overwhelm which in turn cripples our nervous system.
While we sleep our bodies restore themselves and our brains process the events of the day, which literally get stored in the neurons of our minds and form how we are conditioned by and how we perceive the world around us. But when there is a feeling of overwhelm our ability to rejuvenate and recover are massively compromised, meaning that feeling of overwhelm remains in our nervous system, unprocessed.
There is an extensive body of research in neuroscience led by esteemed experts in their fields like Dr Joe Dispenza, who have dedicated their lives to showing the direct correlation between the state of our nervous system and the effectiveness of brain function and our entire physiology.
It has been found in these studies that effective meditative practice and relaxation rituals enable us to process what goes on around us and act as a barometer of our internal state, enabling us to take stock of what is going on within our innermost worlds. This means that when we go to sleep our bodies are better able to rejuvenate and heal as opposed to trying to process incoherent, frantic signals.
In my experience meditation is a resource that is accessible through introspection and by retreating within. Tuning in requires a regular practice and when we create rituals around these practices, they hold more meaning and become something to look forward to doing and not just a checklist activity.
That degree of introspection through meditative and mindful practices is a real precursor to effective relaxation. It’s almost like emptying out what’s in our minds and hearts before we can ease into that feeling of bliss when we are truly relaxed. And It is more profound than the momentary bliss we find through simple escapism.
Why is meditation important and how can you create the best setup for an effective practice?
Along with giving a clarity of mind and helping us become more effective through more considered thoughts and actions, meditation can really help cope with overwhelm and anxiety during times of uncertainty. Meditation is also a very powerful tool for self-development, so taking up a regular practice can mean we can be in better form and more effective in meeting our goals through real personal growth.
Creating a dedicated space within your home where you do your practice regularly, not only helps create a ritual around it (thus, becoming something, you look forward to) but also makes the practice more profound. Be it a special corner in your home, or a meditation room, it makes a difference to set it up so that you can easily detach from the distractions of everyday life.
I’ve found using my senses helps go deeper in my practice. When I began my journey exploring meditative practices through trial and error, I came to the realisation that our senses, when used in isolation, can help us hone in on our inner worlds. I like to call it mindful sense gratification.
Combining the senses can have a profound impact in how quickly you can reach a meditative state. Mood lighting and ambient music can really help create the right setting and can be altered depending on your mood.
This is where smart technology comes into play, creating the perfect atmosphere throughout your home to assist in your meditation or any other practice you choose.
Taking advantage of natural day light & using preset lighting scenes, you can transform the mood of a room with a simple touch of a button.
One of the leaders in Smart Home Technology, IntelliCasa, can help you see your space like you have never seen it before, transforming it into that special haven with IntelliCasa’s cutting edge Smart Lighting control systems using the most sophisticated Home Automation technology on the market.
Offering silent blinds and curtains with pre-set lighting scenes such as Morning, Meditation or Evening, their bespoke design transforms the mood of any room with a simple touch while helping reducing energy consumption.
IntelliCasa Smart HVAC Systems constantly monitor the environment providing efficient output at all times to make sure the preferred set temperature is maintained ensuring your well-being session is just perfect! This again is fully controlled through one easy to use interface.
Meditation should be an enriching experience, for the ultimate practice, high quality audio and HD video can be used giving you instant access to custom playlists and videos which can be streamed through your choice of platform.
The use of fragrance can really elevate the sensory and olfactive experience too. That was what was missing for me during my meditations, being able to really use my sense of smell to retreat within having struggled using essential oils and burners, that became distractions rather than aids.
And so started the journey of creating a sensory experience that held the same impact as affirmations do, to carry an intention that alters our state of being.
Each of the scented candles I have created carry an intention and help create a mood that transcends your current state.
Which candle would you select for a morning practice or for winding down at the end of the day?
Morning meditation is a powerful tool for setting up the day and for that I like to use the ‘wilful tonic’. It is effervescent and fresh with the underlying warmth of a delicate amber core. It was created to imbue a sense of conviction, focus, tenacity; quiet confidence that is infectious. The perfect tool for setting up an intention for the day ahead.
To put the day to rest, I’d recommend ‘botanic candour’. It is like a soothing warming embrace, with ylang ylang and amyris oil giving it its restorative, detoxifying qualities. Blended with bergamot and patchouli it promotes a deep sense of comfort.
How would you start a meditation ritual for people who might not have tried it before?
Start small with 5 – 10 minutes and then build up your practice. The best way to start is trying meditation after a yoga session; yoga postures were designed by the ancient yogis to enable the body to sit a meditative state for long periods of time and to help channel the energy from the ground up. So, after yoga, is the most ideal time when the body and mind are more receptive to the benefits of meditation. Create a space and a little ritual to your practice to make it more meaningful and use the senses to go within. Ensure there is a good flow of fresh air in the room, ambient lighting and it will help set an intention for your practice with a mood enhancing candle. I would recommend lighting the candle 15-twenty minutes before your practice to allow the scent to fill the space.
What position should your body be in? What should you be sitting on? What are the key things to bear in mind while meditating?
Ideally, you’d want to be sat on the floor, propped by a few cushions with your back straight and palms facing the ceiling. This posture is an openness to receive and enables a better flow of energy from the root of the spine to the crown of the head. If you don’t have the flexibility to sit cross legged, you can sit on a chair but always make sure you hold your back straight and support the base of your spine with padding if needed.
The most important things to bear in mind are:
The intention you set when you go into the practice is really important so be intentional with your practice
The object isn’t to control your mind, it is to detach from it by just becoming more aware and following what comes up from your subconscious mind
Ease into the practice and let your breath guide you. When in doubt, just go back to the natural rhythm of the breath: inhaling deeply and exhaling completely.
How often should people try this?
As often as you can and it feels good. The moment you feel you ‘should’ get it in, you’ll have lost the practice. By creating rituals around the practice, it becomes more enjoyable and something to look forward to – like a retreat. Ideally I would recommend practicing mediation as you would any form of fitness – 3 – 4 times a week and building up a daily practice if it is something you feel you benefit from. You can mix it up just like you do with fitness – a longer guided meditation one day, followed up a shorter transcendental practice another. There are no rules.
Thanks to Minal Bhanshali for her wonderful tips on beginning the journey of self-care and wellbeing practice.
At IntelliCasa we have elegant and stylish solutions to compliment the most beautiful of homes . The ability to control your home at your fingertips is at the heart of everything we do and we pride ourselves in being the Home & Commercial Automation installation specialist that thrive to deliver the ultimate solution tailored to our client's needs, with market leading integration and control products delivered with a first class client focus.
If you're considering creating that little haven within your home or office, get in touch today and we can help co-create something special for you.
You can also start your new self-care ritual with scents that uplift and inspire, 7 Over 7 will be giving IntelliCasa subscribers 20% off the luxury candle collection, that have been designed with meditative practices in mind. Simply enter discount code CASA7OVER7 to claim your discount. Valid through August 31st 2020.
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