Reading time – 17 minutes
Traditionally, meditation goes hand-in-hand with yoga. However, you don’t need to meditate to practise yoga, nor is the practice of yoga required to meditate; but the two practices can often be used to support each other. Through the practice of yoga, you can enhance both abilities to concentrate and relax, which are the two most essential requirements for meditation.
Some of us find it challenging to switch off from the outside world and may need a bit of help to relax and ‘turn off’, so to speak. Having something to distract us and focus on can help us slow down those racing thoughts. CBD mints could be just what you need to aid your meditation practice and support mental stillness.
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid extracted from hemp plants (a subspecies of cannabis Sativa). It is a natural compound found to potentially support overall health and wellness, with no nasty recreational cannabis-like side effects. THC, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid found in cannabis that results in a “high” when consumed. Hemp contains minimal THC, and so CBD products are generally considered safe, as they have only trace or zero THC content, and will not cause any intoxicating effects.
With CBD mints in mind, let’s learn about how we can go about finding some inner peace in our busy lives. Taking the time to meditate with CBD may be just what is needed to relax and achieve inner balance. First, we must learn: what is meditation, and is it as hard to practice as we may think?
What Is Meditation?
The dictionary definition of “meditation” means to reflect upon, ponder, or contemplate. The word “meditate” derives from the Latin “meditari”, which means ‘thinking about’ or ‘considering’. The root of the word is “Med”, meaning “to take appropriate measures.” In modern cultures, meditation can be interpreted in many different ways. For example, you might meditate on or consider a course of action regarding your career, or a new hobby that would require you to get out of your comfort zone. Listening to an emotional song or seeing a powerful documentary may move you to meditate on or ponder a moral issue.
In a spiritual, mindful, or yogic context, meditation is defined more specifically as a state of pure consciousness. It is the art of concentration and achieving inner peace. To withdraw from your senses can be a little tricky, and takes practice. When we are grounded mentally and physically, we are intensely aware of our senses- yet disengaged, at the same time. Without the ability to remain detached yet observant, it is not possible to meditate. Although you need to concentrate in order to meditate, meditation is more than mere concentration; it ultimately advances you into an expanded state of awareness.
When we concentrate, we direct our mind purely towards an object or subject apart from ourselves. We become familiar with this object, and establish a connection with it. To shift into the realm of meditation, we need to become involved with this object and communicate with it. The result of this exchange can lead to deep awareness. The knowledge that there is no difference between us (as the subject) and that which we concentrate or meditate upon (the object), tends to come naturally, if one meditates enough. In yogic terms, this is known as the state of self-realization (samadhi).
This state of self-realization may seem a little complex at first. A simple way to understand it is to compare it to the progress of a relationship. For example, we first meet someone (we make contact). Then, we start to develop a relationship by spending time together, listening to each other, and sharing experiences. In the next stage, we join together with this person to form a deep friendship, partnership, or legal union. The “you” and “me” become an “us”- it’s the same principle with meditation and yoga, coupling the mind, body, and object of your attention together as one.
According to Yogic literature, pain and suffering are created by the misperception that we are separate from nature. The realization that we aren’t separate may be experienced spontaneously, without effort. However, most of us need guidance, and the framework of meditation can help reconnect us to nature, and even our emotional selves.
Different Ways to Meditate
Just as there are several styles of yoga, there are many ways to meditate. Some like the ‘classic’ way of sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat, some prefer to walk in nature, and some people even meditate while they wash the dishes! The first step of meditation is concentrating on a specific object or establishing a point of focus. Your eyes can be either opened or closed. Try silently repeating a word or phrase. If you are feeling bold, you can recite or chant out loud, visualizing an image, such as a favourite place, or focusing on an object such as a lit candle. Simply observing or counting your breaths and noticing bodily sensations are also optional focal points.
The way you choose to meditate is personal to you, and what may work for your friend may not be the most effective practice for you. Discovering the best meditation method for you may take a bit of time and involve trying some different approaches. Here are a few examples of different ways to meditate to get you started on your journey:
- Sound –You could consider including a particular sound, phrase, or affirmation as a point of focus for your meditation. The word “mantra” comes from the term “man”, which means “to think.” “Tra” means “instrumentality”, so together, a “mantra” is an instrument of thought. Mantra has also come to mean “protecting the person who receives it.” Traditionally, a mantra could only be received from a yogi teacher who knows you and your needs. However, in recent years, as the practice of meditation has become distanced from religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and now many people choose their mantras for themselves.
The act of repeating your mantra is called “japa”, which essentially means “recitation”. Just as affirmations need to be stated with feeling and purpose, a mantra-based meditation practice requires conscious engagement. So, as the meditator, you will need to recite your mantra with thought and intention. If you find mantras a little short, you could try the more extended version (known as a chant). With chanting, you can encompass changes in pitch and rhythm.
On the opposite end of the sound meditation practice, there is the option to make the sound Om. This “one song” is interpreted as the seed sound of all other sounds, and is favoured by many meditators. It is a great starting point if you find chanting on your own a little awkward. You may also choose to use a ‘standing bowl’, which is used in many meditation practices in lieu of making a noise yourself- you instead pay attention to the gentle ringing of the bell as it fades away
- Imagery – Visualization can be a great way to get into meditation. It is a practice which many beginners find more favourable than sound, as it is less intimidating. Practising imagery meditation allows you to visualize anything you like. Some practitioners visualize natural objects, such as a tree or a beach.
Visualizing during meditation is also where chakras come in. For those of you unfamiliar with chakras, this term in yoga and meditation refers to your body’s theoretical energy points. Chakras in Hinduism are thought to be spinning disks of energy that should be open and aligned through meditation. They are believed to correspond to bundles of nerves, major organs, and areas of our energetic body that affect our emotional and physical wellbeing.
In more advanced meditation, some can focus on the chakras in their body. In this type of meditation, you focus on the area of the body corresponding to a particular chakra, imagining the specific colour associated with it. If chakras are not your thing, you can stick to any imagery that helps relax and free your mind.
- Gazing –This is another variant of using imagery during meditation. Instead of internally focusing on an image, you maintain an open-eyed focus upon an object, such as a candle or stone. This type of focus is referred to as “drishti”, which means “view,” “opinion,” or “gaze.” With gazing, the choices for your focus are limitless and individual to you.
If you are not sure where to start, candle gazing is a popular form of this method. Other options include focusing on an object in the room, a plant in the garden, or a picture on the wall. Any object you feel a connection with will do for visual meditation. You can use this technique with your eyes fully opened, or partially closed. If you choose to close your eyes slightly, it creates a softer, diffused gaze which may make meditation easier.
- Breathing – Using the breath as a point of focus is another widespread meditation practice. An excellent way to get started with focusing on breathing is by simply counting your breaths. Try not to change how you breathe, as ultimately meditating on the breath is to observe the breath as it is.
In the instance of meditation, the breath becomes the sole object of your focus. You perceive every nuance of the breath and each sensation it produces. Pay attention to how each breath moves in your chest and torso, how it feels as it flows in and out of your nose, its quality, its temperature, and so on.
Once you become fully aware of all these aspects of your breath, try not to dwell on them or pass judgment on them in any way. Your aim is to remain detached from what you are observing. What you discover about your breathing should be neither good nor bad, so attempt to allow yourself to be in the moment with your breath.
- Physical Sensations – Another way to meditate is to observe a physical sensation. You practice with the same detail as you would when watching the breath. However, in the context of physical sensations, you intensely focus on a particular feeling that draws your attention. This could be, for example, such as how hot or cold your hands feel.
Once you have become practised in this type of meditation, you may experience increased sensitivity and be able to focus on other points, like the strength of your spine or the suppleness of your body. You can also take a step towards observing a particular emotion, or any specific area of discomfort. Whatever you decide, try to make it your sole focus for the whole practice, so as not to switch from area to area (unless you are following a guided meditation that instructs you to do so).
Whichever way you choose to meditate, stay focused and be patient with yourself. Many beginners find observing a physical sensation more challenging than following their breath. For most beginners, chants, mantras, and visualizations offer more tangible ways to replace or calm the mind’s scattered thoughts. A busy mind is something many of us struggle to control during meditation, and, with the help of CBD mints, it could enable a more centralized focus.
With the distraction of the minty taste, we can focus on how it makes our body feel and enables us to observe one of the meditation practices listed above. CBD mints will not make you an instant meditation pro, but they could potentially calm your racing thoughts enough to start your practice.
Popular Meditation Postures
Now that we know the basics of different meditation types, what postures can we practice them in? Many of us associate meditation with the classic seated position known as the lotus pose. However, for those who are less flexible, this may be an uncomfortable meditation posture to use- the last thing you need when trying to concentrate on your breath is a pins-and-needles sensation in your leg! Here are some of the more popular meditation postures you can try, whether you are a flexible yogi or struggle to touch your toes.
- Sitting –Although it is possible to meditate and become fully absorbed in movement, a position of stillness through sitting is the most common posture. There are a few classic seated poses you can use, from the traditional cross-legged pose to the more advanced lotus pose. To feel more comfortable on the floor, try placing a cushion or folded blanket under your bottom to lift your torso slightly, and gently guide your knees down toward the floor. This can help support the natural lumbar curve of the lower back. There are even specialised meditation pillows available for exactly this purpose.
If sitting on the floor is not possible for you, a chair also works fine. Sitting on a chair is no less effective or spiritual than on the floor in a lotus pose. Many beginners find a chair is the best option for them. The most essential element to a seated pose is to ensure your spine is upright, and you feel comfortable.
Once you have found a seated position that makes you feel supported, relax your arms and position your hands on your lap or thighs. Then, put your palms in a comfortable position facing up or down- whichever feels most comfortable. Roll your shoulders back and then down, followed by gently lifting the chest. Try to keep your neck long, and the chin tilted down slightly. Depending on which technique you have chosen to follow, allow your eyes to be opened or closed. Your breathing should be natural and free; don’t overthink things too much.
- Walking – A form of moving meditation recommended by many meditation practitioners and an option you may well want to consider if you have trouble sitting still for too long. The challenge with this form is to consciously walk at a slow pace, with each step becoming your focal point. The destination, distance, and pace of your walking should all be incidental. Allow your arms to relax by your sides and move freely, matching your breath with your steps.
To get started with walking meditation, try breathing in for three steps and then breathe out for three steps. If you find this feels awkward or overly challenging, just breathe naturally. Although it is possible to practice walking meditation anywhere, choose a setting you particularly enjoy. This could be your favourite park, a woodland, or along a shoreline. The aim of walking mentation is not to physically get to a destination, but to enjoy the journey itself. It is about the act of walking as being your meditation.
- Standing –Opting for a standing meditation practice can be very powerful. Some practitioners find it builds spiritual, mental, and physical strength. This may seem surprising but standing for prolonged periods of time can be tiring. To start a standing meditation, stand with your feet hip-to-shoulder distance apart. Keep your knees soft and rest your arms by your sides. Ensure your whole body is aligned and in good posture.
The key to a healthy posture while standing involves a few simple steps:
- Roll your shoulders back and down
- Keep your chest open
- Elongate your neck (but don’t overly stretch)
- Allow your head to ‘float’ on top
- Keep your chin parallel to the floor
- Reclining – Although laying down is associated with relaxation and sleep, it can also be used for meditation in what is somewhat amusingly known as the ‘corpse pose’ (or, more spiritually, Shavasana). If you are not at risk of drifting off, give this pose a try. Start by lying down on your back with your arms gently placed by your sides, keeping your palms facing upwards. Put your heels together and allow the feet to fall away from one another naturally, so that the entire body is completely relaxed.
Your eyes can be open or closed, although most people find it less of a struggle to stay awake if they practice a reclining pose with their eyes open. This meditation posture is less physically demanding than the others, but it comes with other challenges. It requires you to be more focused and disciplined in being alert, so as not to fall asleep.
The Potential Benefits of CBD Mints and Meditation
There has been a lot of research into the possible benefits of meditation on the body and mind. An intense physiological and psychological change may occur when we meditate for sustained periods, causing an actual shift in the brain and the body’s instinctive processes. Some studies regarding experienced meditators have shown the potential for decreased perspiration, and a slower respiration rate (such as this paper from 2016). Meditation has also been accompanied by a reduction of metabolic waste in the bloodstream. Lower blood pressure and an improved immune system have also been observed by some research studies, as explored in one 2016 review.
Using an instrument called an electroencephalograph (EEG), which records mental activity, it has been revealed that the mind continuously moves from one thought to another during most waking activities. The EEG, accordingly, registers erratic and rapid lines categorized as beta waves. When the mind calms down through the practice of meditation, the EEG shows waves that are slower and smoother, classifying them as alpha waves. As meditation deepens, brain activity has been found to decrease further. The EEG then displays an even smoother, slower pattern of activity called theta waves.
Although the research is ongoing, meditation, at the very least, teaches us how to manage stress. By reducing stress levels, it can improve your overall physical and emotional wellbeing. Meditation and CBD mints may work hand-in-hand as they both potentially support the body and mind’s inner balance.
CBD has the potential to support our body’s natural balance (known as homeostasis). This balance is an essential part of maintaining a healthy body, and, due to the way that CBD may potentially interact with our endocannabinoid system, it may support homeostasis. By adopting the practice of mediation with CBD mints, you could possibly help ensure your body operates within a healthy state of balance.
How To Start Meditating With CBD Mints
Try a period of daily meditation with CBD mints. You can add it to the end of a yoga session or set aside a short block of time during your day. The essential thing is that you choose a time that works best for you and stick to it. As enticing as it may be to delve into an extended meditation session, do not do too much too soon, as you may become discouraged and stop meditation altogether. Meditation is essentially exercise for your brain; it takes time, repetition, and practice to build up the muscle.
To create consistency, meditate at the same time and place every day. Choose a quiet location that is enjoyable for you personally, and where you are unlikely to be disturbed. Traditionally mornings are considered the best time to meditate, as you are less likely to be distracted by the demands of your day. The morning is also a great time to take a dose of CBD, as it may support a wakeful mindset.
If you are not a morning person, an afternoon or early evening meditation session is just as good. CBD mints in the afternoon can be just what is needed to potentially supplement the extra energy that comes with a meditation session. Alternatively, CBD mints can be a part of your evening meditation practice and potentially relax the mind before bed in the evenings.
Whichever method and posture you decide, stick with them for the duration of your meditation period. Do not be discouraged if your thoughts begin to wander. As soon as you notice your mind becoming distracted, simply return to your chosen point of focus. If you find a particular method or posture unenjoyable, switch to a different approach next time. When you find what works for you, you will most likely want to maintain that practice indefinitely, along with your preferred CBD mint.
As with many new experiences, meditation may feel a little uncomfortable at first. Sitting still for 20 minutes can cause your legs to cramp up, or you may start to drift off. You may have profound experiences when you meditate the first few times, but then spend the next few days feeling frustrated trying to duplicate them. Do not let this put you off, however. Simply relax, let go of those expectations, and try incorporating a CBD mint into your next meditation practice. Together, they may help you feel achieve a state of focus and clarity.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.