Ayurveda teaches meditation in dinacharya to build strength and balance and is recognized by many top health resources as a key daily practice. Meditation makes the habit list in Body Thrive. “Metaprograming” puts meditation in its top 5 keystone habits, and even Business Insider: lists it in the top 8 as a must haves.
“Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better, not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills. Over time, [meditators’] brains become finely tuned willpower machines.” Says Dr. Kelly McGonical in The Willpower Instinct. Western medicine is exploring mindfulness to help manage chronic pain and promote wellness. Dr. Jon Kabot Zin founded “Mindfulness based Stress Reduction” to help chronically ill patients move through pain. If your clients don’t meditate, a regular practice may seem far away.
How can you as their coach help get this started with the life changing practice?
When people have an established practice they have travelled from noisy and ahead of themselves, to delightful silence and presence, maybe even to bliss. In your wellness practice you can help clients close the distance, develop the discipline to sit, quiet their minds and build this wonderful health habit.
Establish a Meditation Practice Before You Need It
You don’t want clients waiting until an emergency.
I so appreciate that my practice was there like a life preserver when I most needed it. I was on vacation in Nevada when I suffered a detached retina. When they tested my vision and I couldn’t even see the nurse, never mind the letters on the eye chart. The tear was too severe for a basic laser repair. I was given the option to stay out west for up to six months or fly home for emergency surgery.
Home I went for surgery and a long recovery. I was given stern instructions that I had to hold still. Keep my head at a fixed angle for twenty three hours a day, for months with minimal eye movement allowed.
No yoga, exercise, TV, or reading permitted. I could listen and I could meditate. High correlation between holding still and healing meant I really needed to cultivate stillness and hold my head at the specified angle. It hurt, really hurt to hold still day after day. My world felt very small and uncertain.
Meditation became my refuge and Mantra my close friend. I practiced in silence and aloud fingering my mala beads. Guided meditation with mantra and chanting was on my frequent playlist. I designed my own statements to support healing my eye and my heart. The practice anchored me in positivity and extinguished my fear.
Get clients started – Share the healing power of mantra
Start by simply having a conversation about meditation as a practice and a regular habit. Meditation is not like a pill that you take and feel better. It is a practice that works if you work at it. Does it resonate for them?
If so, teach them or direct them to one of many free and paid programs online. If they are more of a self starter, there are some really helpful CDs and books. Sally Kempton’s Meditation for the Love of it and Beginning Meditation are wonderful resources. Most forms of this practice engage different senses to focus.
- Guided Meditation (listening to someone else)
- Appreciation (Gratitude Practice)
- Trataka (Flame Gazing), Pranayama (follow your breath)
- Mantra (repeat a spiritual phrase silently or a loud) are a few focus options to offer. Here are some example mantra chants.
Each person must meet themselves where they are and start to practice in a way that is natural. Mantra is a one way to ease in. A mantra is a spiritual word phrase or verse that can affect change through repetitive use. This is a meditation technique that narrows and uplifts focus. Get a starting mantra from a teacher or pick a specific mantra based on your learning path.
Why is mantra easy?
- You sidestep your normal mental chatter using a word or phrase.
- Simply speak it and listen.
- Mantra is flexible you can do it anywhere for any length of time.
- Pick your mantra to clarify your intention or support specific healing.
Find Your Mantra
Clients often need help to find the right words when they are getting started. Here are examples of very simple traditional mantra in Sanskrit and English that anyone can use to bring power to their practice.
Well known Mantra phrases
None of the above work for your client? Help them make their own.
Things to consider when creating your own mantra:
- Substantial – Mantra Mahavakyas (Serious Statements) or affirmations are serious tools to spur growth.
- Positive – I am spirit versus I am not just a body.
- Speak in the Present Tense – I am, I do, I feel, not I will.
- Resonant – The words should resonate. Create a vibration that lights your client up.
- Simple – They want to latch onto their Mantra and repeat it often during quiet time to have good effect. Simple and memorable helps this.
- Specific – Target what they want to shape and heal.
- Wording – Use the language that works; Sanskrit, Other or English, formal or casual.
Using these guidelines, have clients write down a few ideas. Relax and then repeat each aloud. Have them feel the vibration and tune in to align with what will work best. Ideally mantra is uplifting and makes you feel good. Cross out any options that go thud. Listen for what consoles and inspires to help fine tune this process!
I tried a bunch of different options. Here are two examples I used. “My vision is sharp and clear, my view of the world is bright and beautiful”, “I am whole, perfect, strong, loving, harmonious, healthy, and happy.”
Success for your client
There you have it. It’s also important to work with clients to get clear on their why as they are selecting or creating their mantra. Once they have a mantra that works for them the next step is to create the structure (time place trigger tools) to succeed. Check in with them be sure the habit sticks and watch the benefits roll in.
Mantra is a great way to help clients begin a meditation practice.
I credit Mantra with saving my sight and sanity as it helped me heal during one of the most challenging periods of my life.
Make friends with mantra in your own life and share the healing power of meditation with your clients.
Mary Sullivan MS, KRM, AYS is a writer teacher and researcher by education and experience. Mary is a long time member of the Yoga Healer Community. Mary helps people identify and implement daily practices, habits and paradigms that build their wellness and resiliency. She writes and teaches classes on lifestyle medicine for people with Lyme disease and other chronic illnesses. Mary began Dare to Self Care in 2013, as an outlet to help others. Follow Mary’s blog, Tweets and join her community on Facebook.