Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time. This can be done in silence or with the help of chanting, by immersing yourself in a sound bath or by gentle and mindful movements or actions and is done for a number of reasons, ranging from religious or spiritual purposes to a method for evoking relaxation.
What was second nature to us many lifetimes ago, stopped being practiced and nowadays in our modern, hectic world, meditation has gained traction again in recent years as a way to manage stress. Scientific evidence has also emerged that shows meditation can be a helpful tool in fighting chronic illnesses, including depression, heart disease, and chronic pain.
There are many different forms of meditation and at Enhale and in the following pages we will explain what they are: (please do note that we are constantly adding and updating our offerings, so there may be some that are not listed in here)
It is important to remember that there is no “right way” to meditate, meaning people can explore the different types until they find one that works for them.
Fast facts on types of meditation:
Mindfulness meditation is the process of being fully present with your thoughts. Being mindful means being aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not being overly reactive to what’s going on around us.
Rather than dwelling on the past or dreading the future, mindfulness encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings. Crucial to this is a lack of judgment. So, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment.
Mindful meditation can be done anywhere. Some people prefer to sit in a quiet place, close their eyes, and focus on their breathing. But you can choose to be mindful at any point of the day, including while you’re commuting to work or doing chores, whilst waiting in line at the grocery store, for example, a person might calmly notice their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they experience.
When practicing mindfulness meditation, you observe your thoughts and emotions but let them pass without judgement. It takes time to practice this as it is completely normal to follow your thoughts. But with a regular practice, it becomes easier with time.
Because mindfulness is a theme common to many forms of meditation, it has been extensively studied.
Research has found that mindfulness can:
• reduce fixation on negative emotions
• improve focus
• improve memory
• lessen impulsive, emotional reactions
• improve relationship satisfaction
The practice of yoga dates back to ancient India. There are a wide variety of classes and styles of yoga, but they all involve performing a series of postures and controlled breathing exercises meant to promote flexibility and calm the mind.
The poses require balance and concentration and practitioners are encouraged to focus less on distractions and stay more in the moment. Nowadays yoga has been offered mostly as a form of a work out, but the basic practices are still focused on meditations.
At Enhale we focus on three types of Meditative Yoga:
Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep, is a profound relaxation/meditation that heals the body and mind by completely relaxing the nervous system. While resting on your back and guided by easy-to-follow instructions, you will be led into a profound state of relaxation, becoming systematically and increasingly aware of your inner world. A transformative process, Yoga Nidra allows you to access to your subconscious mind and opens the door to your inner world allowing insights to come forth. The regular practice of Yoga Nidra has been found to reduce chronic tension and anxiety and helps to heal all stress related conditions. Expect to emerge rested, refreshed and clear.
Yin Yoga, a less known style of yoga in the west is an approach that some may have never even heard of. Initially called “Daoist” yoga this style of yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body (vs. the superficial tissues) and the fascia that covers the body; this Daoist yoga is to help regulate the flow of energy in the body.
In Yoga postures are more passive postures, mainly on the floor and the majority of postures equal only about three dozen or so, much less than the more popular yang like practices. Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone. While yang-like yoga practices are more superficial, Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation,
It is a more meditative approach with a physical focus much deeper than Yang like practices. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia and many of the postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, spine).
Yin yoga teaches you how to really listen, you don’t get the opportunity to go in and out, jump around and find a distracted version of stillness within your practice. Yin is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life, because it brings long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Yin and Yang theory, Yang qualities of mind are connected with our ability to direct our attention, control our focus, and create specific outcomes. Yin qualities of mind, on the other hand, relate to our capacity to be receptive, to allow, and to become reflective.
Yin meditation helps you cultivate fluid stillness. It encourages you to ride the waves of your experience. By being more receptive and interested in the totality of your experience while practicing, you gain greater insight and understanding about your inner world. Instead of banishing thoughts and feelings from your mind, you gently explore your thoughts and feelings with kindness and interest. This cultivates an understanding about yourself that allows you to step outside of your conditioned patterns of reactivity and engage with things from a responsive place that is unconditioned by the past. By being more receptive—less resistant—to whatever is happening, the mind tends to grow calm on it’s own. The classic metaphor for this is a basin of agitated water left undisturbed. Sooner or later, the surface of the water will become smooth and still. In other words, by doing nothing, the mind becomes still.
Pranayama (prana = energy + yama = control) is a type of meditation technique that involves various ways of controlling the breathing, with the goal being to withdraw ones senses from the outside world. This helps one to raise one’s prana (or Kundalini energy in this case) up the deep spine to the spiritual eye or sixth chakra, which brings one to enlightenment.
Pranayama is an integral part of yoga. The controlled breathing enables both the rhythm of performing yoga poses and relaxing the mind for meditation
Pranayama and meditation will enhance every aspect of your life. It will greatly benefit your yoga practice because more awareness of our breath expands the quality and experience of our yoga practice. But, most importantly, pranayama and meditation will significantly improve the quality of your life: the way you lead your life and the manner in which you respond to life! These practices will deepen your connection to Spirit and manifest abundant happiness and peace in your life. Think of pranayama and meditation as food for the brain that nourishes our brains to be healthy, vibrant and at ease.
Breathwork is an active, guided meditation that clears the body of stuck energy and releases suppressed emotions. This breathwork technique is a cathartic, somatic experience that allows us to tap into a deeper level of the subconscious to reveal inner truths and shine light on that which has been hidden or buried deep within us.
Conscious breathing is a doorway to our intuition. Breathwork healing naturally activates respiration, energizes, cleanses and reconnects the body to a state of maximum balance on a mental, emotional and spiritual level. The flood of oxygen increases self clarity by calming the central nervous system
Unlike meditation, where we are aware of the mental chatter, Breathwork is an active, efficient, effective technique that will allow you to disconnect from the mind, enter a different state of consciousness, and bring you to a deeper state of connection to yourself.
A sound bath uses bowls, gongs, and other instruments to create sound vibrations that help focus the mind and bring it into a more relaxed state, as it works on the subconscious mind.
Participants will lay down whilst wearing their normal clothes and are “bathed’ in vibrational sound waves that help to relax and heal the body.
Sound baths can not only provide deep relaxation and the best night of sleep you’ve ever had, they can also help you feel more grounded and even help alleviate anxiety, PTSD and pain.
Using sound for healing may sound weird, but it’s not actually new at all. Its history can be traced a back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, Australia’s Aborigines and Greek philosopher Pythagoras, the “Father of Mathematics” who utilized sound to treat mind and body ailments. Historically, sound has been used in various cultures for healing and wellness, from music and chanting to drumming and gonging.
In a sound bath, participants typically lay in a comfortable position on the floor and a sound healer typically plays gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, didgeridoo and other instruments.
The experience is incredibly relaxing, and the sounds transport your mind and take it on a sensory journey, similar to the way a movie soundtrack does. Sound baths can be something of a way to force your brain into a meditative state, which can be incredibly helpful for people who have difficulty meditating.
As the sounds pour over you, you may drift off into a state like sleep or dreaming.
Gongs are considered to be a good luck charm. Touching a gong is believed to bring a person happiness, good health, and strength. In India it is believed that the sound of a gong created the worlds, and was the primal sound of OM.
The Gong produces a strong sound wave, almost tangible to the touch. This invigorates the physical body by influencing the surface of the skin and every cell.
On a physical level, the gong releases tension and blocks in the body. It stimulates a higher functioning of the glandular and nervous system. This increases prana which is our vital life force and improves circulation.
The sound of a live gong activates circulation while its wide range of frequencies trigger restoration of nerve endings and may prove useful in recovering from injuries in which nerve damage has occurred.
Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowls, are ancient bowls that produce sound and vibration when played with a mallet or striker.
Singing bowls are generally made from an alloy of various metals which include copper, silver, iron, tin, lead, or gold.
There are many different kinds of singing bowls. In fact, some researchers have identified as many as 50 different styles of singing bowls.
Generally speaking, older bowls can be distinguished by their shape, markings, metal thickness, as well as the tone produced. Each singing bowl will produce a different sound that is aligned to a different part of the body or to the different chakras.
For private sessions, they will be strategically placed around different parts of the body that requires the healing so that the specific sound waves travel to where they will promote healing.
The effects of this treatment can be felt for the days to follow a session.
Crystal singing bowls are made of clear quartz crystal. The energy of crystal quartz is clearing & energizing.
Clear quartz heals by clearing out blocked energy that is stuck in a person’s energetic structure. Quartz “loosens” up stagnant energy so that it can rejoin the energy flow.
Clear quartz also energizes. It is a conduit & provides a strong and clear channel for energy to come in and leave a person’s energetic structure.
Each bowl is a different color, the color of each chakra. Color is a wave, just like sound vibration. Each color has a different frequency. Red – Root Chakra; Orange – Sacral Chakra; Yellow – Solar Plexus Chakra; Green – Heart Chakra; Blue – Throat Chakra; Indigo – Third Eye Chakra; Violet – Crown Chakra.
Similarly as the Tibetan Singing Bowls, chakra crystal singing bowls bowls are tuned to specific musical notes which correspond to the chakras, when a bowl attuned to a chakra is played it works to balance that chakra & remove stagnant energy from that chakra. Crystal singing bowls are one of the most powerful chakra balancing tools available because of this.
Channeling involves consciously shifting your mind and mental space in order to achieve an expanded state of consciousness. By channeling your higher self, you’re able to diverge from the physical plane and gain access into the spiritual plane.
The goals of channeling and mindfulness may seem similar at first glance, but in fact they are quite different. Channeling is about setting a goal – communion, knowledge, healing, etc. – and looking for answers in another dimension of reality or the psyche.
A few of our coaches do energy meditations. This can be in the form of Qi, Reiki or Universal Energy. What happens in these sessions is that the participant will be guided through a body scan, or a breathing sequence and at the same time, the coach will send healing energy through the room. As their energy connects to yours, this will awaken and activate your innate ability to heal and balance your body and mind. It starts with a detox and relaxation and ends with positive visualization. You will feel refreshed, recharged, and relaxed after the meditation.
Reconnect with your inner creativity through mindfulness-based art. This session uses different mediums of arts to observe, reflect and listen. Techniques covered may include drawing, coloring, cutting, collages, writing and sharing. You will also find Mindful Calligraphy to be a form of an art meditation.
The creative experience will help you connect to your deeper dimensions, finding your inner resources and new insights. No art skills required to be expressive.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
This is a practice that even kids can learn. For them it will be taught in a different way than with adults, and there is movement and play involved in their sessions.
Habits formed early in life will inform behaviors in adulthood, and with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to give our children the habit of being peaceful, kind and accepting.
Start off your day wonderfully with a sunrise hike and Qi meditation. Start at the meeting point on the intersection of Hatton and Conduit Road. From there, enjoy a guided mindfulness hike up the peak, followed by a 25 minute guided meditation. Hong Kong has never looked so beautiful.