Beautiful Because spoke with meditation guru Carolyne Gowan, who founded Still Your Mind, Primordial Sound Meditation classes based in Sydney, to find out more about how this ancient practice can improve not only your stress levels, but which has anti-ageing benefits too, having been linked to an increase in production of the beauty hormone melatonin.
I discovered meditation when I worked on the launch of Marie Claire in 1995. I was working 24/7 and totally stressed and exhausted. A friend told me about a meditation course she had just attended. My body started to tingle and I knew I had to go too. It totally changed my life and I have been meditating ever since.
There are all different types: mantra, guided, heart, mindfulness, walking, open eye, breathing, Buddhist and many more. The one that feels right will open up for you. I practice Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Meditation which is Vedic mantra meditation. A mantra is a sound or vibration that has no particular meaning but helps to stop the internal dialogue in your head. It has a soothing effect on your nervous system.
The mantras I give out are based on the sound of the universe at the time you were born. Deepak Chopra worked with the Vedic masters in India and they realised that the sound of the universe changed four times a day. We look at where the moon is in your chart at the time you were born and that is how your mantra is recognised.
What is your advice to those who want to meditate but don’t know where to begin?
I would start looking at different types of meditation and see what feels right for you. Start looking on the internet for what is available. Maybe go to some drop-in classes. The right one for you will jump out at you.
Thoughts are a natural part of meditation – they will always come and go. I like to focus on a mantra as it takes your attention away from the level of the mind, so you can slip beyond thought, to the gap between your thoughts. This is where you find the stillness, the nothingness, the void. Once you have been here you bring peace, love and happiness into your life. When thoughts come back in, go back to repeating your mantra.
The most important thing when you meditate is to be comfortable. You don’t want to be sitting down thinking your legs, back or arms are hurting, because then you are thinking. The whole point of meditation is to stop the thinking process. Sit where you are most comfortable – on a chair, in bed, on a cushion, in the park, on a beach – wherever. It is your choice if you would like to cross your legs.
The meditation course is four sessions over three weeks. You will:
The practice of meditation makes you calmer, more relaxed, positive, motivated and energised. This is because it increases serotonin and thickens the left pre-frontal cortex of your brain which are both responsible for happiness. It also has a powerful effect on your physiology by decreasing your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and the stress hormone cortisol. It boosts your immunity with the release of melatonin and other good hormones.
Meditation is a youth serum that helps you look younger by increasing the hormone melatonin, a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant, with one of its many benefits being that it slows cell damage. Dr Elizabeth Blackburn found it also promotes an enzyme called telomerase which helps to build up telomeres which play a key role in the ageing of cells. As meditation has such a positive effect on your wellbeing, this in return makes you look younger.
Yes, I experience evidence of this all the time. A lot of my students work in high pressure corporate jobs. As they become more calm and relaxed, they respond effectively to problems/ work pressures instead of reacting emotionally to them. As a result, this gives them more time in the day to be effective at work instead of wasting time becoming stressed or worrying about a problem.
For some people it is immediate, for others they have to practice a few times to see some results. I once had a student who only slept 2-3 hours a night. She was totally stressed, anxious and exhausted. She has tried everything and was almost to the point of no return. The first night she came to my meditation class, she slept for 5 hours that night. She now sleeps approx 7 hours every night and she can’t believe how much her life has changed.
For maximum results, meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. As we live in such a hectic, fast- paced 24/7 world, if you are only meditating once a day, you will still see positive results.
You can incorporate meditation into your work routine:
You can incorporate it into your exercise regime:
My favourite natural beauty product is pure 100% jojoba oil from The Jojoba Company. I use it three times a day – in the morning before I exercise and after my morning and night shower. Jojoba is a wax, not an oil and has the same molecular structure as sebum in human skin. When you place it on your face, your body thinks ‘this is mine’ and absorbs it all.
I run during winter and swim during summer. I live opposite Redleaf Pool so I feel very blessed in summer.
I take health supplements and herbs. I see a naturopath and I truly believe they help your body to work to its maximum potential. I eat a lot of fresh food and vegetables each day. I eat an abundance of greens both at lunch and dinner. I still eat meat, however, I have considerably cut it down. I am eating a lot more pulses and quinoa for my protein. I make a great Quinoa Salad!
Combine all ingredients and serve.
To find out more about Carolyne's Deepak Chopra’s Primordial Sound Meditation visit stillyourmind.com.au
By Nina Weston