The benefits of meditation have been well documented and many people use meditation (usually sitting meditation) to achieve one or more of the following:
- reduced stress,
- anxiety control,
- greater patience,
- more tolerance and acceptance,
- increased self-awareness,
- greater consciousness,
- more kindness and compassion,
- increased concentration,
- reduced memory loss.
For those who prefer to be left to their own devices, yet have specialist guidance or loving support on hand when required, the sacred place and space that is the Razès is there to give you just that.
Silent Meditation Retreats
For those who really want to benefit from a digital detox, learn how to become more mindful and find more joy and beauty in the world around you - all in a shorter time frame - then silent retreats offer these benefits and more. Auditory stillness helps us to find focus faster and, once free from the external stimulus of our own noise, our brains can better concentrate on the task at hand.
In other words, we find it easier to stop the mind chatter when we remain silent as it has the enormous added bonus of helping us stop judging and comparing ourselves and others, thus allowing us to find inner peace more deeply and quickly. This inevitably benefits our life in terms of improved relationships at work and home and you'll find that you can better handle the tough stuff when crises happen. Your brain may become more efficient and your mental health improves for the same reasons as outlined above. A silent retreat - for a long weekend or full 7 days - also makes mindfulness in every step, every action, and over every meal, easier to achieve and more pleasurable.
The core modules we offer draw on our specialist training, experiences and competencies. In addition to the commonly known forms of (sitting) meditation used to concentrate and/or focus the mind and/or induce deep contemplation, we also offer the modules and techniques outlined below. We may combine several of these in any given session where we feel it will enhance the beneficial outcome.
Walking and Standing Meditations
Walking meditation offers a healthy alternative to sitting meditation and, in addition to achieving the usual benefits of sitting meditation, walking meditation is also known to be as effective as antidepressant medications, improves sleep, uplifts moods, eases pain, and improves overall wellbeing. Unlike sitting meditation, this method has you engage all your senses in moving gracefully and mindfully through woods, around lakes or up hills, connecting with the natural wonders that you encounter and thus helping you become more mindful and appreciative of the beauty that surrounds you. Whether practising walking or standing meditation outdoors, spending time mindfully in nature gently helps you re-balance and heal the body, mind, and soul. We like to offer all forms of meditation so that you get to experience what works best for you.
Inner World Journeys
Many people find sitting meditation difficult and uncomfortable. Even the act of trying to empty the mind may be stressful for some and so we also offer guided meditations as an alternative route to harnessing all the benefits of sitting meditation with a little external assistance.
Our Inner World Journeys use a unique blend of deep imagery, Jung's theory of active imagination, the Eastern philosophy working on the basis that humans are a system of interrelated energies (chakras), and the Native American practice of speaking to and learning from animals. The Inner World Journeys help you explore your inner landscape and encourage you to meet and communicate with your spirit guides, if you so choose. This form of guided meditation shows you how to harmonise and re-balance your chakras using Dr ES Gallegos' technique of creating a personal totem pole of healing animals. The result? You gently and comfortably enhance and grow your personal sense of wellbeing through development of mindfulness, inner peace, and better self awareness.
Total Body Relaxation and Body Scanning
Body scanning is one of the most effective ways to begin a mindfulness meditation practice, the purpose being to tune into the body to reconnect with the physical self, noticing any sensations and feelings without judgement. This and total body relaxation are known to: decrease blood pressure, ease chronic pain and muscle tension, increase energy and mental health as the relaxation triggers a favourable parasympathetic response in the nervous system. With a little practise, both help you to tune in more easily to your body's signals and demands.
Affirmations, Mantras and Mudras
These all work to focus the mind (just as you would focusing on your breath or a candle), helping the mind become more calm and centred as it lets go of any inane mind chatter. They are also tools for transformation of consciousness. The teaching is that every sound and movement has an energy vibration to it which, when practiced in a sustained manner, is able to produce different states of mind and consciousness.
A mantra is commonly recognised as a sacred utterance or sound (like OM), a syllable, word or group of words (like Om Shanti) in Sanskrit and other languages that are believed to have religious, magical or spiritual powers.
Affirmations can be considered to be memorable phrases or statements (such as I AM a loving and compassionate person) designed to promote behaviour leading to a positive result. Consciously adding the Great I AM as precursor introduces a divine Presence (God, Universe, Creator or other according to your personal beliefs) to quieten the self-critical voice in your head, raise awareness of your limiting beliefs and shift your thoughts towards recognising your potential.
A mudra is a sacred and symbolic (usually) hand gesture found in yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism traditions used to increase concentration and positivity. Different gestures mobilise different parts of the body and are used for a beneficial impact usually in conjunction with yoga postures and/or mantras.
Mantras, mudras and affirmations are used to change mood, perceptions and attitudes (especially to the self) and thus help promote a greater sense of self-worth, self-respect, and self-love. They are all very helpful in increasing awareness and mindfulness in a person. Other benefits include:
- improved mood and well-being,
- reduced anxiety,
- less fatigue,
- improved visuospatial and verbal memory.
Breathwork works hand in hand with many forms of meditation, especially mudras. As with any form of meditation and/or mindfulness practice, the benefits of regular and correct practice:
- Strengthen the immune system,
- Improve the flow of vital forces in the body,
- Correct high blood pressure,
- Sharpen the vision and improve eyesight,
- Help in proper blood circulation in body,
- Relieve mental tension, anger, restlessness, and frustration.
In today's world most people experience stress at some point and find themselves consciously or unconsciously reduced to shallow breathing locked in the upper chest. This is not good for the mind, body or spirit and eventually health deteriorates as a result. Three-part breathing, for example, instantly helps you bring the breath back into and from the belly: a calm, happy, relaxation naturally ensues. Nadi Shodhana (or alternate nostril breathing) can also have a profoundly immediate impact on the mind, body and nervous system. Not only does the practice bring a larger supply of oxygen to the blood than regular breathing, but Nadi Shodhana also helps to soothe the nerves, still the mind, and balance the body's subtle energy field. Regular practitioners often affirm to finding inner peace more quickly and easily and enjoying better sleep as a result.
Three of a Kind (but not quite...):
Tonglen is an ancient form of mindfulness and Tibetan term that translates as “sending and taking”. The practice is based on compassion and essentially begins with becoming aware of the breath followed by sending a wish to establish beings in happiness and free them from suffering. As you inhale, you relieve all others (yourself included) of suffering and the distress and discomfort it brings. On the exhale you share love, light, peace and freedom from this suffering to everyone who needs it. You may for example wish to inhale belligerence and exhale peace, inhale materialism and exhale spiritualism, inhale envy and exhale appreciation, inhale excess and exhale abundance, inhale rigidity and exhale flexibility. The whole process is very soothing and a wonderful healing experience that anyone can practice anywhere, any time of day, for as little or as long as you need to restore internal harmony.
The Hawaiian practice of Ho'oponopono is known to help develop feelings of forgiveness, even after just one attempt. It has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure and reduce depression, anxiety and improve feelings of hope. In conjunction with focused breath work, the key steps are:
- Offering repentance – I'm sorry
- Asking forgiveness – Please forgive me
- Expressing gratitude – Thank you
- Demonstrating love – I love you.
Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving kindness meditation can also be used to boost well-being and reduce stress and those who regularly practice it increase their capacity for forgiveness, connection to others, self-acceptance, and self-love. There are various forms of loving kindness but the key phrases are well known and tend to follow the following to a lesser or greater degree:
May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May I be well. May I live with ease. May I find deep joy. May I be free of pain. May I be free from harm. May I be free of suffering.
In this meditation, one starts with oneself and then progresses with appropriate timing and feeling to sending the same sentiments next to a close loved one; then an emotionally neutral person you may know (your neighbour or a sales assistant in town); then on to someone you find difficult to deal with or have recently argued with; and ultimately to every living being on the planet. It may sound simplistic (and is!) but this technique is also very easy to practice and quickly benefit from personally in all your relationships and walks of life.
Self-Healing Energy Practices
For those interested in delving further into alternative self-healing and energy balancing techniques, introductory sessions are also available on working with: tuning forks, singing bowls, chakra balancing with crystals (and pendulums), and tapping. Each of these techniques may be used to restore balance and flow to disrupted energy in the physical and energetic bodies as they focus on bringing the physical body back into the parasympathetic (relaxation) state.
Journaling and Coaching in Soul-Writing
Writing helps us to express ourselves and our intentions more fully, communicate with greater clarity, become more focused, productive and better decision-makers. Through writing, we can develop a greater sense of awareness, generally learn more, be happier, deal with emotional and stressful problems better and work through them more easily. Writing is arguably one of the best cathartic tools available to us all. And yet, many people don't know where or how to start.
Everyone has their own story to tell - be it in note, poem or prose form - and so learning to write freely and for yourself is a great tool for self-expression, healing and development.This module is perfect then for the creative expressive seeking guidance on how and where to start, how to find inspiration, develop themes and even discusses publishing techniques. Whether you want to learn how to harness your musings and experiences in the written word through games, workshops and feedback or simply have the time, space and place to write on your own with occasional support as and when you feel the need, is entirely your choice. Writing for yourself is about stepping away from your regular everyday routine to learn how to bring characters, settings and stories to life in your unique way or simply to follow your soul's voice and write from the heart to release everything you ever needed to let go of in order to move forward in life.
Yoga Flow and Stretching
Yoga helps improve our flexibility, strength, and posture bringing about a better all round fitness and may even help some of us to shed a few unwanted pounds. Bringing attention to our breathing in each pose helps increase mindfulness, boosts energy levels and longevity, reduces stress and makes us feel happier and more peaceful within ourselves. As a form of meditation in its own right, yoga has all the associated benefits. For those who find sitting meditation uncomfortable, yoga is often an ideal way in which to bring focus to both our breathing and posture.
Over the course of your retreat, we can show you a simple 30 minute Hatha yoga flow routine - comprising both standing and sitting poses - to take home and practice daily to help you relax within the privacy of your own home. The routine has you fluidly and gracefully flowing through from one pose to the next with the outcome of balancing your energies and enhancing your sense of wellbeing. Practice yoga at a time that best suits you and you'll be giving yourself some much-deserved time out from what can often be an over-demanding and busy life.
Cost of Walking, Nature Therapy, Mindfulness and Meditation Modules
Modules of one hour duration are €10 each. Where sessions are two hours or longer (i.e. some walking and nature therapy modules), the cost per module is €20.