Meditation is a practice that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and well-being. In recent years, meditation has become increasingly popular as a way to reduce stress and improve mental health. So too, has taking CBD oil. And now we know that full spectrum CBD oil and meditation actually work together synergistically to create more mental peace and clarity.
Scientists discovered that CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids in CBD oil boost the endocannabinoid system, improving well-being and increasing balance in the body. And now, there is increasing evidence that practicing mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises also fires up the endocannabinoid system with similar results. Research has shown that using whole plant CBD oil alongside meditation can offer a host of increased benefits, including reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and increasing focus and concentration.
Christine Heilbron from Yoga Basics explains that using CBD oil together with practicing meditation helps by:
- Increasing our ability to concentrate – we focus on sensations and less on random thoughts.
- Stabilising and improving our mood – through the production of serotonin in our brains.
- Decreasing stress and anxiety – less worry and stress helps us to enjoy being present.
- Reducing pain and muscle soreness – improved range of motion and ability to sit still.
So if we take CBD oil before our meditation practice we may find that it is easier to drop into the present moment, as our minds are already a little bit calmer and more focused. And it’s a virtuous circle – the more we meditate and calm the mind, the more that CBD is able to increase that sense of calm and peace rather than just reducing anxiety.
Mark Dunn, founder of Bristol CBD and a mindfulness meditation coach says, “When I first took CBD oil I was amazed. I felt like I had just finished a 10 day meditation retreat. Taking CBD oil has made it easier for me to be present and to drop into mindful moments.”
CBD Oil and Meditation – Some Practical Tips
For many people, the idea of meditation conjures up images of monks sitting cross-legged on mountain tops. But the truth is, meditation is a practice that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. The most accessible form of meditation is simply the practice of focusing on our breathing. The key is simply to do it, even for just a minute or two a day.
For many busy people, the thought of setting aside even a few minutes for meditating and breathing exercises can seem impossible. But the truth is we do not need to find time to practice intentional breathing. We can focus on our breathing any time of day – while we are sitting in meetings, doing the washing up, or even while we are out walking. It’s simply about shifting our focus!
Seated Breath Meditation
We can practice seated breathing exercises at work, on the bus or at home – anytime we are sat still. Taking a few minutes to focus on our breathing, even with our eyes open, actually helps us to relax and unplug from the stress of the day. Here are a few quick and simple breathing exercises to try:
- Belly Breath – Sit up straight and place one hand on your stomach. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling your stomach expand. Then exhale through your mouth, feeling your stomach contract. Repeat 6 times.
- Extended Exhale – Relax back in your chair and take slow, deep breaths through the nose if possible. Inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of eight. Repeat 6 times.
- Box breathing – Inhale slowly for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and then exhale slowly for a count of four. Hold your breath out for a count of four. Repeat 6 times.
Each of these practices take less than 3 minutes to practice but we have found great benefits from simply remembering to do a few each day. We feel calmer, more at peace and less trapped in the dramatic stories that our minds can sometimes generate.
CBD Oil and Walking Meditation
We don’t have to be sitting still to practice breathing exercises. Walking outdoors is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, but we can also use it as an opportunity to improve our mental health. Just by adding a few simple breathing exercises and a few drops of CBD oil to our walking routine, we can help to calm our incessant minds as well as increasing lung capacity and improving overall respiratory health.
One breathing exercise that we use when walking is to focus on the feeling of our feet walking on the ground as we also focus on breathing through the nose. As we walk and breath we simply count to four in our head, like this:
“In, two, three, four” (during the inhalation)
“Out, two, three, four” (during the exhalation)
“In, two, three, four” (during the inhalation)
It’s a bit like a marching chant, but one in which we get to choose our own speed, rhythm and style. After a minute or two of mental counting, we often let go of the counting and just try to focus on the breathing and the walking sensations in our feet.
We may only do this meditation for a short amount of time before we lose focus on the breath and our mind wanders again. But whenever we notice that we are thinking there is an opportunity to step back into focusing on our breath and our feet.
Whenever we feel like it, we can just count the breath in time with our footsteps. The more we practice it, the easier it gets to step out of the thinking mind and back into a short breathing meditation.
In addition to helping with lung health, these breathing exercises can also help to reduce stress. Walking and taking CBD oil also have the added benefit of supporting the autonomic nervous system and further reducing stress. So why not try heading out for a walk, taking a few drops of CBD oil beforehand and setting the intention to add a few deep breathing exercises to the mix. Notice how you feel afterwards!
Practicing Breathing Exercises throughout the day
As well as practicing meditation when sitting down or walking, we have found there are ample opportunities to check in with our breathing throughout the day. With a little practice (and CBD oil), we soon found that we really enjoyed practicing the breathing exercises and have built them into more aspects of life.
We breathe consciously in the shower, while waiting for the kettle to boil or while doing some sit-ups. We also love taking short moments to connect with our breath while doing household chores, like washing up or making the bed. And, dare we say it, even intimate moments with our partners seem to improve when we practice being more present by connecting with our breath and focusing on the sensations of touch rather than getting stuck in thought.
CBD Oil and Meditation – Summary
In summary, CBD oil and meditation individually help to calm the thinking mind and allow us to step outside the endless dramas that our thoughts can conjure up. But when we combine the two together we find a deeper freedom and mastery of the mind.
CBD oil and meditation can be used together to promote relaxation and stress relief – taking CBD oil and then practicing mindful breathing for just a few minutes each day can bring a deeper sense of peace, calm, and self-control as well as improving respiratory health.
And the more often we interrupt the thinking mind with moments of presence and breath, the more we step away from emotions like anxiety, sadness, anger and guilt. These little moments of peace are more grounded in reality, not stuck in stressful stories.
From this more relaxed state, we find we’re better equipped to handle stressful situations when they do actually arise in real life…
For more information about mindfulness, meditation and positive thinking, please contact Mark Dunn via www.positivemeditation.com
For more information about CBD oil, please visit www.bristolcbd.co.uk.
For breathing apps we recommend Breathe (it’s free on Android and IOS), which you can use to time regular breathing (e.g. 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale) and, while you breath consciously for a minute, you can do something physical.
Further Reading: Breath by James Nestor