How to Ease Into Meditation and Cultivate the Countless Benefits of This Mindfulness Practice

Our meditation experts in South Beach and Toronto share digestible tips, so you can infuse a sustainable mindfulness practice into your daily routine.

Published on: May 16, 2022

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Sound Bath

May is Meditation Month, and what better way to learn about this healing mindfulness practice than through captivating Q&A sessions with our meditation experts. As they explain the benefits of meditation, the various techniques, and easy on-the-go tools, we invite you to sit back, relax, and simply take it all in.

You can use this article as an opportunity to simply be, taking note of your current state, and using the below advice to release stress in your mind, tension in your body, and expectations from the world around you. After all, mindfulness begins from within, and you have the power to activate it—and reap all the rewards of it—at any given moment. 

Looking for a guided meditation experience near you?  Check out our full events calendar HERE to attend one of our events.

Interview with Dr. Lindsay Bira, Clinical Health Psychologist, who hosts a variety of meditation events at 1 Hotel South Beach.

What are the benefits of meditation?
There are many! Meditation is a brain exercise that allows different parts of the brain to work together. These parts get stronger with practice and lead to major health benefits. The brain is fascinating! Once we understand how it works, we can make it work better for us. That’s where meditation comes in.
 
Meditation, a mind-body practice, brings measurable benefits to the brain for our emotional and physical health. Research shows that meditation helps us focus certain parts of our brain to quiet our mind and calm our nervous system. Specifically, research shows that meditation trains the amygdala, the fear and stress center in the brain, to be less active. With consistent practice, you are better able to control your thoughts, think flexibly about a stressor (one of the best abilities we can develop), increase awareness and connection with yourself, enjoy the things you have right now, and experience positive emotions more often and more easily. Physically, you are able to significantly lower your heart rate and blood pressure and even improve your sleep.  
 
This science is solid. Harvard researchers and many more have been able to test the wide array of benefits using MRI and CT scan technology, showing measurable changes in the brain. It is now a recommended practice for any high-performing professional, especially leaders, and can be seen written about widely, like this article in Forbes. If you have a medical condition aggravated by stress (pretty much all of them), meditation can help in reducing inflammation and improving skills for the management of discomfort or pain.  

Do you have any tips for how people can incorporate meditation into their everyday routine?
Absolutely. Here is a three-week plan to make sure you’re building a practice that you will enjoy AND be able to maintain so that you can get those benefits:

  • Week 1: Start with a small mindfulness meditation daily.  Set your timer for five minutes a day (yes, only five minutes!), sit up straight, and simply close your eyes.  Take slow belly breaths, and observe all your senses and thoughts without judgment. Anything goes.  
  • Week 2: Set the timer for ten minutes daily. This week, focus on only one of your senses – the sensation of your breath as you breathe deeply and slowly use your diaphragm (“belly breathing”). Distractions are normal – continue to go with the ebb and flow of it all. 
  • Week 3: Set the timer for 15-20 minutes daily. Repeat Week 2 with the focus on your breath.  Begin to see yourself as separate from your mind and your thoughts, so that as they come up and try to distract you, you are observing them with some distance and are more easily able to come back to your breath. The more you practice, the bigger these quiet spaces get and the more your awareness and control grow.  

Do you offer meditations online or via social media, and where can people find you?
I sometimes hold pop-up meditations on my Instagram Live, which is always fun! Mostly I offer meditation training through my Ocean Oriented retreats and record custom audios for my 1:1 clients. You can also find me regularly partnering with @1hotel.southbeach on a variety of mindfulness and wellness programming. Follow me on IG @drlindsaybira, or visit my website (drlindsaybira.com) to stay up-to-date on future events!  
 

Interview with Luciana Santaguida, Wellness Expert and Meditation Leader at 1 Hotel Toronto.


How much time should one take to meditate to see the benefits?
If meditation is new to you, start small. Anything is better than nothing. Five to ten minutes a day can create a shift. Remember there is no right or wrong. Try to stay open and do your best. 
 
Can meditation be done while traveling or on the go?
Absolutely. Meditation can be done anywhere and everywhere. You are in the driver's seat so anytime you create space for it, you can do it. If you ever have down time in the airport, on the plane, en route with a driver, etc., put your headphones on and listen to a guided practice.
 
How can attending a meditation class be helpful vs. doing a self-guided meditation?
A class environment with a teacher can provide you with more support and inspiration to continue or learn new styles. Self guided work requires your 100% dedication and motivation to stay focused and complete the practice. Both are useful to an individual at different times.
 
Do you offer meditations online or via social media, and where can people find you?
I offer classes and events both in person and online! You can find me at my instagram @lucianawithlove or join my newsletter for events and healing music by emailing me [email protected] 

To minimize the use of plastic in your own life, look around your home and work to identify plastic items. From there, seek to find alternatives.