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Do not empty your mind

29 October 2019 by Dawn Mauricio, Meditation Teacher

A QUIET MOMENT — To offer an even more complete experience of relaxation, Strøm turned to Dawn Mauricio, a luminary in the world of meditation and yoga for over ten years, to design personalized guided meditation sessions. A conversation with an expert to learn more about the myths and realities of this practice, which is becoming increasingly popular in the West.

DISCOVERY

How did you discover meditation?

The first time I practised meditation seriously was in 2005 in northern Thailand. I was coming to the end of a four-month solo backpacking trip. During my journey, I had met several people who had spoken to me about their positive experiences with Vipassana meditation. At the time, I was already practising yoga regularly, and what I liked in my practice was the calm I attained by focusing my attention on the present moment. So, it was natural for me to turn to meditation.

IN EVERYDAY LIFE

How does yoga complement meditation?

I think the pace of today’s society is so frantic that sitting down, being still and suddenly being calm and Zen at the end of the workday or even the beginning of a busy day is quite difficult. Yoga is a good way to start slowing down. The end of a yoga session is, in my opinion, a great time to meditate because the body and mind are already in a state of calm, attentiveness and almost stillness.

What are the benefits of meditation?

In recent decades, countless studies have been done on meditation, which attribute mostly positive effects to it. This ancient 2,600-year-old practice is known to reduce stress, relax the nervous system, increase self-confidence, develop intuition and improve compassion and concentration.

GETTING STARTED

How can someone who has never meditated get started?

Meditation in itself is so simple that many people are unaware that they have probably already meditated in the course of their lives. It simply involves paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment, no matter what it is. You must not change, alter or judge the moment; simply be aware with a bit of curiosity.

A good way to start is observing your own breathing. For example, right now (or at the end of this sentence) take three deep breaths and, to the best of your ability, be mindful of every breath, how you feel between and at the very end of each one. What’s important in this experiment is not the time each of the breaths took or even how you felt—the important thing is the attention you devoted to the experience.

What do you think of the popular belief that, to meditate properly, you must think about nothing?

That’s a misconception! Mindfulness means observing the present moment without trying to change it. You should simply avoid getting carried away by thoughts and losing control. That’s easier said than done, of course, but as soon as you feel your mind wandering, remember to return to the present moment. In other words, return to observing your breath or sensations in the different parts of your body. The mind gradually becomes more peaceful, but the goal isn’t to try to “stop thinking.”

CREATION

What inspired you when creating the guided meditation sessions for Strøm?

In my creative process, I spent several hours enjoying the facilities, saunas and pools, as well as the relaxation rooms, to the point of taking a nap there! In each space, I paid special attention to the sensations in my body and my breathing. I wanted the meditations to be a complement, an experience that directly supports the experience Strøm offers. Being surrounded by nature also helped me a lot: my breaths were deeper, my thoughts clearer. Like the thermal circuit, nature has a calming effect that promotes mindfulness.

GIVE IT A TRY!

Strøm will offer guided meditations this fall in certain relaxation rooms. There will be 10- and 20-minute sessions in French and English.

Children can also give them a try!