With the rise of self-care practices and a deeper understanding of the importance of mental health, mindfulness has become a word often heard in articles, methodology books, schools, and even (increasingly) in the medical field. According to Professor Mark Williams, of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, mindfulness is simply ‘knowing what is going on inside and outside of ourselves’. Which, as it turns out, can be pretty hard to do.
The Importance of Meditation
One effective and well-established way to achieve a better sense of mindfulness is to regularly meditate. Regular meditation has proved to be as healthy for the body as it is for the mind. This comes as no surprise, especially when you consider the blooming research telling us that there’s a strong correlation between a healthy mind and a healthy body. As research into the mind-body connection has become more advanced, statistics show that regular meditation can potentially lower anxiety levels by 60%, can relieve insomnia by 75%, and helps to lower blood pressure by 80%. The practise of meditation is often thought to be one of the best ways to non-medicinally help symptoms of depression and anxiety, uplift mood, and remain calm in stressful situations.
And you might be glad to know that meditation isn’t quite the quintessential image of a full-bearded yogi in the Himalayan snow, legs twisted in a complicated lotus, arms ramrod straight floating a few inches above the ground. Nor does meditation require a clinical detachment from emotions, thoughts, and feelings; like a steel-coloured tinman. The practice of meditation literally entails rumination of something in great depth- ‘to become meditative’ means to think introspectively. Simplified, meditation consists of contemplating what you need to contemplate, simply observing inner thoughts and feelings, without actually becoming affected by them, and eventually learning to lead life by observing and not reacting straight away to your emotions, which can often be out of your control.
More on this later on in the article, but long story short: you can meditate in any position or posture, anytime you need it and in any way which suits you. Meditation is a flexible, bespoke, full-bodied practice, with little to no side-effects (when done correctly), and it has the potential to shift your entire perspective.
CBD, Meditation, and The Importance Of Rootedness
So, how does CBD fit into the realm of mindfulness and meditation?
Here at MANTLE, we have long-admired the established balancing nature of CBD. There is something extraordinary that comes over us when placing drops of CBD oil into your drink and letting the warm mixture you’ve created balance and centre you as you slowly sip. This has a balancing effect on the mind, which relies on the comfort of routine to remain stable and rooted. In fact, if we truly want to link the impact that taking CBD every day might have on balancing and centring us, we can think of taking a daily dose of CBD every morning as a form of meditation.
At the core of self-care and mindfulness is the act of sticking to a routine. Routine helps to keep us rooted to daily life in an instrumental way. See, when our bodies adhere to a routine, it helps to stabilise our minds in a fundamental way. Meditation, itself, must be an integrated part of our regular routine for us to reap the full rewards from it. In the same way, a daily dose of CBD into one’s coffee or tea in the morning may be as balancing as taking ten minutes out of the day to meditate. Most similar acts of self-care need a routine for rewards to genuinely manifest, and meditation (especially when it includes CBD) is no different.
The Root Chakra
Ancient Indians believed that there are seven core chakras in the body; a series of energy centres which control mood, behaviour, functionality and are, essentially, life-forces. The practice of yoga relies heavily on the balancing of these seven theoretical energy centres, where asanas (yoga poses) and pranayama (breathwork) are used to effectively stimulate, unblock, balance, and harmonise these chakras for essential function. A lot of mindful practice really ties back to the practice of yoga. While the practice of yoga and belief in chakras are not essentially tied (particularly as yoga has become increasingly Westernised), it is good to know and understand the underlying traditions behind yoga and mindfulness as a whole. The connection between mindfulness and yoga really solidifies when we consider that many yoga practices finish with the final pose as savasana, corpse pose, which involves a person lying down on their back in total silence, essentially meditating, as a way to complete the practice.
We can say, then, that yoga is an essential form of mindfulness. It begins with exercising the body to calm the mind, and ends with savasana, meditation, which relies on calming the body to exercise focusing the mind. The very word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’ or ’yoke’ in Sanskrit- it facilitates this union between the mind and body. Indian mystic Sadhguru puts it best when he claims that ‘yoga is to expand the boundary of your sensation in such a way that you experience the whole universe as a part of yourself. Everything becomes one. That is union’.
In the same way, the connection between mindful practice and mental health is, in itself, a union. We connect daily physical routines to the brain, just as yoga combines the physical with the inner self. Everything is connected; everything is symbiotic.
This sense of union between body and mind is best-represented in how each chakra impacts the mind. The one we’re going to focus on is the first core chakra, known as the ‘Muladhara,’ or Root chakra. This chakra is thought to reside in the lower region of the body, right at the base of the spine and pelvis. Mentally, the root chakra is said to control confidence, groundedness, and our overall internal sense of safety.
The root chakra is said to be the most primal force of energy within us. At the beginning of life, we develop gradually from a foetus into an infant, and subsequently a child, then an adult. Likewise, our basic needs adapt into other things. These basic needs can transform into emotional needs and requirements, such as needing to feel loved, fulfilled, or satisfied in specific ways individual to one’s own personality. In other words, our basic needs can adapt or develop according to who we are. For most of us, little bespoke rituals can fulfil many of our basic needs via repetitive and comforting motions which help to provide fulfilment and regular feelings of satisfaction. This is said to encompass root chakra fulfilment.
Daily Ritual and The Root Chakra
Back to what we were discussing earlier, the sense of rootedness which accompanies regular routines, rituals and habits (it goes without saying that these regular habits should be healthy habits for the body and mind- we, at MANTLE, do not promote unhealthy, addictive behaviour!) can be fundamentally stimulating to the root chakra. These healthy daily practices, ones in which we actively do in order to better ourselves, can give us a sense of wellbeing and peace. So, according to yogic beliefs, this is why we find comfort in rituals- we are actively stimulating the root chakra.
CBD and Meditation For Your Root Chakra
Aside from reaping the reward of ritual, daily CBD use can balance the mind, the same as yoga can act as if it is stabilising the root chakra for groundedness. Alongside this, daily meditation can also balance and centre the mind, helping to stabilise the root chakra. Combining the two practices of yoga and taking CBD can give you a potentially more centred and balanced mind.
As stated above, there’s no perfect way to mediate. However, there are many benefits to meditation first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. Morning meditation can have you fresh and ready for the day ahead, while evening meditation can prepare you for a long and restful night’s sleep. Both morning and evening meditative practise can bring balance to your body in a range of different ways- especially if you slip a drop of CBD oil under your tongue before you start, and mindfully enjoy its robust flavour. While engaging in mediation, a great way to ensure you’re focusing on the root chakra is by centring all your attention on your lower back and pelvis while envisioning the colour red. It can also help to sit or lie on the ground to feel more, well, grounded. Aside from this, the process of chanting lam, breathing in and out slowly, or following a guided meditation practice may all prove useful.
However, these are just suggestions for enhancing the focus on the root chakra. It’s important to note that the practice of meditation can also be incorporated into a range of different ways that don’t just have to involve a seated or prone pose, or indeed the chakras at all! Mediation can be done just about anywhere, in any posture, by people of any faith. Some people find they meditate best during energetic bursts before/after exercising or yoga, so that the body is occupied to such a degree that the mind can stabilise itself. You might conversely find yourself able to meditate the best when you’re about to fall asleep or in the bath. Since meditation prioritises calming the mind and honing awareness on your inner emotions, thoughts and feelings, you can pretty much meditate anywhere you’re comfortable.
CBD can be a balancing accompaniment to your meditation, both before and after, according to what suits you the best. Since CBD can potentially aid in harmonising the mind, taking a few drops before your meditative practice might centre you to a greater degree, giving you that boost of clarity in your mental image, or just easing you into a state of mental balance.
Incorporating CBD Into Other Mindfulness Routines
If meditation doesn’t suit you (for whatever reason that is) don’t despair- you’re far from being alone. If you can’t wrap your head around chakras and pranayamas, there are other avenues to achieve mindfulness. You have the privilege of accessing mindfulness in a range of different, daily practices which suit you. In fact, as mentioned above, many journals and snapshots of science have provided us with a wealth of heartening evidence to show that any act which involves engaging in a healthy routine is a form of mindful practice. This could involve taking a few drops of CBD oil before your morning yoga or spin class, a weekly pottery class, journaling before bed, a relaxing daily shower or even putting on your outfit for the day: all these things are the building blocks for a mindful lifestyle.
Here are some great ways to incorporate CBD into some simple self-care routines:
CBD drops into your coffee or tea
Dropping CBD into your morning coffee or tea may seem understated, but can be incredibly important. The act of brewing tea or preparing coffee can be a part of self-care in its own right, an enjoyment shared by millions over the world, echoed by ancient ancestors in a range of different countries. With or without the balancing effect of CBD, the act of preparing and imbibing a hot drink of your choice is an act of self-care in its own right. And adding a daily dose of CBD? It’s the perfect combination to help you find balance and take care of yourself.
Fresh air and a vape
If you have a CBD vape, you might find your daily dose of respite in the form of a walk with your vape pen, enjoying the range of flavours of CBD vape oils available to you. Even without the CBD, taking in fresh air by simply stepping outside for your lunch break or taking time out to walk around your neighbourhood may be the perfect way to feel restored.
A CBD-infused bath or shower
It goes without saying that bathing or showering is one of the more satisfying ways to feel restored and calm- balneotherapy, also known as the ritual of bathing one’s anxieties away, can be extremely soothing for both the muscles and the mind. If it’s a bath you seek, a range of CBD-infused salts can transform your soak from soothing to centring, adding an extra dimension of balance to your bath time experience. If you prefer to shower, CBD shower gels or moisturising creams for your skin can also balance and centre you in much the same way. With the aid of hot water, CBD and steam to balance any states of unbalanced faculties you may have, soaking yourself to wellbeing can be a truly fantastic way to incorporate mindfulness into your washing routine.
CBD In Your Daily Life
This article has discussed the various ways that CBD can assist other forms to achieve a more mindful life, but CBD’s potential to centre is an excellent form of mindfulness. Simply put, the very act of incorporating CBD into a daily routine is, itself, a mindful practice. However, layering your mindful practices can be a satisfying way to enjoy and revel in every moment of your life, from that first cup of coffee in the morning, to that last relaxing breath before you shut your eyes for the night.