Both Fern Langham and Sarah Anne Stewart left high-impact, health-compromising jobs that drove them to the brink of destruction, physically and mentally. To reverse the cycle of stress, they began a regimen of yoga and meditation—now, they’re teaching others how to escape the wheel with Charlotte’s Book-approved Bliss Out Wellness, their “one stop wellness shop.”
Here, Fern and Sarah tell their story and offer a straightforward guide to starting your own meditation practice. Think you don’t have time to meditate? You’re wrong: all you need is five minutes each day!
The Backstory: How We Kicked Quick-Fixes
Raised by holistically inspired yogi parents, we never imagined there would be a time in our lives that we worked in competitive industries. At one point we were putting in 70+ hours per week: with a background in engineering, Fern excelled as a technology specialist; Sarah worked as a fashion model and real estate agent. We never thought we would end up with a thyroid condition, adrenal fatigue, and eating disorders. There were days when we woke up foggy and puffy, days when we were anxious, stressed-out to the nines, and even a little hopeless. Days when we forgot what it felt like to feel normal. In fact, we thought we never would again.
We know how easy it can be to pop a pill when feeling nauseous, anxious, stressed, or scattered. There were times in both our lives when prescription medicines joined forces with a medicine cabinet stocked with Excedrin, Motrin, and even Adderall to get through those desperate days when our bodies seemed to be falling apart.
Finding Peace from Within
Did those quick-fixes work in the long run? Clearly, no. Through years of some serious trial and error, we have learned that, ultimately, peace starts from within.
This very powerful tool—meditation—helped us to overcome ailments ranging from an autoimmune thyroid condition, to adrenal fatigue, anxiety, and even eating disorders. This ancient healing practice changed everything.
Beating The Holiday Season Mentality
We’re shocked at how quickly autumn graces us before winter temps rush in. As this transition occurs, we’re invited to refocus our lives from the vacation mentality to the ‘‘back to school’ mentality, igniting what could be stressful times, longer work hours and the holiday season ahead.
We often don’t put ourselves first during this time of year. Instead, we find ourselves overwhelmed with new projects at work, silly arguments with our loved ones, uncomfortable family gatherings, financial stress at its peak. Inadequate sleep and stress-eating build conflicts within ourselves, and in our relationships. All of this can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds by manifesting in illness and physical ailments.
Why Meditation Works: The Mind-Body Connection
Today, as holistic health and wellness entrepreneurs and business partners, we deeply understand how the mind-body connection works by using the power of thoughts and emotions to control physical health. Simply channeling your mind to influence your body can be one of the greatest forces for health and longevity.
Even if you’re doing all the nutritional and supplementation protocol suggested by your medical practitioner, your body may not heal as quickly or as strongly if your mind is not in alignment with a state of healing. Through working with hundreds of clients, we have found that meditation can be a key ingredient to healing, especially when coupled with other mind-body therapies and practices. This is very important when healing an internal condition such as thyroid dysfunction, an autoimmune disease, or even cancer. Just as a house will fall to the ground without its foundation, your body can often become chronically sick without a mind focused on health and happiness.
Setting Intentions, Reaping Benefits
During the silent moments in meditation, we tune-in to ourselves and gain a sense of trust in our own decision-making processes.
Meditation has intuitively helped us through our wellness journeys to choose practices that resonate with us, so we could become the healthy and happy women that we are today. The healthy plant-based diet we eat, the green juices we drink, and the natural supplements and energy work that once seemed overwhelming have become second nature.
Our clients who meditate are empowered to change all aspects of their lives and move to a space of self-love. Awareness is the first step towards good health and your ideal body. There is nothing more important than truly believing—with all your soul—that the healthy treatments you choose will work. Your beliefs sets the intention, and, from that intention, the healing process occurs. A disease-free state manifests in your body.
Growing In Self-Love
Sometimes just setting your intention can be difficult: don’t let that stop you! The quiet of meditation can help clarify your healing goal. During meditation your mind is silent so you no longer have any fear-based thoughts. Without these thoughts, you can be completely detached from the outcome and remove any resistance that may be causing a discord during the healing process.
From this space of self-love, you will naturally gravitate towards healing foods, exercise and daily movement, and a lifestyle that will help you feel alive, healthy, vibrant, and wonderful. You will gravitate towards the means to keep your body alive, prevent sickness, and experience a profound mind-body connection.
We promise meditation will calm you during the craziest times of your day, in the craziest of parts of the season. The best part? It’s completely simple and can be practiced daily in just 5 minutes or less.
The 5-Minute Sample Meditation Routine
In the morning, sit on a block or meditation cushion so your spine is long, your sit-bones are grounded, and your pelvic floor tilts down into the earth. This position allows your breath to travel the length of your spine unrestricted throughout your meditation practice.
Take the next 30 seconds to make any necessary shifts that you need to in order to feel comfortable. You may need to move your clothing or your hair – listen to the body’s desires for comfort and then settle in.
Your body should always be comfortable. Once you have found your comfortable seat, trust that it is the right seat, and choose to be still. The Sanskrit word for this is Sukha, an easeful seat.
With your eyes closed, hear the sounds around you: the sounds of the street or simply the the buzz of the air around you. Tune in to the sound of your own breathing. The breath coming in. The breath coming out.
Any feelings or thoughts of chaos should slowly leave your body and mind.
Now begin a simple mantra meditation that will further cultivate the release of stress so you can begin to acknowledge the gratitude that should fill this time of year—for all areas of your life.
Begin repeating the simple mantra, “I’m sorry, I love you, please forgive me, I thank you.” By saying and feeling the energy behind these words, we take responsibility for ourselves and the world we create.
Repeat this mantra slowly, over and over, for five minutes.
Once the five minutes are over, close your meditation by visualizing the image of white light being carried with you through the rest of the day.
Why This Mantra? Where Did It Come From?
Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian healing practice. It means “to make things right.”
By clearing ourselves with love, forgiveness and gratitude, we clear the experiences of the past, present and future. These words repeated with intention create vibrations that break up old patterns of fear and negativity.
Ho’oponopono is personal and universal. When we get in touch with our deepest feelings of compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude for ourselves, there is great healing. We then have the capacity to love and to heal others.
During this time of year, there is so much change around us that it’s hard to pin-point exactly why we feel the way we do. It’s our hope that as you sit in silence repeating this mantra to yourself, all areas of your life will be brought back into a state of peace and balance.
Practicing this meditation daily during the season will re-program your subconscious mind so your habit will be to react with compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness. Not only will your day-to-day actions be full of ease, but you will also find that the healthy lifestyle choices you make throughout the entire year will become second nature.