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How to begin meditation and why it could prevent mental health suffering during the pandemic

SPRING BRANCH, Texas – Not a fan of spending hours by yourself trying to stop thinking about your thoughts?

Alexandra Charles says to forget what you think you know about meditation and take the time to be with yourself.

“It’s been a very interesting time for everyone to go through so it's nice to come back into the moment instead of our minds staying in the past or worrying about the future,” Charles said. “We can have a little bit of peace when we come back to center.”

What kinds of meditation classes are there?

Charles owns Soul Tribes Yoga and Meditation in Spring Branch. At her business, three of the classes are focused on meditation.

Two kinds of guided classes help beginners learn to practice meditation. One class is for mindfulness, another is focused on energy.

“We guide you so you have something to anchor too. When you have something to anchor to. it's easier to get present,” she said about the mindful class. “You can do it at any point in the day once you know the tools.”

In the third type of meditation class offered at Soul Tribes, you listen to crystal balls and a gong. Charles said the sounds and vibrations help ease into a meditative state.

“The vibrations of all those instruments just washes over you and kind of takes you to another place,” she said.

Don't know how to choose which class fits your goals? You're probably overthinking it.

This isn't a workout to tone your body, this is to help restore your mind.

Are the class sizes limited?

Classes in person are small (less than 10 people).

There are virtual options at Soul Tribes.

Will this take long?

Classes at Soul Tribes are only 20 minutes.

Is it expensive?

A drop-in “in-person” class is $12. A virtual class is $5. Click here for more prices.

What’s the point?

“They are all going to bring you, hopefully a calmer state and much more connected place for yourself. They are all there to ease tension and stress,” Charles said.

Mental health professionals say everyone can benefit from meditation. Many believe the coronavirus pandemic could do long term damage to mental health.

Some compare this pandemic to traumatic events, like a hurricane, but say the pandemic is worse because it doesn’t hit and go away, it will linger.

Some studies show people in their 20s and 30s are asking for prescription anti-anxiety and depression medications more frequently than before the pandemic.

The impact of social distancing on children is not fully known yet.

Charles said meditating is good for kids too. If you feel your child can sit long enough for the class, she said some kids have joined her meditation classes.