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What comes to mind at the mention of the word “mindfulness”?

For me, I'd instinctively think of people sitting cross-legged and chanting some sort of mantra in pursuit of an inner calm, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Not all forms of meditation involve chanting – in fact, most don’t!

On the contrary, being “mindful” is as simple as being present in one’s current circumstances – where a person observes his or her thoughts and feelings without placing value judgment on them.

Although many consider mindfulness to have its core in Buddhist traditions, it is believed that even before the Buddha's birth, mindfulness was already practiced – for example, in Hindu and Taoist traditions. Nonetheless, mindfulness should not be mistaken as a religious practice or trait – at its core, it is the human capability to remain curious about what is happening in one’s own mind.

Meditation: A Type Of Mindfulness

There are various ways in which people can practise mindfulness; some people do it through eating clean, but some people seek their center with meditation – a practice which aims to help each and everyone of us to focus and quiet our minds, and this helps us to achieve an inner calm.

Meditation comes from the Latin root “meditatum”, meaning “to ponder”. Practicing meditation does not make one religious; on the contrary, most practitioners of meditation do so for health and well-being benefits.

Practising meditation generally requires the individual to be in a quiet place and sitting upright with good posture. With a quiet and serene environment, you allow your mind to achieve tranquility.

Types Of Meditations

Even amongst the category of meditation itself, it is worth noting that there are various different styles. Broadly speaking, there are three main types of meditation that branch out into the various forms of meditation available.

These are focused-attention meditation, open monitoring meditation, and automatic self-transcending meditation techniques.

Focused-Attention Meditation

Focused attention meditation is usually the starting point for the novice meditator. It involves focusing one's attention on a chosen object or event, usually anything that involves the individual’s use of the senses.

This form of meditation is helpful because it helps the individual regulate attention through building various skills:

  1. The ability to be aware of oneself and allow one to recognise and acknowledge what distracts them. With that self-aware, one can then make peace with it so that that something becomes less distracting to one's daily life
  2. The ability to disengage from a distracting object without further involvement
  3. The ability to re-focus on the chosen object of attention

Examples of meditation practices that take this form of meditation include Buddhist meditation and some forms of qigong.

Open Monitoring Meditation

In open monitoring meditation, the individual observes his or her thoughts without imposing judgment on them.

This form of meditation can be likened to a wide-lens perspective of consciousness. Open monitoring meditation associates the mind with being an open sky where the individual observes their thoughts – represented by clouds – as they pass along their field of awareness.

Examples of meditation practices that take this form of meditation include some types of Taoist meditation.

Automatic Self-Transcending Meditation

A third type of meditation, automatic self-transcending meditation, is designed to rest the mind and body by reducing mental activity. This form of meditation calms the mind.

Additionally, this form of meditation is known to calm the individual's mind – practicing this technique on a regular basis helps the individual develop brain control and hence, he or she is better able to deal with stress.

Nonetheless, it is also worth noting that some techniques might overlap, having elements of more than one category.

Benefits of Meditation

How is meditation so great that advocates, who are simply normal people like you and I, give it so much praises? Why should anyone even consider practising meditation?

Well, for one, the benefits of practicing meditation are copious and encompass various aspects of improved health and well-being. These include an increased self-awareness, improved concentration, and reduced levels of stress and anxiety.

In addition, Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Sara Lazar has supported the benefits of meditation with real neuroscience. She stated that the benefits of meditation are not limited to being 'relaxing'. Instead, mindful meditation can be seen as a type of mental training with cognitive benefits as well.

Getting Started on Meditation

If reading this article has led you to consider meditation but you’re not sure where to start, fear not – there are many apps which offer guided meditation for those new to the practice. For starters, try Headspace, which offers video tutorials teaching you how to meditate. These are led by Andy Puddicombe, Headspace’s co-founder and a former Buddhist monk. Headspace’s lessons are secularized versions of exercises Puddicombe studied.

Headspace is available as an app on both the Apple Store and Google Play.

Meditation and Nilufer Tea

We, at Nilufer Tea, advocate well-being, both in the physical and psychological sense. This is why we hope to spread the word of mindfulness, because we recognise the stress that the modern life brings. With that, we have formulated various blends organic herbal teas can also help one be more relaxed, calm and at ease.
For a calm and relaxing moment, our Orange & Chamomile blend helps to soothe your mind and rejuvenate your senses.

Lavender is a little purple flower with power. It carries with it a timeless charm, a gorgeous scent and a multitude of uses. These beautiful and fragrant blossoms have been grown in gardens worldwide for centuries, with several different varieties of the plant. Of which, English, French and spike lavender are the most popular.

The said little purple flower packs a punch. Besides creating luscious lavender smudge bundles to decorate your house, we’ve rounded up 6 other magical things you can do with this wonderful herb.

1. Lavender linen water 

Since the ancient times, lavender has been used to cleanse and refresh. The word lavender has its root in the Latin word lavare, which essentially means to wash. Ancient Romans used the delightful flower to perfume their baths, bodies, beds and more, so we thought we’d recommend you to do so too!

Lavender linen water is a great addition to your regular laundry routine. Use it to fill up your iron to freshen your clothes while you press or pour it into a spray bottle and mist linens in your wardrobe.

You’ll need:

Combine the witch hazel (or vodka) and lavender essential oil in the jar and shake well for at least 20 seconds. Then, add the water to dilute the mixture and pour into your spray bottle, through the funnel. Shake well before use and mist away! You may also use the linen water as a pillow spray to help you relax and sleep better.

2. Lavender soap

Not a fan of those spray things? Use lavender to whip up a batch of all-natural, homemade soaps! It’s perfect for everyday use and even makes a divine gift for your friends. Fret not if you’re a beginner soap maker, Eve Organic Beauty’s recipe is guaranteed to be easy peasy.

Makes 8 soaps
You’ll need:

Melt the goat milk soap base cubes over a double boiler on low heat, stir mixture until melted. Add alkanet root powder into the mixture and mix well. Pour into the silicone mould and add drops of lavender essential oil. Decorate with little bits and bobs of lavender buds and let dry for at least 24 hours.

For bi-coloured soap, melt cubes in two separate double boilers to have two mixtures. Pour the white soap base, wait 10 minutes until it hardens and then pour the coloured soap base.

3. Lavender sleep sachets

Lavender is known to provide aid with stress and sleepless nights. It may not work like an over-the-counter melatonin pill, but it’s soothing scent will take the edge off your insomnia and induce sleep. In a 2006 research project, sleep-deprived college students inhaled either lavender or a placebo; those who used lavender slept better without disturbance and woke up more refreshed. Create little dreamy lavender-scented sleep sachets for a good night’s rest now. It may be all it takes for you to drift off.

You’ll need:

Fill each sachet with dried lavender flowers and add up to three drops of lavender oil. Tie tight with ribbon and place under your pillow or bedside table for restorative sleep.

4. Lavender sugar scrub

Cleanse and refresh your skin with a simple lavender  sugar scrub. Its excellent exfoliating properties will scrub off impurities and soothe all at once.

You’ll need:

Warm the coconut oil in the microwave for no more than 10 seconds. Then, mix the coconut oil and sugar together in a food processor or blender. Add dried lavender and pulse the food processor. Following so, add drops of lavender essential oil and mix well. For a purple hue, add food colouring Spoon into a glass jar and voila, you’ve made a lavender-scented sugar scrub!

5. Lavender-infused honey

Add lavender to honey for a gourmet taste and aroma! Drizzle over toast, scones, pancakes, granola… the possibilities are endless.

Makes approx. 180ml
You’ll need:

Warm honey in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the lavender. Let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

6. Lavender tea

To ease your cocktail of nerves with a natural sleep aid, boil lavender buds in water and enjoy as lavender tea. Drop in as many buds as you wish. Super fuss-free, fragrant and fun! As an alternative, feed your passion for fragrance and explore Nilüfer’s Floral Blossom tea –  it contains lavender and also includes an aromatic mélange of chamomile, cornflower, lemongrass and rose.

We hope our listed lavender-based DIY projects will enable you to learn valuable skills and have fun at the same time. Tell us which ones you dabbled in!

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