As we ring in the new year, most of us make a few promises to ourselves: thou shalt get more exercise, eat healthier, drink a little less wine, or start meditating.
Most of us have heard about the benefits of meditation, that it reduces stress, helps you sleep, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health and can enhance self-awareness. But how do you meditate and where do you even begin? It was with these questions we caught up with Chantal Morgotch, who has recently launched her own meditation YouTube channel, promotes meditation on her Instagram page, and has completed her 200-hour mediation teacher trainer course! So what better person to discuss meditation with, then her.
For those who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Chantal Morgotch, and I was born and raised here in Kindersley. I Completed Bachelor of Commerce at Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan and Juris Doctor (what they call a Bachelor of Law now) at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. After Law school, I moved back home and articled with Mr. Ard at Ard Law, until having my first child, then I branched out and opened up my own firm Morgotch Law, where I practice law as a sole practitioner, in the areas of real estate, mortgages, wills, estates and corporate/commercial. I had my second child in the fall of 2020, but being a small business owner, I felt the best way to deal with a “maternity leave” was to continue to work but scale back my hours, so I switched to being in the office 1 day a week and worked approximately part time.
While I was on maternity leave, I was wanting something to focus on, outside of work and outside of my family–something for just me. Through conversations with Michele at thehotroom, I decided to dive into meditation. I began my education with Michele, and continued on from there. Recently I’ve completed my 200-hour mediation teacher trainer course. At the moment I periodically offer a guided meditation class at thehotroom. I have also started a YouTube channel called Mediation with Chantal, and an Instagram account by the same name.
Meditation seems easy, but for those who have tried it, it’s TOUGH! Why do you think you have gravitated towards it?
I started meditating after I completed law school as a way to deal with stress. I found meditation helped me tremendously with so many aspects of my life. Dealing with stress and getting to sleep easier were the two benefits that I noticed the most. I also notice that when I meditate more, that I am less reactive in stressful situations. For me, the benefits were so significant it was enough to push me to continue meditating on a semi-regular basis. I gravitated towards meditation because I knew needed to start taking better care of myself and meditation seemed like a natural progression in my self-care routine. I was already trying to eat healthy, and increase my activity so it seemed like a natural next step. Somedays meditation comes more naturally than others, and at the moment I have a regular practice in place. I generally practice first thing in the morning before my mind has had a chance to fully wake up. When I meditate in the morning I find I am better able to focus. Sometimes I meditate later on in the day or even at night, and I find my brain is filled with thoughts from the day and it is harder to focus. On those days, when my mind is more chaotic, I remind myself this is why I meditate and why I need it. I also try not to be too judgmental of myself, knowing that after I have gotten through the practice, I will be in a better place to deal with life.
What is your favorite part about meditation? Biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge with mediation is just making it a priority, ensuring I make space in my life for mediation. I am a busy person and time is often in short supply. My favorite thing about mediation is taking the time for myself, the “pause” if you will, knowing that all that I need to get into that moment is to sit and just be
Can you explain what meditation is and what it can do for your mind and body?
Meditation is a process of pausing to watch and observe your thoughts and to be really conscious of what your mind does. Through meditation, we get to know our mind better so that we can ultimately better understand it. Going through this process (of mediation) helps us to recognize that we are not our thoughts, we are separate from our thoughts. Meditation helps cultivate presence by bringing the mind and body to the same place at the same time. As a practice, there are many different ways and different forms of practicing such as unguided meditation, guided meditation, mindfulness practices, and moving meditation. I prefer guided meditation as the guide helps keep you on track and helps keep your mind focused on the meditation. Some of my favorite types of guided meditation are Yoga Nidra, Metta Meditation (loving kindness meditation) and mindful practices such as counting the breaths. But I have trouble narrowing my favorites down to just three and am always trying new forms of meditation!
Many people see physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits from mediation… the list is endless. Everything from decreased stress, improving blood pressure, improved breathing and heart rate, increased mental focus, increased memory retention. It also builds creative thinking, increases decision-making and problem-solving skills, decreases worry and anxiety, reduces loneliness and enhances self-esteem, and develops intuition
How do you hope to continue to share meditation with others in the future?
At this stage I hope to continue to expand my knowledge base (I am currently taking a teacher training course on Yoga Nidra – it’s almost complete!) and continue to share about meditation and mindfulness on Instagram. I hope to continue to offer in-person classes at thehotroom and to continue to create guided meditation videos (so watch my YouTube channel for that!). I love engaging with people over mediation and mindfulness. I find in-person classes have such positive energy. I also love hearing from people on Instagram- those exchanges and connections are so valuable to me. At this stage I guess I’m pretty open to what the future has in store for me, just going with the flow and following my intuition.