Continuing our monthly interview sessions with our very own experts, please meet Gia George - Verv’s meditation guru and the harmonious voice behind our guided meditations.
Gia is so many things: she’s an intuitive healer, spiritual guide, meditation instructor, and sound healer, with a Bachelor's degree in Fitness, Nutrition and Health, with a minor in Psychology. She studied Hatha Yoga and is a certified yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner.
We recently sat down with Gia to talk about her career, the mind-body connection, the role yoga and meditation play in her life, how to manage tough times with mindfulness and so much more. Enter Gia.
Hi Gia, so maybe you could tell our readers briefly about yourself.
I live in San Diego. I do one-on-one healing work with clients. That’s Reiki healing, intuitive healing and spiritual coaching. I love to teach meditation. I'm a musician, I sing and do sound healing. I love to create music that complements my healing creations.
Also, I love to empower others to find their source of inspiration and to connect with their light and feel empowered no matter what is going on in their lives, and I'm just grateful to be working with Verv’s audience.
How did you first get into meditation?
I first got into meditation because I fell in love with yoga when I was in college, and at the time I was also studying psychology, fitness and nutrition. So, I was learning a lot about the body, the mind and also spirituality.
When I got into yoga, I wanted to go deeper with my yoga practice. I wanted to learn more about my own mind and grow a lot as a person. And so I wanted to study my own mind and really understand my own thought processes, my fears, my own mental blocks, how to overcome them and become my best self, most confident self. I wanted to understand how to unlock my greatest powers, inspirations and gifts.
I was really just a student of the mind in college.
I got really into yoga and spirituality and started meditating through my yoga practice, 10 minutes after yoga.
I would meditate and I keep learning from different teachers and reading a lot about meditation and spirituality. And I just kept meditating on my own.
That practice taught me a lot. I would get so many different insights and visions, and I would just study myself through practice. And that's how my meditation journey began.
Talk us through your daily routine, where does meditation fit in your day?
My daily routine has changed quite a bit over the years. When I was first getting into meditation, I would meditate every morning and I would journal every morning. And that was my morning routine for several years. I would just journal all my thoughts and feelings and get all my concerns and worries out on paper. And eventually that led to me getting more inspiration and connecting to a deeper part of myself through journaling.
I would meditate either before or after that every morning for years. And now I just follow my intuition about when I feel the need to meditate. I try to meditate as often as possible by just practicing mindfulness, such as meditating while I'm walking, while I'm sitting on the deck listening to the birds, meditating while I'm cooking. I try to stay in a state of mindfulness and presence all the time.
And I really think my meditation practice has given me the ability to meditate wherever I go. But these days I meditate when I feel like I need to pause and clear my mind and come back to center and set some intentions. And most days that ends up being meditating. I always just follow my heart on it. And I like to just have a brief little moment for meditation and prayer before I fall asleep.
Do you prefer to meditate lying down or sitting up? What’s the difference?
I like meditating both ways. But I think that sitting upright is my favorite position because it really allows me to feel my chakras, my energy centers all lined up along the same line as gravity. So with my spine nice and tall, sitting upright, I really feel the energy of it within me, aligned and connected in a really powerful way. And when I'm lying down I feel very relaxed.
Meditating either way is good, but I would say if you're a beginner, try sitting up first, try sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor because it'll be easier on your hips. And this way you don't fall asleep while you're meditating. And it will help you just really get to know your body better and practice what it's like to sit up tall without using too much effort, what it's like to be in a state of ease in the body while also being upright, uplifted and present.
What helps you really calm your racing thoughts and get into the right mindset for meditation?
What helps me calm my racing mind is connecting with my breath. The breath is one of the most powerful tools we have. It helps us stay in the moment, get centered, clear our thoughts and start to observe our minds.
So, I like to take a few deep breaths and then really feel my body, all the sensations and what’s going on within me. That helps me slow my thoughts down, come back into the moment, stay present and just feel myself and observe my surroundings, notice where I am in this moment and recognize that my thoughts are not me, and I am not my thoughts.
My thoughts can just float by like clouds in the sky while I am aware of my breath and aware of my body.
And then my mind seems to settle and calm down a bit as I really focus my attention on what I'm feeling and listening to my breath.
How do you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life?
I love incorporating mindfulness into my life. I think it's taken practice to get to the point where I could really observe myself most of the time throughout the day, just being aware of how I'm feeling and aware of my thoughts and my breath.
But I love to really absorb myself in whatever I'm doing to practice mindfulness. So if I'm listening to music, I like to completely absorb myself in music. If I'm eating, I like to focus really intently on the flavor and the taste of my food. I also make sure that I'm aware of my own energy and aware of my own emotions throughout the day. This is a really powerful mindfulness practice because it helps me gauge my own energy and if I need rest and if it's time to take a break, or if I'm getting overwhelmed that I know to just pause, let go.
I refocus my attention and focus on just being aware of my emotions and my energy level throughout the day. It is a powerful mindfulness practice that gives me a lot of clarity and insight into my own well-being. And it also just helps me stay in a state of ease, calm and peace within.
Has there ever been a time where you found meditation difficult?
There are totally times where I find meditation difficult even to this day. There are often moments where it's challenging to meditate because I feel overwhelmed mentally or emotionally, and I have compassion and patience for myself in those moments.
That's where I practice mindfulness once again, to just observe myself having a hard time meditating and to accept that, and to just keep breathing and keep being with myself and keep being in the moment, even though it's hard to quiet my mind. I can still be mindful of that. I can still be aware of my racing thoughts and still be with my breath.
Actually, the practice of mindfulness is beyond whatever the mind is doing. And we don't have to necessarily be good at meditating in order to practice being present.
Some days my mind is loud and overwhelmed with thoughts. And that's OK. Maybe that day it's challenging to meditate and be really quiet inside. But I can still be mindful of how I'm doing, however I'm feeling. And this just gives me more awareness and more clarity around myself.
The year 2020 has been truly challenging. What helps you to stay grounded during these unprecedented times?
Yes, 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year. I think what helps me stay grounded is noticing the beauty around me and really practicing mindfulness in each moment, and noticing the good that's happening for me.
So, even though a lot of things have changed in my life, I am focusing my attention on what has been good about that change and what it has offered me, what blessings have come from it.
Because I could spend all day feeling bad about what's happened, or what's changed, or what I've lost. But instead, I would choose to focus on the good things coming out of these changes and this uncertainty, because a lot of good things have come from it.
And when I focus my attention there, I create more space within me for good things to flow to me. And I stay in a space of creativity and joy where I can share my positive light with others. And this ends up being so much better for me and the world. So, I focused my attention on what good things are happening, what beautiful blessings are coming to me. And then I keep my energy moving in that direction.
What lessons should we learn from everything that’s been happening these past months?
I think we could learn that we actually don't need as much as we thought we did. We can live pretty simply and be completely fulfilled. And so maybe there was a lot of access in our society, and we were used to just having anything we wanted on command. We were focused on big goals and big things in life, without realizing that sometimes simplicity, being with our families at home, being quiet, letting things go is such a healing practice. And that maybe what we really need is to just be and focus on love and joy in our lives.
I hope that this experience with the lockdown can help all of us realize what's most important to us in life.
And to recognize that it's okay when things change, when there is loss, because ultimately we have everything we need in our own hearts, which is our light, our love, our peace.
And then we can allow life to change and shift around us, because we can still come back to that place of well-being and love inside. And that's truly all we need. So I hope that's a lesson that the world has learned.