Taking a Breather
The Scoop on Meditation ~ A Simple Practice with Profound Benefits
People who meditate regularly appear internally and externally five to 10 years younger than their non-meditating peers, according to author Deepak Chopra. That’s good news for the estimated 10 million people who practice meditation on an ongoing basis and experience the resulting calm it cultivates.
The rich benefits come from doing something that looks like nothing: Sitting still, being quiet, and breathing deeply. Meditation works simply but profoundly by defusing the onslaughts of life — a racing mind, busyness, deadlines, commutes, all of which have physiological effects on well-being.
Meditation calms the nervous system, decreases metabolic rate, heart rate, and blood pressure, and lowers levels of cholesterol, stress hormones, and free radicals. It also has a direct effect on breathing, slowing and deepening respiration so more oxygen circulates throughout the body. Not only that, meditation is said to lessen feelings of anxiety and depression and improve memory and concentration. And all of this culminates in slowing the aging process, as Chopra notes.
There are many meditation techniques, including focusing on a mantra, a sacred word or phrase, or your breath. But the basic intent of all meditation is focus and attention. And it doesn’t take hours a day in an ashram to meditate effectively. Benefits kick in with even a short period of devoted time.
How to begin? Wear comfortable, unrestrictive clothes, sit on a cushion or chair with your back straight (think once again, comfort), rest your hands on your legs, let your eyes go soft and out of focus or close them, breathe slowly and deeply, and — the hardest part — attempt to empty your mind of thoughts and quiet the internal dialogue.
When thoughts flit through your mind, let them pass without judging them and come back to your focus (your mantra, counting, etc.) and breathing. Start with this sitting meditation technique for five minutes a day, and add on time as you get more at ease with the process. For more information on techniques and benefits, check out http://www.abc-of-meditation.com.
This article is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to diagnose and/or treat any conditions. Please check with your physician to make sure it’s all right to use new products and/or change your regimen.
Newsletter article courtesy of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals