By Tom Grunewald, PT
Meditation: You have probably read or heard that modern science continues to confirm the substantial benefits of meditation.
Harvard has confirmed what has been taught for thousands of years:
- Meditation reduces stress
- Fosters clear thinking
- Increases our capacity for empathy and compassion
On a physical level, meditation:
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
- Decreases tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
- Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
- Improves the immune system
- Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
With regular practice of meditation:
- Anxiety decreases
- Emotional stability improves
- Creativity increases
- Happiness increases
- Intuition develops
- Clarity and peace of mind is gained
- Problems become smaller
Meditation sharpens the mind by increasing focus and expands through relaxation.
- A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration
- An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action/progress
- The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings perfection
You can try this simple technique to begin enjoying the benefits of meditation yourself:
- Find a comfortable position with your back easy and straight.
- Support your back with pillows if you need to.
- Your hands should rest easily.
- Place a comfortable smile on your face and breathe in filling your belly first for 4 seconds, hold your breath 5 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds.
- Start with anywhere from 5 to 10 to 15 minutes, choose an amount of time that you will do, just get started!
Other meditation options:
Meditation Vexations and Advice
Monkey Mind? It is completely natural for your mind to wiggle and wander, (meditation/focus is a skill like any exercise. Your mind will likely try to fill the silence/recovery you are creating). It will probably bounce around, - like a monkey. Don’t be upset or discouraged, just notice and let it go, without urgency or judgement, return to your orienting activity.
Start with an easily “doable” time, 10 mins? Any amount of time is better than none!!
If you don’t feel anything profound, if you feel you didn’t do well, it’s still good! Suspend judgement!
Environment: It is easiest to be in a quiet space as you introduce yourself to practicing meditation
Food: Generally we are encouraged to do this when your stomach is full
Power of 1+, meditating with another person or a group, however small increases the ambient feeling of peace, sometimes by and exponential amount
One writer said his practice was to do this in the morning: Drink a cup of coffee, meditate for 20 minutes. During that time the system is still able to relax, then physiologically, the caffeine kicks in and you are ready to go.
Keep your spine upright and neutral
Put a small smile only your face as the Buddha did. Physiological research backs this up, -endorphins!
You are doing something VERY positive for yourself!
Take notice of any positive, “salubrious” effects, mood, relaxation, mental alertness, creative ideas, or just rest and relaxation. With the investment of time and practice you will very likely begin to notice subtle changes in your response to stressful situations. This response will be amplified the more you practice and you will begin to notice the benefits listed above.
May the smile you practice become a smile of your relaxed and responsive body and soul.
*H&D offers Tai Chi classes which is "moving meditation"