When many people picture meditation, a Zen Buddhist monk draped in orange robes atop a mountain repeating “aummmm” springs to mind. Or perhaps the image of Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love
battling her mind chatter for a mere 2 minutes, and making it seem like hours of torture. And some people have actually said to me; “Yeah sure I can meditate, I watch TV and I become really relaxed. That’s meditating, right?” But this couldn’t be further from it.
Meditation essentially involves calming the mind to remove oneself from mind chatter and ego. Sounds easy, right? Well, that’s because it is!
For many who attempt meditation, they’ll experience similar frustrations to that of Julia Roberts, which equals giving up after a few attempts. But there’s a reason it’s called practice
. You probably won’t get it down pat on the first attempt. The Eastern practice is built on the idea that the mind is wired to the body and the body is an extension of the mind. So, in other words, if you treat your mind with meditation, your body will also see the benefits.
In his book ‘Hurry Up and Meditate’, David Michie discusses some of the these benefits... Physical:
*It significantly lowers blood pressure
*Prevents heart disease
*Boosts the immune system
*Boosts defenses against cancer
*Slows the rate at which we age by supporting the production of hormones
*Helps manage pain Psychological benefits:
*Rewires our brains for happiness
*Replaces negative thinking with positive
*It's highly effective for stress managementHow to Meditate:
Find a quiet place in your home or outside with nature. When?
It’s best to meditate first thing in the morning. According to David Michie, this is the best time because we tend to be more refreshed after a night’s sleep and the mind is still and uncluttered. Posture?
You can sit on a cushion, chair or lie down so long as your back is kept straight. The spine must be aligned at all times because it’s the conduit of your central nervous system. The ideal position, if you can do it, is to be cross legged with a straight back, up-facing palms on knees while sitting on a low meditation chair. Relax the face and keep your eyes closed. If you can’t sit upright comfortably – try leaning against a wall.How long?
To begin, aim for 15 – 20 minutes. Style?
Styles vary from guided mantras to visualisations. To help your structure and discipline, David Michie recommends setting a positive intention or an affirmation to begin and end your practice. For example, try focussing on a mantra like ‘so, hum’ or ‘inhale, exhale’. Be mindful of your breathing as the smooth rhythm can help you to clear your thoughts. Words by Nadine Ominski, Student Holistic Nutritionist & Health Coach
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