There are so many psychological and physiological benefits to practicing meditation and we all have the innate ability to access this wonderful, natural and powerful method of healing the mind/body.
• Reducing high blood pressure
• Increasing emotional stability
• Reducing anxiety / panic attacks
• Relieving insomnia
• Better quality sleep
• Strengthening the immune system
• Increasing energy levels
• Sharpening the mind
• Increasing creativity and intuition
Meditation switches off the fight-or-flight response that contributes to so many stress related conditions in today’s fast paced world. If our body is in attack mode for too long and too often the body becomes depleted of its vital energy resources.
Meditation on the other hand, is a deep relaxation of the body that switches on the Relaxation Response (a phrase coined by Dr. Benson, founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA who conducted extensive research in-to meditators of the Transcendental Meditation Technique).
When this happens, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged which calms the body and mind, slowing metabolism down and reserving the body’s energy resources, increasing blood flow and carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Our brain waves slow down (to Theta state) as the mind starts to quieten down, respiration slows down as well….ahhh the magic is already happening!
So, where to start? There are also so many different kinds of meditation practices to choose from. However to keep it simple:
• Find a comfortable place to sit (without crossing your legs), your spine straight but not bolt upright
• Relax your shoulders
• Close your eyes
• Place your palms on your lap
• Take your attention to your breathing
• Just notice your breath flowing in and out for a couple of minutes
• Repeat the mantra ‘one’ every other moment or so in your mind but without forced repetition.
• When finished, wait a minute to two before opening your eyes and getting up.
A good time to allow is 15 minutes once a day, but starting at just 5 minutes and building from there is great! If you miss a day, you haven’t failed, just try again the next day and you’ll soon notice the rewards in your daily life.