“The Heavens themselves, the Planets, and this centre, observe degree, priority, and place.” …William Shakespeare
We have all had times when life challenges us… Sometimes we have to resolve our problems which can be as difficult to solve as any trigonometric equation. How to get rid of anxiety, depression, and fatigue? How to improve family relationships or a relationship with a loved one? Or even how to build back self-esteem after we are divorced or the loss of a job, overcome addiction, recover from an illness? How to improve focus and sleep, decrease chronic pain? Don’t give up on yourself until you try meditation.
Meditation can be performed alone or as a part of another mind-body practice such as yoga. In our class meditation, we start with Pranayama or breathing practice. It helps to center your body and mind, also focuses on the sensation of the breathing, preventing a drifting away with thoughts about the future or memories from the past.At Anniston Yoga Center, each class starts with a short meditation to restore harmony to our often unbalanced lifestyles and reduce the pressures of modern living. According to CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), meditation is a good tool for complementary care for numerous diseases.
“The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Some recent NCCAM-supported studies have been investigating meditation for relieving stress in caregivers for elderly patients with dementia and for relieving asthma symptoms. A study published in the April 2009 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease researched use of meditation and other complementary and alternative practices in patients suffering from arthritis.” (Meditation and Health; www.cdc.gov [CDC official website])
Studies have shown that meditation has an anti-aging effect. Dr. Robert Keith Wallace pioneer researcher on meditation found that people who meditate have a biological age five to twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts. Even short term practitioners were physiologically 5 years younger than their chronological age. “There’s a reason why experienced meditators live so long and look so young. If we can affect the stress response, we can affect the aging process,” says Eva Selhub, MD, medical director of the Mind/Body Medical Institute. Meditation and relaxation transform the way we perceive stress.
Anybody can practice meditation, take a few breaths and clean your consciousness of all distractions. So, the word meditation comes from the Latin “meditation” which means to think or reflect on. There are many forms of meditation such as Zen meditation, Candle meditation, Mandala or Symbolic meditation, Visualization, Walking meditation and Transcendental (focus on mantra) meditation. An interesting fact is that Kripalu yoga classes are often called a Meditation in Motion. Senior Teacher of Kripalu Center of Yoga & Health Richard Fauldsdescribes meditation as “a state of deep inner absorption that can occur in either the flow of yoga postures or in moments of physical stillness.”
In my opinion, which is based on my experience and some research I did on the subject, meditation as yoga supports the body-mind connection to health, happiness and well-being. Writer J. Krishnamurti , speaker on fundamental philosophical subjects, described meditation as a process when one “observes the observer”. The mind remains awake while the body goes into a deeply relaxed state. A common misconception is that meditation take years to perfect, keeping people away from a wonderful tool which may help them to encourage healings inbody and mind or may even emerge from times of difficulties. With regular practice you will see benefits of meditation very quickly; you may also be wondering or recognize that you already have been practicing meditation time to time… Surprised? But when you focus on the solution of some kind of situation at work , or staring all day at your new car, or maybe all day long trying to figure out why everythingturn so …awful… this is one of many forms of meditation. Just let’s make sure, that beginning today all your meditation would be absolutely positive.
Once you recognize how easy it is, you can meditate on your own. Allow yourself to be open because each time I practice meditation, my experience is different.Here is an example of simple meditation for a busy… complicated life. Let’s call it “Give Yourself a Smile”; find a quiet place to sit comfortably on the floor or chair and begin by taking a few “let go” breaths , close your eyes and fill the sensations in your body… your body works all day, fill yourselfwith appreciation for all of the hard work your body does for you. When you feel the smile on your face… allow the smile to be your guide into your meditation. As you are sitting quietly, breathe through your smile until you feel the smile in your heart and then once again send a blessing to yourself and appreciation for all of your hard work that you did today and then finish your meditation with a smile and peace.
I hope that this simple practice will help you reconnect with you inner resources and gain a fresh perspective on life in general. Namaste