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The Mind-Body Connection: Meditation

10.25.2016

In part one we discussed the benefits of yoga for calming the mind, body and spirit.

 

Meditation and yoga go hand-in-hand, so we thought we would focus on the amazing power of meditation in a separate post.

 

Many of us think we need lots of extra time to fit in a meditation practice every day, or that if the mind wanders we aren’t doing it right.

 

Meditation is all about finding time, when you can, to focus on yourself and your breath, and to feel grounded in the present moment. Even 1 minute of deep breathing in a stressful situation can slow the heart rate, calm the mind, and allow you to deal with the situation in a more mindful way.

  

Meditation is the practice of calming the mind through deep breathing, mantras or visualizations.

 

It is practiced in a cross-legged position with the hands gently on the lap or thighs, or in a lying position with the hands relaxed at the sides.

 

The eyes are gently closed, the jaw is relaxed, and any tension in the body is released through every out breath.

 

Meditation truly has the power to completely transform your mind and your life.

 

There are many types of meditations from the more advanced Kundalini meditation to mindfulness meditation, which is wonderful for individuals of all levels, especially beginners.

 

Mindfulness meditation focuses on breath awareness and a body scan.

 

By counting the breaths, or focusing on the feeling of every inhalation and exhalation, you truly start to train the mind and body to work together to release tension. Counting the breaths is an excellent tool for bringing the mind back to the present moment, as it may start to wander. Don’t let this discourage you! Our brains love to think, so that’s what they will do. Over time with a regular practice, you will notice you are able to calm your mind quickly.

 

Body scan involves scanning the body, bit by bit, starting from the toes, working your way upwards until every part of the body has been relaxed.

 

This type of meditation is wonderful for reminding us to stay grounded, instead of allowing our emotions to take over. Mindfulness meditation trains the mind to stay present. Too many of us live in the past or the future, which causes untold stress and unnecessary worry in our lives.

 

Like yoga, meditation has so many fantastic benefits for the body. We rely on prescription medications, without realizing that a daily meditation practice can replace all those pill bottles.

 

Here are a few ways a daily meditation practice can change your life:

  • Decreases stress levels
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Increases optimism and creativity
  • Helps you to sleep better
  • Improves pain tolerance
  • Enhances self-esteem and confidence
  • Improves memory
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Increases energy levels
  • Lessens inflammatory disorders

 

 

The thought of starting a meditation practice on your own may seem daunting, but that’s why there are so many wonderful resources out there to help you!

 

If you are serious about starting a meditation practice, then download an app called Insight Timer right now! This app has thousands of meditations, ranging from just one minute to over an hour long. There really is no excuse to not make time when you have this app. It’s also free, meaning you can enjoy the incredible benefits of meditation without having to spend a penny.

 

Two excellent books we recommend, when starting out on your meditation journey, are Mind Calm and Body Calm. These books, written by an experienced meditation teacher, will guide you and show you how to release tension and train your mind.

 

Now that you know what a powerful tool meditation can be in your life, we hope you give it a try. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you can stick with it for just 3 weeks, you will find that it becomes a natural part of your daily life.

 

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