By Caron Bosler - Caron has been teaching Pilates for over 15 years. She received her Yoga Teacher Training from Yoga Vida Gurukul. She is the author of 3 books on Pilates. For more information please go to www.cor-e-nergy.com
It's hard to believe in India, meditation is just as important as asanas in yoga. Far too many of my friends and I skip meditation or barely croak out 3 OM?s before running out of the yoga class and back into the fast lane of life. Most of the time I think, with the hectic pace of the daily grind, who has time? And if I do consider trying to meditate, I wonder, if I put on some music and sit in front of a candle proclaiming all things right in the world, does that count? But then, after a certain age, (for me it?s mid-thirties) I have to admit I?m looking for more serenity and calm in my hectic, over caffeinated lifestyle. Before even thinking of meditating though - Have the benefits been proven?
Yes! Studies of the brain have proven the positive effects of meditation. Studies like those by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and director of The Stress Reduction Clinic at The University of Massachusetts Medical School, have proven that meditation shifts brain activity. The right frontal cortex is identified as where we tend to hold stress. The left frontal cortex tends to be calmer. Meditation shifts brain activity from the right to the left frontal cortex, thus decreasing the negative effects of stress.
Ok, Aside from brain shifting, why else should I meditate?
Meditation is a way of checking in with yourself, and how you feel that day. It is a safe, simple way to balance your physical, mental, and emotional states. Meditation strengthens the mind and improves concentration. It leads to a general feeling of well being, and a deeper level of relaxation. Meditation decreases muscle tension, headaches, and pms. It enhances energy, strength, self confidence and serotonin production (a neurotransmitter whose effects on the brain include mood elevation). Meditation reduces anxiety attacks and helps normalize blood pressure. It also makes us more centered, improves health, and helps build better relationships. So, assuming I try it... what do I actually do? Here is a simple Breathing Meditation that even the greatest skeptics will find relaxing:
Chose a quiet place, where you will not be disturbed. Try to sit with your legs crossed, and your back straight. You do not have to sit in lotus pose in yoga, anything comfortable will do. Let your wrists relax on your knees. Drop your chin slightly and lengthen out of the back of your neck. Try not to close your eyes or have them wide open. You want let the eyes gaze softly in front of you. Breathe naturally. Start to focus your attention on the rise and fall of your breath. Just think of being a quiet observer of your breathing. At first, you might find that your mind is racing in the opposite direction and be busier than usual. This is normal, and you are just becoming aware of the fast pace of your mind. Resist the temptation to let your mind wander and daydream. Draw the mind gently back towards the breath.
Try to stay in the moment. If you do your meditation in the morning, this will help you to realize throughout your day when you are not living in the moment. The more you are aware of where your energy is, the easier it will be to draw it back into present time.
As you begin to meditate, difficult situations will become easier to deal with. You will become more naturally open to others, and relationships will begin to improve.
Throughout January I decided to take just a few minutes in the morning to quiet the mind and visualize what I wanted to create that day. I found even this simple ritual helped give me a gentle reminder of the power of my thoughts throughout the entire day. And somehow, the flow of fast lane seemed calmer.
When the sea is rough,
sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky,
but when the wind dies down
the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear.
In a similar way,
when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed
through concentrating on the breath,
our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear.?
Caron Bosler - http://www.cor-e-nergy.com
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
College Road, Nashik - 422005.
Phone - +91-9822770727 (for courses in ENGLISH)
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