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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

The Only Wrong Meditation Is the One You Do Not Show Up For

Oct 30, 2020 09:30AM ● By Kitty Downey
Some people have the misconception that only their technique will bring one to true meditation. There are actually many paths leading to the river that flows into meditation. Beginning or learning meditation can best be approached with an open heart and an open mind. Even for those with previous experience, each lesson has the potential to bring something new. Many methods are available; choose the one that resonates within you.

To begin, find a calm place where there is no noise or interruptions. Sit comfortably and check your posture to make sure your diaphragm has room to expand. Wear loose, non-binding clothing.

Close your eyes and gently bring your focus to the space between the eyebrows with an upward gaze. One may practice three low, slow inhales and three low, slow exhales to calm the body and mind. Breath in, filling the lungs as if filling a pitcher from bottom to the top. Exhale, emptying from top to bottom. Attention follows intention. Set your intention—it may be as simple as “May I breathe in peace.”

This simple practice can lower your heart rate; calm the nervous system; improve the endocrine system, sending endorphins into the blood stream; increase blood flow; oxygenate the brain; and create new brain cells. This practice may only take a few seconds, and at the end you might notice a shift or change. End the practice by taking a moment before rising to set an intention, and then take this peaceful energy with you out into your life.

There are many well-trained teachers and techniques available. It may be in the busy, high-traffic studios, a place set deep into the mountains or it may be a small quiet place nearby, so look around.

Once you have found a technique that resounds within you, establish your practice. Use the same method for a few months to allow the body and mind to settle. After a time, you may wish to add or change a technique to expand your experience.

According to doctors Ralph and Linda Francis in their course Anatomy & Physiology of the Brain, this simple practice can lower your heart rate. There is a large range of techniques out there; know there is one that will speak to you. Techniques are effortful tools used to bring one to the doorway of meditation. We must each walk through that doorway alone into meditation. Meditation is a one-pointed effortless focus. When stillness comes, emotions we thought were long gone will rise again.

One misconception about meditation is that one must sit for an extended period of time and that thoughts must never cross our minds. In reality, one might sit only for a few seconds in the beginning. It is very important to know that even a moment of stillness is all that is necessary to create a positive experience.

Returning again and again to a positive experience will establish a meditation practice. However, it will take dedication to become a practitioner. Begin by establishing a ritual or routine for holding your practice. Following the same pattern helps the mind to settle and allows it to quiet down. To begin, all you have to do is show up, so don’t miss your chance to be present for your life.
 
Kitty Downey is a registered yoga teacher and owner of Soul Path Yoga. Meditation is included in all of her classes. For more information, call 414-232-1448 or visit SoulPathYoga.com.

Did You Know?

According to the National Institute of Health, stress, diabetes mellitus and hypertension are predisposing factors to coronary artery disease (CAD). The International Journal of Yoga published a study that analyzed the effects of meditation for six months on 60 clients with CAD. Half were randomized into the control group, while the other half practiced guided meditation exercises involving concentration, forgiveness, breathing exercises and focused body relaxation. The difference in fasting blood sugar, postprandial blood sugar levels and glycosylated hemoglobin levels (indicators of diabetes) were significantly improved in the meditation group compared to the control group.

It is well known that a chronic stress response is highly linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and CAD. The results of this study suggest that regular meditation has a positive effect on calming the stress response through neurohormonal activation by decreasing the sympathoadrenal system release of stress hormones which are linked to insulin resistance and thus, diabetes and CAD.

Source: Jordan Peschek, RN
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