A healthy body and soul come from an unencumbered mind and body~ Ymber Delecto
40 minutes of complete silence. Focus only on your breath. Don’t think.
I’m sure we can all agree this sounds almost impossible. There’s too many emails, too much work, too many people to catch up with. Is it really possible to sit for 40 minutes without thinking about any of it?
This sounded like a challenge, but I made a commitment to explore DC’s health spots and I’m sticking with it, starting with Meditation. I entered into the world of the Shambhala Meditation center.
Last week I took my first training course, learning the proper techniques of meditation, which are as follows.
- Sit on a firm, comfortable cushion
- Sit straight up, but not too rigid
- Chest Open
- Legs crossed
- Hands comfortably placed on your thighs
- Eyes open <– new for me. This is to make you feel in the “here and now”
After you have the sitting part down, you’re ready to meditate. Clear your thoughts, and focus only on your breath going in and out. When thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and then let them go. Bring the attention back to your breath.
Sounds easy, right? Not quite. My mind was all over the place! In that first class we meditated for what seemed like an eternity. When we were done my instructor said it had been 3 minutes. He looked at me and asked if I had thought about shopping during the meditation. Yes. I had. This guy was good.
He explained that this was expected, that meditation is a challenge, and that like anything else it takes a lot of practice and patience. But over time your skills will improve.
We were told that to gain the most benefit we should sit and meditate for at least 10 minutes per day. That week I only did it twice in my meditation sanctuary (a corner of my room). Who has time to not think when there’s so much thinking to be done?
Then when I was thinking about not thinking, I began to think about my mission to discover all of life’s health remedies, no matter how much they were out of my comfort zone. I was ready to commit. I took the next step and entered the big leagues- the 40 minute meditation class.
Going in I was antsy and my thoughts were already flying. I sat down and struggled with clearing my mind. I watched the other people, saw how focused they were, and I tried to do the same. After a little while the gong rang and the class was over.
I looked at my clock. 50 minutes had gone by. I was shocked! It was then that I realized how amazing I felt. During the class I had trouble focusing on my breath, but even the mere act of trying had calmed me in some way. When I left I was stress free, happy and dare I say it….zen. I was hooked.
Why did I feel such a difference?
Meditation allows your body to relax, think clearly and focus on the now. Meditation releases tension and improves your clarity and many studies have proven the therapeutic benefits. These studies showed that it can:
- Reduce stress levels
- Help you overcome anxiety
- Protect the heart from cardiovascular disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce pain in joints and muscle
- Improve symptoms of depression
- Improve mood
I also discovered that when I left meditation I felt the same way I do when I get a massage 🙂
Meditation isn’t easy but it is doable. For those looking to reduce stress or take a break from the day, it is definitely a beneficial option. Try meditation for 3 minutes, 10 minutes or an hour! If you have trouble the first few times, try again! See if it’s a good fit for you and your lifestyle. If not, I’ll be reporting back soon with other alternatives. Have it Your Weigh