I started meditating almost 10 years ago. I hired a meditation coach to teach me how to stop the constant chatter going on in my head. At the time, I was dealing with a high stress job, sleep was virtually non-existent, and I was in the worst health of my life. My job required me to work very long hours, I had little or no time to workout, and my eating habits were much to be desired. I felt like I lost control of my life and I was miserable, every day.
I talk about the many components of health in my weekly blogs. What does this mean? People have this mindset that if we workout, eat somewhat healthy and maintain an optimal body weight, that we’re healthy. You can be skinny, workout every day and eat healthy, but it’s not enough. To maintain a perfect state of health, one needs to be mentally calm and emotionally stable.
Prana which is the ‘vital life energy’ is the very basis of our health and well being not just for the body, but the mind. How do you gain prana? You gain it through meditation. The more you have, the more energy you have, you feel more alert, and the more you are in touch with your consciousness.
I’m becoming more fascinated with the subject of meditation. It’s become my life line in dealing with illnesses and staying positive through very negative situations.
What is Meditation
Meditation is the means of transforming the mind to develop concentration and clarity. It’s a way of learning new habits in your mind to cultivate more positive ways of being and living. By doing this, you can grasp a new understanding of life by focusing on deepening the mind into energized states of mind.
Types of Meditation
With the stress and anxiety of modern life found in western cultures, the teachings of eastern culture medicine such as mediation is becoming popular to treat not just the mind but the body. Meditative practices have been around for centuries, but people are using these practices for purposes such as pain relief, anxiety, to cure insomnia, a source of inspiration, to bring more calmness into your life, and so much more.
Different meditation techniques have evolved from Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Some types include the following:
- Concentration – this technique focuses predominantly on building concentration. This can help you overcome distractions within and outside your mind and sustain mental focus.
- Reflective Meditation – this technique refers to disciplined thinking. You choose a question or theme and focus your reflection upon it.
- Mindfulness Meditation – this technique focuses your attention toward any action or subject within your sphere of influence.
- Heart-Centered Meditation – this technique will help you release your fears and sadness, otherwise known as the heart chakra mediation.
- Creative Mediation – this technique focuses on strengthening qualities such as joy, compassion, patience, empathy, gratitude and so much more.
Dealing with Illness Through Meditation
Our health is a part of physical nature. The foods we eat, a virus contracted, the mental stress we endure can all be pre-cursors of illnesses. When we meditate, we can speed up the recovery process. When you keep a positive state of mind, the stress, the worry, and the anxiety will decrease when you achieve a higher level of consciousness. People can find a more wholesome cure for themselves through practicing mediation which can help them maintain levels of calm and composure.
Sometimes our bodies can self heal through self-repair. It’s these self-repair mechanisms within our bodies that have broken down due to stress that many of us experience in every day life. When we counter balance the relaxation technique of mediation by fighting illnesses and disease, the body can learn to heal itself.
Meditation and Fitness
I use many mindset techniques with my clients and especially in my group fitness classes. You wouldn’t think that meditating and lifting weights would go hand in hand but it can actually benefit any type of workout you do. Meditating is a way to reign in your thoughts and stay mindful by focusing on your breathing. Have you ever showed up to the gym and even though and did a workout that you’ve been doing for weeks but you left feeling very unsuccessful? Ask yourself next time, how was the state of your mind when you entered the gym? Were you thinking about your work day, a fight you had with a co-worker or spouse, or you long commute home? These are all reasons why your workout went bad. By practicing meditation, you can train your brain to push out any negative or chatty thoughts and just be present in the moment. This will allow your body to perform at the level of performance that you require.
As a long distance runner, some of my training sessions can be very intense. I like to use techniques like visualization to help me prepare for an upcoming hill or interval training session. It mentally prepares me for the stresses I’m about to place on my body. Half the battle of sprinting or hill training is mental. Sometimes when your body is strong enough to continue with the workout, your mind wants to stop completely. Learn to train your mind to fight through the distractions or shift your focus during your workouts. If you’re going to get lost in your thoughts, make sure that they are positive instead of negative. I find that my outdoor workouts are easier as I get distracted by the scenery around me and I forget about the physical challenges. There’s something to be said about getting back to nature.
Can We Exercise Our Problems Away?
Meditation cannot re-place exercise or the other way around as the two go hand in hand. Exercise can help us reduce stress but it doesn’t make our problems go away. We can look at exercise as a mental opener. When we workout, we open our minds to a certain degree. We give our heads a mind break from the every-day activities and stresses of life to allow ourselves to wander freely. Even high intensity exercise can be a mind ventilator. As we release those endorphins it might feel as if all of our problems have suddenly subsided even if it is temporary feeling. However, as important as exercise is to our overall health, it’s also wise to let our bodies remain entirely still. Let what is, just be.
Eat Well – Move Well – Live Well