Everybody wants a long life full of vitality. But beyond the basics of good diet and exercise, what can you do? For more than 2,000 years, Chinese medicine has refined the use of meditation to build the body's life force. And the scientists agree. The well-documented effects of regular meditation include lowered blood pressure, less heart disease, decreased chronic pain, and increased mental clarity. Meditation is an indispensable tool for living a longer, richer life and avoiding the burnout that comes from constant stress.
How to Meditate in 3 Steps
Many people find the idea of meditation to be daunting. They think they do not have the time, saying, “Someday I will devote the time to study meditation.” Meditation is simple. You don’t need training and you don’t need to be alone in the mountains. You can learn it right now! All you need is a quiet place to sit and the curiosity to try for 10 minutes.
Step 1: Sit comfortably in a chair with your spine erect and both legs and thighs forming a ninety-degree angle with the ground, keeping your feet shoulder width apart – or sit in a cross-legged position.
Step 2: Close your eyes and breath as naturally as possible. After a few breaths, try breathing with your abdomen only. Slowly, your breath will deepen as you practice.
Step 3: Begin to quiet your mind. Of course, the thoughts will come – and they will always be there. Don’t struggle against them. Let the thoughts come, but don’t dwell on them. Keep relaxing, and bring your consciousness back to your breath. If you have trouble concentrating, focus on one thing, a word or a mantra that can invoke a calming effect within you.
That’s really all there is to it!
Stress, often called “the silent killer,” is the root of many illnesses, from high blood pressure and heart disease to cancer and depression. Release the tension build up with this simple stress-release meditation, which you can do in 15 minutes.
- Sit comfortably or lie down on your back. Slow your respiration to deep, abdominal breathing. Utter the word “calm” in your mind with every exhalation. You will be visualizing the relaxation of a body part and releasing tension with every exhalation. Trace the following three pathways outlined below. Start on top of your head. Inhale and then exhale while visualizing your scalp muscles relaxing. Say “calm” in your mind. Repeat this with each body part as you move down through your face, throat, chest, stomach, abdomen, thighs, knees, legs, ankles and feet. When you’ve relaxed your feet, visualize all the tension in your body leaving through your toes as dark smoke.
- Start from the temples of your head. This path focuses on the sides and upper extremities. Inhale and then exhale while visualizing your temple muscles relaxing. Say the word “calm” in your mind. Repeat this with each body part as you move down through your jaws, the sides of your neck, shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists and hands. Once you’ve relaxed your hands, visualize all the tension leaving your body via your fingertips as dark smoke.
- The final pathway begins on the back of your head. This path relaxes the back side of your body. Repeat the breathing-visualization-word routine as you go from the back of your neck to your upper back, middle back, lower back, back of thighs, calves and heels.