Calmly meditating produces exciting, beneficial effects on your body. It can protect your DNA against cancer-promoting genetic developments and free you from everyday stresses and distractions. That’s why meditation is one of the most powerful, but often neglected, tools for maintaining optimal health.
Most of us don’t think of meditation as being important in maintaining physical vitality. We know that healthy diet, proper supplementation, regular exercise, and a positive social support system are important for our health on all levels — physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. However, despite these healthy habits, many of us still struggle with managing our stress levels. Science is proving over and over that chronic stress can be deadly, contributing to our most serious health conditions.
This direct mind-body connection is something that Eastern philosophies have taught for millennia, and recent research has supplied us with a revealing new technical perspective. Clinical studies demonstrate that chronic stress may have a profound effect on our DNA by shortening our DNA telomeres. Telomere deterioration puts us at higher risk of developing cancer and other harmful conditions. The good news: There’s an ancient and well-known mind-body practice which is now proving successful in physically repairing this telomere DNA damage, while restoring peace of mind at the same time. What is this practice? Simple meditation.
What Are Telomeres?
Our genes are located on twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres. These are essentially caps that protect our genetic data, allow for cells to divide properly and reflect how we age. Similar to the plastic covers on the ends of shoelaces, telomeres protect chromosomes from fraying due to aging, poor health and environmental influences. Telomeres are shortened every time the cells divide; and when they become too short, the cells are not able to divide properly. While researchers are already aware that telomeres shorten and deteriorate with aging, new studies demonstrate that chronic stress also contributes to their reduction. Further research shows that as telomeres shrink, cancer risk grows.
Meditation Protects Telomeres
The inevitable wear and tear of your telomeres cannot be halted altogether, but it can certainly be delayed and even reversed through the activation of a key enzyme called telomerase. Telomerase protects the ends of telomeres from weakening and fraying. So how do you reap the benefits of this super-charged enzyme? Studies show that psychological changes associated with regular meditation improve your ability to cope with stress and contribute to increased telomerase activity.
Simple Practice for Beginners
If you’re not sure how to begin meditating, studies show that even just 10 minutes a day can provide significant mental, emotional and physical health benefits. Here’s a simple technique to get you started: Simply sit quietly and focus your attention, as well as your breathing, on a particular object such as a small stone. As thoughts and emotions arise, simply acknowledge and release them, bringing your attention back to your breath. As your practice unfolds, you may find that there is more and more space between your internal monologues, allowing for a sense of openness and freedom from everyday stresses and distractions. This is where the meditation and healing process truly begins. Initially, you should notice tangible benefits like better mental focus, improved emotional balance and increased energy.
Meditation and Healing Retreat
My own two-year meditation sabbatical has been profound for me, and it is my deepest desire to share what I have learned during my upcoming meditation and healing retreat, this April 2012. This retreat will offer a rare, in-depth opportunity to learn and experience my techniques for deepening the mind-body connection and facilitating long-lasting regeneration and healing.
My retreat will feature:
• Daily interactive workshops sharing unique methods and tools for healing, transformation and regeneration
• Daily guided meditation sessions specific to healing
• Healing sessions woven into the meditation practices, including short individual hands-on healing with support from the entire group
• Daily yoga and Qi Gong classes which will emphasize the connections between posture, movement, breathing, meditation and our specific detoxification organs and channels
• Delicious, fresh organic meals
• Time for rest, reflection and immersion in a gorgeous natural setting highlighting the beauty of the spring season
During this retreat, I will guide participants through the practical aspects of meditation and healing, based on my extensive experience in the field combined with insights and techniques I’ve gained from years of dedicated meditation practice.
Meditation Can Benefit Anyone
No matter your age, health or belief system, simple regular meditation practice can benefit you on all levels. More and more doctors and health practitioners are recommending this ancient, time-tested practice; and meditation now holds a well-deserved, positive reputation in the medical field. It is a simple yet powerful and safe modality for supporting health, preventing illness and increasing overall quality of life. For information on my upcoming meditation and healing retreat held April 26-29, 2012 in Sonoma County California, visit www.dreliaz.org/events.