In my last blog, I talked about a study that was conducted with Buddhist monks and the brain changes that happen to our brains during meditation. Today I want to continue talking about meditation because there have been studies to show that there are total body benefits as well. I never want to leave you with the impression that the mind and the body are separate because I know that they are completely integrated into every aspect of our being.
In the last article I focused on the study that my friend and I were talking about during our brunch conversation; in this article I want to focus on the benefits of meditation for our health and wellness. As we are able to use meditation to calm the mind we begin to change the hormones and chemicals that are released into our bodies--many of which have been implicated in many of the chronic diseases plaguing our people in the United States and all over our planet. So meditation becomes a way to prevent some of the hormones that can cause harm to our body during times of stress from being released.
NIH has a center for complementary and alternative medicine and they have produced a website that clearly defines meditation and gives general guidelines on how to use meditation for health reasons. I find it a good place to start if you are interested in learning more about what meditation is. It states that most forms of meditation have 4 central components: a quiet space to practice, a comfortable body position, focused attention, and open mind or attitude. From my own experience I would add a 5th component - deep breathing. I believe these to be a good basis for understanding meditation.
Meditation is a process that allows the mind a break from all the thoughts that travel in our brains from moment to moment. The practice of mediation can take many forms: seated meditation – sitting in a quiet state, moving meditations – like yoga or walking in nature, and mantra meditation – focusing and repeating one word, sound or phrase. The purpose is always to bring you to a deeper state of relaxation or peace. To help you connect to your higher source or power.