The holiday season, while full of bright spirits and cheer can often always be filled with stress and anxiety. A great way to help keep stress and anxiety at bay is to meditate on a regular basis. A recent article in Fast Company even shared information about how recent studies have shown that meditation can change your DNA! But just in case you haven’t fully read all of the health reasons to meditate, here is a synopsis of just some of the short term benefits to the nervous system:
- lower blood pressure
- improved blood circulation
- lower heart rate
- less perspiration
- slower respiratory rate
- less anxiety
- improves concentration
- more feelings of well-being
- deeper relaxation lowers blood cortisol levels
- less stress
While guests of The Lodge at Woodloch can hone their practice or try something new with the wide array of meditation options, others might want to try it in the comfort of their own homes. Some of the unique meditation practices offered at The Lodge at Woodloch include Inner Smile Meditation, Walking Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Breath and Change Your Life, Chi Gong, Deep Healing Chi Gong, Healing Sounds Meditation, Mantra Meditation and Meditation to Quiet the Mind among others. No matter what the practice, one of the most important components of successful meditation practice is to find a form that is comfortable for your own mindset and physical needs. We thought we would share some of our best expert tips on meditation from Fitness Expert Alicia Shook:
- A seated posture works so well—it’s simple enough so you don’t have to keep fussing over it. It’s solid. It’s restful. And if you doze off, eventually you’ll start to fall forward and wake yourself up. Sit up high enough so your knees are lower than your hip bones. Slightly lower the chin and lift the back of the skull to create space at the base of the occiput, where the head meets the neck. This gesture slightly lowers your forebrain, helping to cool the mind. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs or knees. If you face the palms down, you’ll feel more grounded; if you turn them up, you’ll feel more energized. If your neck or shoulders feel strained, try resting the hands on a cushion placed in your lap. By aligning the spine and opening the channels that run through the center of the body, upright sitting encourages an unimpeded circulation of energy, which, in turn, contributes to wakefulness on all levels — physical, mental, and spiritual. Besides, it’s a lot easier to sit still for extended periods of time when your vertebrae are stacked like a pile of bricks, one on top of the other. Start small with 3-5 minutes (or less).
- Begin every practice by breathing deeply, slowly inhaling and then exhaling and focusing solely on your breath. Let go of any and all frustrations.
- Concentrate! Try to redirect your attention back to your point of focus without criticizing yourself. Beginning meditators often think the goal of meditation is to get to the point that they can focus without becoming distracted. A more useful goal is becoming aware of when your mind has drifted sooner.
- Try to pick a room in your house that is free from a lot of outside noise or distractions; preferably, pick a room with minimal electronics. Set up a peaceful space. Consider having dim or no lights and burning some candles. Burning a little bit of incense or diffusing some calming essential oils (such as lavender) can help your mind and body to feel relaxed and at ease
- Make sure to not be distracted. Let your family, friends or roommates know that you will be busy for the allotted amount of time and to not disrupt you, put your phone on silent.
Experiment with Different Techniques
There are so many different ways to meditate, there are: breath techniques, guided meditations, transcendental meditation, chakra, candle meditation the list goes on. Make your practice your own.