By Lara Gates, Marketing Coordinator, Back to Health
My meditation practice began a few years ago. (Longer if you count the five minutes spent in savasana during weekly yoga practice - but I don’t.) If you’ve been to a yoga class or read an online article about the practice of meditation you already know a bit of what it’s about. But in case you’re not yet ready to breathe yourself to a calmer headspace, the team at Back to Health wants to open up the conversation.
You’re doing so many things to prioritize your wellness, from chiropractic, to drinking enough water and moving often. But if you aren’t meditating you may be ignoring an easy and free way to enhance the health of your body and your mind.
Some days savasana is the hardest pose in a yoga class. The English translation of savasana is “corpse pose.” Yogis lie on our mats perfectly still and just breathe. It’s not a forced breath or any magical posture that brings the calm. It’s the act of giving ourselves permission to do nothing and then observing what comes up.
Meditation isn’t an act of not thinking. My first yoga instructor (and former BTH massage therapist), Marty, used to say we should observe our thoughts in savasana like passing clouds. See them but don’t try to hold onto them. Don’t judge them. Some days this is a relief and some days it is a struggle. But everyday it is worth doing.
As a Christian, sometimes I take flack from fellow church-goers for the “woo woo” philosophy that yoga and meditation can be straddled with. When I first discovered yoga I asked a women whom I respect who was also a Christian and a Yogi (and fellow patient of Dr. Brian) what she thought about this. Her answer was very impactful. She said, “When you open up that space you need to be careful what comes in.” This is the case no matter what form of stimulus you allow into your space - TV, radio or negative people.
When we sit quietly in prayer and meditation the important skill is listening. And it doesn’t have to take a long time. Many days before I pick up my teens from school I give myself two minutes of meditation to clear my head so that I am focused on them and not my busy day when they board my mom-mobile. I turn off the radio (and usually turn on my seat heater) and put the car in park for just 120 seconds. Sometimes I close my eyes, but usually I focus gently on the Arizona views. Those 20 breaths are simple but they make me feel like I am ready for whatever comes next. When I’m multitasking or hurrying from one responsibility to the next, I can miss the eye contact or body language that teen boys are sending out. These mini-meditations help me stay “with” my family. Yogi’s call this being present or mindful.
Both of my sons have attended Tracy’s yoga class in the past. One of them remarked one day that his brain is too loud to practice yoga sometimes. As a mom, his apt description was both convicting and heartbreaking. And yet that loud inner voice is a great reason to meditate (not a reason not to). It takes practice and repetition. And as Tracy says in her yoga classes at BTH, some days we can do a pose without any struggle and some days that pose is more challenging. This is true for meditation as well.
Meditation adopters say it lowers their heart rate, lessens anxiety, helps with insomnia and many other physical benefits. And for me it has. But I my biggest take-away has been more mental. Through meditation I have become more self-aware, learning to act instead of react to situations in life. And I have noticed that I go into activities with fewer expectations (and consequently fewer disappointments) when I’m keeping up with a meditation practice.
At Back to Health we’re committed to helping you achieve your best health through chiropractic care, functional training, yoga, nutrition and massage. We hope you’ll continue to be mindful with us and consider adding meditation to your daily routine.
Meanwhile, let us know your experience with meditation and prayer in the comments.
Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
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