De-Stress and Relax with Meditation
● By Christy Milan
Peaceful, Easy Feeling
By Christy Milan
The holidays are over and it is time to take a step back and re-energize ourselves for the coming year. How do you still your mind after the rush of holiday activities? How do you slow down after being in full gear for so long? How do you instill energy and peacefulness? It is possible with a little practice and guidance using the ancient techniques of meditation.
Meditation has been practiced throughout history in China and India and continues to be practiced throughout the world. The word meditation is derived from Latin, meaning “to think or contemplate.” It has been likened to training for the mind, much like an athlete trains the body. It brings about a peacefulness of the mind and relaxes the muscles.
Some may be under the false impression that meditation needs to have a religious connection. While this is true in some meditations, many others simply promote relaxation
and develop various emotions or characteristics. Some of these types of meditations include:
• Mindfulness-based stress reduction: Uses breath awareness and body scans.
• Transcendental meditation: Uses a mantra to help focus meditation.
• Guided visualization: Emphasizes one goal by using the imagination to help relax.
• Qi Gong: Oldest form, uses breath to circulate energy and helps reactions to stress.
• Walking: Meditation with action, focus on walking and surroundings.
Whichever you may choose to try, the meditation needs to be comfortable and simple to help ensure your success. You should continue the practice daily, and the right approach for you will create the result you need. This is the time for you to relax and breathe while connecting
Relaxation may not be the goal; however, it is a result. Dr. Herbert Benson researched meditation at Harvard University and coined the term “relaxation response.” Studies have documented some short-term benefits to the nervous system as a result. Such benefits include:
• Deeper relaxation
• Improved blood circulation
• Slower respiratory rate
• Less anxiety
• Feelings of well-being
• Less stress
• Lower blood pressure
• Lower heart rate
• Less perspiration
• Lower blood cortisol levels
Researchers are now exploring long-term benefits. They have recognized positive effects on the brain and the immune system – however, the goal of meditation is not to achieve these benefits. The goal of meditation is to be present and aware.
Redding may soon have its own meditation garden located near the Sundial Bridge. Funds are being raised to bring the world’s third Tai Chi court to the North State (the others are in Maryland and Texas). Redding Tai Chi has partnered with Turtle Bay Exploration Park and the Shasta County Arts Council to work to create a meditation garden, which would be available for people of all ages. The design is the yin and yang symbol. The project will bring art and nature together and create a uniqueness that is sure to inspire visitors.
Finding guidance can be helpful during your meditation process, and local classes are offered for a more personal connection. Many apps, meditation videos and music are also available.
Spend this time for yourself and reap the rewards. Being healthy is more than diet. Find your mind-body connection made possible through meditation.
Find the Redding Tai Chi Meditation Garden Project on Facebook