Meditation Does A Body Good!
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, but it was only in this century that Western doctors discovered its many physiological benefits. In the 1960s, the Indian guru who popularized Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, asked Harvard Medical School’s Herbert Benson, M.D. to test followers. Benson’s findings since conclude that meditation:
- decreases respiratory rate, heart rate and elevated blood pressure, culminating in what Benson terms “the relaxation response.” (Physiological effects were diametrically opposed to those of the body’s fight-or-flight response)
- relieves muscle tension when combined with progressive relaxation.
- causes stress hormones in the blood to drop.
- boosts immunity.
- is more restful than a nap -it causes oxygen consumption (a measure of how hard the body is working) to drop more than it does when you sleep.
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at you feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.
2. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of each inhalation and exhalation, but don’t force deep breaths. As you breathe out, silently say the word “one.” Breathe easily and naturally, and continue for 10-20 minutes.
3. When your thoughts inevitably wander, direct your attention back to breathing and repeating “one.”
excerpted from Shape magazine