Meditation – Where do I begin?
Before you begin your meditation set up a quiet area in your home. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position. This could be the lotus position, with your legs crossed or any other seated posture you feel relaxed in. It is important, however, to keep the spine as straight as possible. You can sit on a pillow, chair or even have your back against a wall. Now gently close your eyes and begin to focus on nothing, but breathing in and out.
Try to breath from your diaphragm or your lower abdominal area. Relax your shoulders and push up towards the ceiling with your head sitting up straight so energy can flow throughout your body. It may take a little practice to become comfortable sitting this way, but eventually it will become second nature. A strong posture is important in maintaining your physical and mental balance during your practice.
Place your hands in your lap with palms facing up, arms relaxed and the thumb lightly pressing against your forefinger. By doing this you create a circular flow of energy.
During your meditation practice it is important to focus on nothing but your breath. Breathe in and out as you normally would, but try to take the breath deeper into your abdominal area while focusing on each individual inhalation and exhalation. As thoughts enter your mind think of them as passing train cars slowly moving through your head. The train car (thought) comes in one ear and leaves through the other ear. .Just let these thoughts go by. Trust me those same thoughts will still be there when you end your mediation practice. You can address them at that time. With consistent practice these thoughts will eventually slow down and ultimately cease to exist, instilling a sense of tranquility and serenity. This is a primary goal of meditation to slow down your mind and thinking process so you can think clearer and with much better focus.
As your mind relaxes you will deepen your awareness of inner experiences while worries and tensions of the mind are washed away. Meditation allows you to not only see the forest through the trees, but to see each and every leaf on each and every tree. This awareness will bring you much closer to truth. Meditation is a complete path because as your mind stills your sense of truth about your inner self, and, your outer life become much more vivid. It’s this state of being which allows your mind to be entirely free of thought and the true self to emerge and be revealed. There is strength and power in absolute truth and meditation is the path to achieving this goal.
What is the Mind /Body/ Spirit Philosophy
Self-care is all about balance. An exercise program should also be balanced. When we think of working out, or exercising, our natural inclination is to assume that it is just a physical activity. However, this thinking could not be farther from the truth. Every physical movement begins with an impulse or thought, which manifests in the brain, which in turn informs the muscular and skeletal system that it is time for them to perform some type of physical movement. In this sense the mind and body are intimately unified and must work together.
Now what about spirit? Our spirit could easily be referred to as our soul or self. It is our spirit or soul that ultimately determines our attitude, state of mind, personality, reactions to life events, and in general how we feel about ourselves and towards others. When we exercise if we are unhappy, depressed, stressed or angry doesn’t exercise affect our state of mind in some form or fashion? In many instances don’t we tend to feel better, more positive and less angry, frustrated or distressed? Conversely, if we exercise when we are happy and joyful doesn’t exercise also affect our state of mind positively? Either way exercise affects our attitude towards our self and towards others, which means exercise is a mind, body, spirit activity.
In this sense the Mind, Body, Spirit philosophy refers to how our body works together as a unit or as “one”. Each system is present, intimately involved when we partake in physical activity. In essence it is vital that we are aware of this process and address this fact.
There are several physical activities that affect our spirit more than other as well. Meditation is probably one of the best ways to clear the mind of excess garbage and junk thinking. Massage therapy is another excellent way to relax the mind, body and spirit. Yoga practice is yet another great way to reduce stress while merging the mind, body and spirit.
Connecting the mind, body and spirit will create the right balance and motivate you to reach your desired fitness goals. This balance will complement the effort you put into your physical workouts. Staying fit in body, mind and spirit is paramount to a healthy lifestyle.