The Power of Meditation
Updated: May 10
Meditation has been used for centuries to enhance relaxation, mindfulness, and health. Today, it is gaining popularity as more and more people seek ways to reduce stress and improve their health. Wade into Fitness teaches meditation techniques and routinely incorporates meditation into each fitness session. When practiced regularly, meditation can have numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.
A meditation technique often used by Wade into Fitness is Box Breathing. It is a simple and effective technique that involves breathing in for a count of four, pausing the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and pausing the breath for a count of four. This cycle is repeated for several minutes focusing on your breath. The focus of this allows us to anchor in the present moment and shut out stressors, increases breath awareness and oxygenation, and the rhythmic cyclical pattern is soothing - all of these coming together to calm and relax our mind and body.
Visualization is a meditation technique that involves imagining a peaceful scene, such as a beach or forest. We go deeper than just the image of a sanctuary of calm and focus on the details of the scene like imagining the sound of the waves or smelling the trees. Allow yourself to become fully immersed in the scene and feel a sense of restful presence and relaxation.
Eliminating external and internal meditation distractions is a focus challenge for everyone who practices meditation. There are techniques that can help us deal with the reality that distractions will try to come into our meditation time, but not allow the distraction to take over our mind's resources by getting "carried away" on a different train of thought/focus from our mediation. Here's one. 1) Notice/recognize we have drifted and are hearing or thinking about something else. 2) Affirm that this time is set aside to be separate from external distractions or internal 'to do' list, negative thoughts, etc. 3) Separate ourselves from the distraction by conceptualizing it as something like a train. Observe it without judgement or the necessity of involvement. Envision the train cars passing by. No need to get on the train or dwell on it, just watch with curiosity until it travels out of sight. In this way we acknowledge the reality of the intrusion but do not allow it derail our peaceful meditation.
There are many meditation techniques that can aid in relaxation and result in a benefit to your overall health. The following benefits may be realized when meditation is practiced on a regular basis:
Reduce stress: Meditation has been shown to reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can help you feel more relaxed and calm.
Lower blood pressure: Research suggests that regular meditation can lower blood pressure, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Improve sleep: Meditation can help you fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer, which can improve your overall health and well-being.
Reduce anxiety and depression: Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which can help you feel more relaxed and content.
Enhance focus and concentration: By training the mind to focus on the present moment, meditation can improve concentration and focus, which can lead to increased productivity and overall well-being.
Boost immune system: Studies suggest that meditation can boost the immune system, which can help protect against illness and disease.
Meditation is a powerful tool for promoting relaxation and health. By practicing regularly, you can experience the many benefits of this ancient practice and improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Each Wade into Fitness session usually ends with a period of meditation.