Meditation has been used for thousands of years to calm the mind and body and to achieve a greater sense of well-being. Researchers who have studied its effects on people with high blood pressure report that meditation reduces oxygen consumption, respiration and heart rates, and blood pressure.
There are many forms of meditation with varying goals. The simplest to practice is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness means being fully aware of the present moment. It means being completely focused on the task at hand, without any thought about the future or past. This may sound simple, but try it! You will soon discover that your mind is full of "monkey chatter!"
Sit erect with your legs crossed in a comfortable position and your hands on your knees or lying in your lap. Support yourself with pillows, if necessary, or lie down flat with your legs hip-width apart and your arms at your sides with the palms of your hands facing upward.
Close your eyes. Remain quiet for a few moments, relaxing your whole body, and listen to the sounds around you. Gradually focus your attention on your breathing. In-out. In-out. Breathe naturally in-out. In-out.
As you breathe in, allow your abdomen to expand, forcing the air to the bottom of your lungs. As you breathe out, pull your abdomen in, forcing the air to empty completely from your lungs. Stay focused on breathing, and gradually allow your breathing to become slower and longer.
Notice the pause between breaths. Notice the silence. Feel the peace.
It is normal for thoughts to come into your head and distract you. As soon as you realize this is happening, return your attention to your breathing.
Practice this simple meditation for at least fifteen minutes. Then lie quietly for a few minutes. Get up and reward yourself with a hot cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or kava kava. Over time, your meditation practice will naturally become longer.
February 6, 2007
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, March 13, 2007.
Copyright 2011 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.