Why is Meditation so important?
Meditation will continue to make the top of the list of daily exercises necessary to promote physical and mental health and wellness. It doesn’t have to be as daunting and boring as it stands. We need to encourage our bodies to let go of the stress that accumulates and hinders us on a daily basis. The best to halt our worrying minds is simple – Stop and meditate.
A study published in the Management Science journal carried out by Stanford and Harvard graduates, estimated the increased mortality and healthcare costs due to 10 workplace stressors, such as job insecurity, lack of health insurance, long hours, etc. “We find that more than 120,000 deaths per year and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs are associated with and may be attributable to how U.S. companies manage their work forces” 1
The American Journal of Psychiatry published research showing a meditation program effectively reduces the symptoms of anxiety and panic, even in those with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or panic disorder with agoraphobia.2 The Mayo Clinic promotes that meditation may improve certain medical conditions.
Begin with just 10 minutes a day. You can download Headspace for a daily 10-minute guided meditation or you can try this 1-minute meditation technique and perform that daily for 10 minutes.
Qi Gong and Tai Chi are two types of exercise that involve body movements that increase energy. They are very low impact and people of all ages and abilities can participate. Consider picking up a DVD and giving it a try. You will notice a difference in your energy, mental clarity, and a more restful sleep with regular practice.
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb
What are some quick and easy exercises I can do to improve my body’s function?
The Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana) is a great mid-morning stretch of the legs and back that can help reduce the chronic tightness that most of us have. While in this position you want to really let your head and neck to hang as you bend at the hips. If you cannot bend that far forward, you may place a chair in front of you, which will also help you keep your balance. You can also modify this position by opening up your feet to hips width apart. If you experience back pain during this pose, bend your knees slightly. With every breath, go deeper and deeper into the stretch. Continue this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. You may even notice more mental alertness right away.
The Sun Salutation Sequence (Surya Namaskar) is a powerful yoga practice to enhance overall body strength and endurance. A study was conducted using 79 subject performing the sun salutation sequence twice a day, 6 days a week, for 24 weeks. The results not only showed an increase in arm and leg strength, but also a significant decrease in Body Fat Index (BMI)3. This 10 minute practice is best done at sunrise and sunset. This Sun Salutation Video is a great beginner video to learn how to perform the sequence.
Mayan abdominal massage daily. This is a lower abdominal massage that is easy to learn and can be accomplished while you are in the shower, before getting into the shower, or just before bed. This practice is good for increasing blood circulation to the uterus, particularly for those with fibroids, PCOS, or endometriosis, while at the same you are giving your womb some love. This can actually help strengthen prolapses. You can find YouTube videos demonstrating this simple and quick technique – I have found the one by Melissa M. Turner to be the easiest to follow.
1 Goh, J., Pfeffer, J., Zenios, S. “The relationship between workplace stressors and mortality and health costs in the United States.” Management Science, vol. 62, issue 2, 2015, pp. 608-628.
2 “Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 149, issue 7, 1992, pp. 936-943.
3 “How effective is sun salutation in improving muscle strength, general body endurance and body composition.” Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 2, issue 4, 2011, pp. 259-266.