Molokai Fitness: Meditation
By Ayda Ersoy
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. It was originally developed to help form a deeper understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. Nowadays, it’s mostly used for decreasing stress and relaxation.
There are many things in life that are beyond our control, but it is possible to take responsibility for our own states of mind. I call meditation “listening.” Hearing your inner voice and finding a connection between the outer you and the inner you.
Do you meditate? If the answer is no, why not? You don’t have the time? You have no space to sit quietly and focus? Or you don’t know how to meditate? Keep reading — and maybe after you read this, you’d like to try.
First, why do we need to meditate? We need to be aware of “now.” In the 1970s, Dr. Herbert Benson, a researcher at Harvard University Medical School, did work on thousands of patients and showed some of the benefits of meditation to the nervous system, including lower blood pressure, improved circulation, lower heart rate, less anxiety and stress, lower blood cortisol levels (this is the stress hormone, lower levels will also help you lose weight faster) and increased feelings of well-being.
Dr. Benson developed the Relaxation Response — you may like to learn more at relaxationresponse.org.
Think for a moment: if you’re talking all the time, can you hear other people talking to you? I don’t think so. So when you’re thinking all the time, can you hear your own inner voice?
You need to take time for yourself. Just stop, and be quiet so you may hear all the different voices around you. This will help you stay calm, and you’ll be much more present. Though Molokai is known to be laid back, most of the time we are so busy, it’s as though we’re often living our lives on auto-pilot. Every day is the same, and we don’t realize how fast time goes.
Also, when you relax, your body will start to repair itself. You will have much more energy.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do hours of meditation. You don’t even need to sit down. When you meditate, you just need to let your mind be free. Maybe put on some quiet music, or just focus on your breathing. You can do it in five minutes a day. For the first few days, you may find that you can’t focus well, but if you try regularly you will see it getting much easier.
Studies even show that you can meditate effectively when you are cooking, reading, gardening or walking, just by being present. You will see the same benefits as you would get from a sitting meditation. Just pay attention to what you are doing. Concentrate and focus just on what you are doing, nothing else.
It really is that simple! You may like to try and let me know how it goes. Inhale peace, exhale love.