Mental and emotional health are vital aspects of life that are deeply interconnected to our physical health. For many of us our mental health is being challenged with social distancing and the forced reflection and reality of our day to day lives and collective experience. Meditation offers a window into various perceptions and layers of the self and the ways we construct and express our identity, strengthening and benefiting mental and physical wellness.
Meditation is a broad term for many mindful and contemplative practices. Each meditative practice elicits different responses and powerful, long-term benefits. While mediation has amazing physical and mental health benefits, the overall intention is to become more aware; to learn about ourselves so we can make authentic and healthy choices moving forward as the person we wish to be, break free of our habits, and live with a deeper sense of connection and harmony.
We can sit down and relax for few minutes and take a few breaths to feel calmer and alert. However, it is likely you’ll find yourself habitually reacting or overreacting to an event ten minutes later. Reaping the benefits of meditation requires effort and regular practice.
10 SCIENTIFICALLY SUPPORTED LONG-TERM BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
1. Calming Effect:
A mindful meditation practice helps to regulate the body’s stress response while activating the peripheral nervous system. This leads to slower heart rate, lower breathing rate, drop in blood pressure, and a sense of calm and peace
2. Improved Focus and Memory:
Meditation allows us to practice moving into deeper states of awareness and mental clarity and focus. This is necessary to consolidate long-term memories. Research demonstrates that as we learn to focus more, the brain region critical to learning and memory, called the hippocampus increases in volume.
3. Drop in Systemic Inflammation:
The more stressful our life, the more inflammation is coursing through our body and the more our energy is used as a stress response rather than for healing and rejuvenating. The body’s stress and inflammatory pathways are connected and stress is a large factor in overall immunity and health. As we meditate, the stress response down-regulates and shifts the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. This results in a drop in cortisol release and suppression of inflammatory cytokines.
4. Improved Coping Skills:
A consistent meditation practice has been shown to quiet and even shrink the amygdala, the fear center in our brain. This releases fear, worry, and even anger. When we are constantly taxing sympathetic nervous system, we trigger hormonal and physiological responses that drive mental and physical stress. Meditation helps us to access the PSNS (para-sympathetic nervous system) and get out of a constant state of flight or fight,our reactive and impulsive way of being ,and become more mentally and physically adaptable to life’s inevitable changes.
5. Living in the Present:
Meditation teaches us to be right where we are. It takes us to another level of awareness beyond the hamster wheel, monkey mind. We learn to recognize when we are living in stories of the past or imaginations of the future, allowing us to tune into the present where life’s magic happens.
6. Cultivating Compassion:
Practicing meditation impacts the compassion area of the brain called the anterior insular cortex, helping to create empathy and compassion for our self and others. This level of awareness impacts how we connect with others and has been shown to lead to more altruistic acts.
7. Creating Happiness:
Meditation releases feel-good happiness molecules! This includes serotonin, dopamine, GABA, endorphins, DHEA, and oxytocin which all contribute to improved mood, a sense of motivation, and a more relaxed state
8. Upgrades in Neurocircuitry:
Meditation helps us rewire our brain circuitry. Through neuroplasticity, we can create new synaptic connections and release old habitual thought patterns that no longer serve us. Often our patterns result in neuromuscular conditioning so meditation can also have profound result on the physical patterns of tension and stress in the muscles, organs, and functional systems within the body such as digestion and sleep patterns.
9. Enhanced Creativity:
Meditation allows us to relax, focus, and flow with what is before us. Through consistent practice, we will become more open to insight and intuition which leads to a boost in self-confidence and self expression.
The ultimate reward of a meditation practice is to evolve who we are. It is about becoming more intimate with our own lives.
*3 WEEK BEGINNER'S MEDITATION COURSE *
STARTS THURS 4/16
The course will consist of 3 Thursday evening sessions and 2 Saturday classes that will be recorded and sent to those unable to make our live zoom class times. Each class will focus on one form of meditation and may include aspects of sound work, visualization, breathwork and gentle movement. *Donation Fee offered for those in need
We will go over practices such as
vipassana (buddhist meditation)
trataka (single pointed meditation)
meditation with mantra
chakra balancing with sound and visualization
yoga nidra (deep release and relaxation)
Classes will be hosted live on zoom and recordings will be available for those who cannot make the live class sessions
3 Thursdays (4/16, 4/23, 4/30 7:30-8:15pm)
2 Sunday (4/19 6:15-7:00am & 4/26 8:30-9:15am)
This course will guide you through meditative practices and help you determine which practices best suit you, providing you options to draw upon in your daily practice when the course concludes.