With practice, anyone can harness the power of meditation to improve their physical and spiritual well-being. Improving the health of your heart is one benefit of meditation.Meditation advocate and recognized psychic Eric Pepin says, “Millions of people around the world are practicing some form of meditation.” He continues by describing some of the health benefits of meditation. These include:Increases in energy, restful sleep, resistance to stress, youthful hormone activity, emotional stability and happiness, and learning and memory.Decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, aging, anxiety and depression, irritability, and free radical damage.In his book, “The Handbook of the Navigator,” Pepin further describes meditation as a way to reach a higher level of consciousness that exists in all of us. He elaborates that “Our higher consciousness is the truest form of what we are,” and that “the higher consciousness … is our most complete consciousness.”Meditation can be practiced alone, in groups, or by one individual guiding another individual. It can be used to tap creative, imaginative areas of the brain. Some people meditate to relieve everyday stresses. Others use meditation to guide physical processes.Meditation boasts many styles and applications. Its fundamental principles affect the heart and mind in connected ways. For example, if you use meditation to quit an unhealthy habit such as smoking or overeating, your decreased stress and blood pressure are results that evolve as you practice. You may experience better sleep and increased energy, which contribute to your ability to control your lifestyle habits.So, how do we learn to tap those different brain waves, and consciousness states?Meditation is as instinctual as breathing or sleeping. If you have ever intentionally calmed yourself while driving in a blizzard, or counted sheep to fall asleep, then you have meditated.Just as you respond to everyday stresses, practicing those responses will unleash your meditative skills. Let’s consider an exercise to relieve stress and benefit your heart.If you are new to meditation, you may prefer a quiet, spacious place that is free of noise and clutter.Sit comfortably or lie down, and start to observe the qualities of your breath. Breathing slower is a great way to begin.Many meditations involve imagery, and connecting the breath to nature. As your breath slows, and relaxation deepens, you may imagine your breath sweeping through you like the wind, or flowing over you like a river.Continue your meditation by imagining that you are visiting a comforting place. As you journey there, involve your senses by seeing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and tasting every detail of that soothing place.As you end any meditation, capture your sense of peace within you, holding it in your body like a gift. Then your clearer mind and relaxed body will be better equipped to face the world.Nina Schnipper offers personal fitness training and massage therapy throughout the valley, and can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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