Just Breathe

April 12, 2017 | Green Living

Just Breathe

How meditation can improve your quality of life

Originally an ancient Buddhist technique, meditation has evolved into countless fields of non-religious therapies and wellness practices. Effects of increased awareness and decreased stress levels are some of the obvious benefits of meditation but scientists have only recently introduced the use of neuroimaging and scientific analysis to measure the physiological effects in greater detail.

Studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of meditation 4-7 times a week can significantly increase mental strength, promote emotional intelligence and improve heart rate whilst helping to prevent emotional eating and depression.
A study from Harvard Medical School concluded that after practicing meditation and yoga, the participants had increased mitochondrial energy production and resiliency. This improvement builds a stronger immune system and resilience to stress.

Follow these easy steps to begin integrating basic mediation into your wellness routine. Enhanced breath work and techniques may be also introduced which can be quite helpful, however for beginners this is an easy guide to begin your personal practice.

Environment
For basic practice at home, choose a quiet room to set up a mat or towel or cushion. Lights should be dim or use daylight only and turn off all electronics (soft music is ok).

Meditation pose
The position of the body is a personal decision; some people prefer to sit cross-legged with the hands resting on the legs, while others like to lie down on the back with lengthened out legs and arms. Props such as a meditation cushion or a soft pillow, yoga mat; large beach towels and yoga blocks can make the experience quite enjoyable.

Practice
Being mindful can be natural and rewarding. It may feel awkward at first however over time your meditation practice may become a powerful tool in your health program.

Start with listening to the sound of each breath. As you inhale deeply feel the breath as it enters the nostrils and makes its way into the chest and then exhale with the same awareness.

When the focus drifts away, start to breathe deeper and try again to draw it back to the breath.

End the session when feels right for you.