THE HEALTH OF YOUR HEART IS SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. PERHAPS EVEN SOMETHING TO MEDITATE ON?
When it comes to heart health, most of us know the basics; exercise is important, smoking is terrible, and eating a well balanced diet that includes lots of plant and not a lot of saturated fat, is key. One area that many of us tend to dismiss however, is how our stress levels can impact our ticker, too.
This mind-body practice produces a deep state of relaxation and tranquility, both of which we could all use more of in our fast-paced lives. Mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, but it can literally help calm you down by decreasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol circulating in your bloodstream. Regular meditation has been shown to offer significant benefits that can better your beating heart, including lowering blood pressure, reducing depression episodes, and lowering rates of heart attack, stroke and death. It has also been used to treat hypertension, one of the primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
So what exactly is meditation? In short, it is the simple practice of becoming aware of the present moment and letting go of distracting thoughts. It is holding time and space for yourself to breathe and just be. Cultivating a sense of connectivity to not only your true self, but also to the world around you, whether through acute awareness of your surroundings, or by tapping into the direct line of energy that hooks you into the universe and all of its greatness, is the essence of this ancient practice. Sound intriguing, albeit tough? Well the great news is, there are many different techniques you can try, that range from meditations with movement such as walking in nature or doing yoga, to guided meditation, mantra, mindfulness, Qi gong, or Tai chi. You needn’t sign up for a class, or invest a ton of money in order to get started! The relationship you have with our body is the most intimate one we have, so why not show yourself the love you deserve, and honor your heart with some one-onone time today.
‘Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”
First, get comfortable. Find a comfortable seated position either in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, making sure that your body is fully supported. Keep your posture strong, but your body relaxed. Notice your heart beating in your chest. Close your eyes. Try the 100 breaths technique. Take 100 breaths in and out. Count them, and try not to think about anything else.
Or, set a timer. For your first time, perhaps just set a clock for five minutes. Sit and breathe, perhaps imagining something steady like the flicker of a candle’s flame to focus on. Or maybe just notice how your belly expands as you inhale, and the way the warm air feels as it passes across your upper lip as you exhale. Do this until the timer goes off, and then notice how you feel. Maybe next time set the clock for a little longer, eventually working up to sitting for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
You will feel calmer, less stressful and your heart will be stronger.
Are you having a little trouble meditating on your own or need a little guidance? Check out YogaGlo’s video selection of meditation classes. Start slow then work your way into longer, more advanced stages of mediation by filtering the types of classes you want to see.
Check it out here: www.yogaglo.com/video-Style-15- Meditation.html