Improve your health in 20 minutes a day

Find your way back to balance with a simple practice that requires you to do nothing at all

The whole idea of meditation can be intimidating.

If you’ve never done it before, you may think you need to “learn how” or “do it right” to feel the benefits. This way of thinking keeps countless people from getting started, and it just isn’t true.

Simply taking 10 or 20 minutes to sit quietly without distractions is highly beneficial for your health and your state of mind. Taking this time out of our busy schedules may seem counter-intuitive in a culture that reveres multitaskingbut the benefits are worth it.

Balance equals health

In Eastern medicine, balance in all aspects of our lives keeps us healthy and prevents disease. In the past, this balanced life was the norm and people understood the importance of doing things in moderation, from diet and physical activity to social and spiritual pursuits. When things in life become too deficient or excessive, it throws the system out of whack, and that is when disease tends to creep in.

When this happens, Eastern medicine has various tools to help bring the body back to a state of balance, such as acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion, gua-shaand you don’t (Chinese medical massage). But at the end of the day, living a balanced life is the key to staying healthy.

lose our balance

Today, many of us live unbalanced lives in an increasingly unstable world. Finding the balance enjoyed by our ancestors becomes more difficult as our lives become more complex. Compared to even a generation or two ago, we work more and have fewer social ties, cities grow larger as nature shrinks, and people struggle to meet their basic needs as we move further and further apart. more of the balance essential to our health and well-being. .

So what can we do? We cannot change the world around us, but we can change our reaction to it. The nature of balance is that it is calm. Rather than wild fluctuations or extreme tilts, it is a state of balance.

One of the ways to find that balance—that balance that keeps us aligned and happy—is to slow down, sit down, and Listen to our body. Tune in to yourself. It is often a first step towards calming the mind and reaching a quiet meditative state.

If you’re one of those people who can’t imagine sitting still and trying to calm your mind, you may need to start by doing something gentle but engaging, a sort of moving meditation.

moving meditation

Although it’s not always considered meditation, there are a variety of ways to relax the mind and calm the body.

For some, walking is a wonderful form of healing meditation. For others, painting, cooking or gardening is a way to relax. I like to define meditation as being in a state of complete harmony and flow, although others define it more in terms of the stillness one achieves through meditative practice.

Although moving forms of meditation can still the mind, many people believe that a deeper form of stillness is only possible when the mind and body are still and our awareness is no longer preoccupied with normal human activities, but rather open to a new experience of itself.

Still meditation

Many meditators describe meditation as a state of deep stillness where the mind ceases its normal mode of thinking and seems to enter a different state of consciousness. People often describe meditation as being completely connected to the universe in a state of bliss where time disappears.

Meditation is usually done in a seated position, often with the legs crossed. There are many different meditation poses associated with different spiritual traditions. The best known of these is perhaps seated in a lotus position, legs bent over each other, hands clasped on the knees forming a circle, or separated, each arm resting on the knee and the palms facing upwards. high.

Some meditation practices use mantras to give the mind focus so it can drown out all other thoughts. Others direct attention to your breath or to a specific set of ideas or thoughts. In all these practices, however, the goal is to calm the mind. Those who meditate regularly say the experience alters their consciousness throughout their normal lives, making them more self-aware, kind, calm, and in control.

The challenge

Your mind will inevitably wander as you meditate, especially at first. If you’ve never meditated and are normally a busy thinker, your mind will be everywhere. It’s called monkey spirit by some Buddhists.

Try not to be hard on yourself. There are days when you will do nothing but bring your mind back to your breath again and again. But over time, you’ll find that you need to do it less and less. Eventually (and this may take days or weeks) your mind will settle into a peaceful calm, allowing you to connect in ways you may never have done before, which is truly a beautiful thing.

Meditation is one of the simplest and most accessible healing tools available to us. Taking 10-20 minutes a day just to sit quietly has profound effects on our health and psyche. Many cultures have known this for centuries and the prayer practiced by many monastic Christians can sometimes be considered a form of meditation.

At a time when our world seems more uncertain and chaotic than ever, meditation can bring us back to our deepest heart.

How Meditation Can Help Us

Some of the earliest written records of meditation come from India, dating to around 1500 BC. Many of the original purposes of meditation were to deepen our connection to ourselves and as a path to spiritual enlightenment. Science is now discovering how many benefits meditation has for our health and well-being. It is becoming a well accepted adjunctive treatment for many physical, mental and spiritual ailments.

One of the best things about meditation is that you don’t need any equipment and you can do it anywhere and anytime. That alone makes it accessible to everyone on the planet, so there’s no reason we can’t all reap the benefits of meditation for body and mind.

Benefits of meditation

  • You can choose a meditation technique or practice that resonates with you.
  • You can do this in the privacy of your own home.
  • You don’t need any special gear or equipment.
  • The positive effects of meditation can be felt by doing it for as little as a few minutes a day.
  • You can use your creativity to design a beautiful space that inspires you and supports your meditation practice.
  • The beneficial effects will ripple through all aspects of your life and will be felt by those around you.
  • Over time, you will be able to handle stress and other difficult situations with more equanimity
  • Your Memory, concentrationand vibe will be improved.
  • You will have a better quality of sleep.
  • Science has shown that meditation reduces stress.
  • Meditation improves anxiety and depression.
  • Regular meditation increases neuroplasticity in the brain.
  • Meditation has been proven to promote mental health and well-being.
  • The power of this healing tool is entirely in your hands.

Emma Suttie is an acupuncturist and founder of Chinese Medicine Living, a website dedicated to sharing how to use traditional wisdom to live a healthy life in the modern world. She is a lover of the natural world, martial arts, and a good cup of tea.

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