Saturdays Are…

Saturdays are for meditation.

Here are a few facts on the history of meditation:   Meditation is believed to have been practiced in India and China over 5000 years ago.  Meditation is a part of many religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.  The etymology of meditation comes from the Latin word meditatum, which means “to ponder.”
https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/meditation/meditation-for-you/benefits-of-meditation

Here are a few health benefits of practicing meditation:  Meditation lowers blood pressure by increasing the compound nitric oxide that helps open blood vessels.  Meditation changes gray matter in our brains that can help with learning, memory and perspective.
https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm  Meditation helps us remain focused and improve attention spans.

Just pick up your phone:  There are meditation apps galore.  If you have no experience with meditation at all, but are curious about beginning a meditation practice, you could try one of these apps.  They are free for the first few lessons and will give you a feel for what kind of meditation may be most comfortable for you.  Mindfulness, body scan, walking and lovingkindness are types of meditation you will find on these apps.  Here are 3 well-known meditation apps:  Headspace, Calm and 10% Happier.

My personal experience:  Just like running and writing, you need to make a commitment to find the time to meditate.  Luckily, just 15-20 minutes a day will be all that is needed when beginning a meditation practice.  When I began meditation, I was always seated, always had my eyes closed, always in my house and always focused on my breath.  I love to be outside (even in the cold or gloom), which is part of the reason I like to run (I’m not much for a treadmill), so I tried taking my meditation outside.  There is a park in my neighborhood with a walking path that my husband tells me is 2/10th of a mile long.  The first loop I do a body scan.  How do my feet, legs, torso, shoulders, neck feel…you get the idea.  The second loop I listen to the birds.  Bird songs fill me with a sense of wonder at the diversity in nature even in my little neighborhood park.  The third loop I focus on my breath.  I practice walking meditation about twice a week.  The biggest surprise for me has been the benefit meditation has had on my running.  Unfortunately it has not made me any faster!  However, my concentration/focus and breathing have improved.  I have been able to find a rhythm between my legs and lungs that allows me to focus on my posture/core or enjoy the scenery.

The path in the park in my neighborhood.
Snowy morning at the park.

 

 

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