Meditation: As Within, So Without - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Meditation: As Within, So Without

Like anything else, meditation takes practice. The benefits of putting in a little time each day, to be in silence, are remarkable.

Entire TED Talks present the physiological and emotional rewards of meditation. Neuroscientists conduct studies on the effectiveness of meditation on brain connections, or neuroplasticity, and if you have ever meditated, even for five minutes yourself, you know how quickly the practice can reduce stress, one of the main health problems in our world today.

So how do you meditate? How can you engage in the practice that can increase your health?
Here is what I have found most helpful in my meditation journey:

Lay on your back; this is called "Savasana,” or the "Corpse Pose.” (Photo via YouTube video from the Yoga Journal)

Lay on your back; this is called “Savasana,” or the “Corpse Pose.”
(Photo via YouTube video from the Yoga Journal)

Get Horizontal

Lay on your back, either on the floor, on a yoga mat, or on your bed. Close your eyes and breathe. At first, put your attention on the in-flow and the out-flow of your breath.

Challenge: Try what yogis call Ujjayi, or ocean, breathing. While slowly pulling air in through your nose, feel the air go down the back of your throat and into your lungs. When you are ready to exhale, allow the breath to follow the same path out, up the back of the throat and out through the nose. The air feels cold as it flows in and out, but the breath is actually heating up your internal organs.
The benefits of Ujjayi breathing alone are amazing. Toxins are cleared out, tension is naturally reduced, sinus and headache pressure is alleviated, and when used during yoga, Ujjayi breathing allows for deeper concentration, strength, and balancing during yoga flow and posing.

Photo via Facebook Yoga images

Photo via Facebook Yoga images

Cleanse Your Body

Once you feel comfortable with the Ujjayi breathing and you have found a steady rhythm, you can begin focusing the breath to specific parts of your body.

I find that, at any given time, one or two parts of my body will stand out as areas requesting attention. When I am aware of the most in-need area, I use the Ujjayi breathing technique and envision all of the air I take in going directly to the designated body part.
A good place to start is with the hands. When you close your eyes and breath, do you feel a tingling in your hands? If so, great! If not, you will. Right now close your eyes and focus on your non-dominate hand. Do you feel any sensation? Give yourself some time, it takes a while when you’re first discovering the magic in you.
What you feel is the life force. Your light. Your connection to all that is and since your hands are connected to your heart, a large part of your heart chakra energy comes through your hands.

Put Into Practice

When meditating, pick up that tingling sensation and breath all the air directly into that one hand. It may help to pretend that your hand is the only area of your body that needs oxygen at that moment. Try picturing that area as a balloon that your inhale is filling up, and when you exhale, all the air in the balloon is emptied.

Photo via Facebook yoga images

Photo via Facebook yoga images

Remember: Everything you breath in is going right to that body part. When you breathe out, stay focused on that spot.

When you feel that area has been cleared, scan your body for the next place that calls out for some love. Repeat the practice there.
As you spend more time meditating, you will be able to remain still and scan your entire body. For now, work on a few body parts that most need your attention, or even just practice Ujjayi breathing for a week.

Meditation in Your Daily Life

On Day One, set a timer for five or ten minutes. When the time is up, jot down some notes, or write an entire journal entry about your experience. How did it feel? What was easy and what was difficult? Were you antsy at any point? Did you feel blockage that your breath could not break through?

On Day Two, read what you wrote on Day One, and then set another timer, this time for at least ten minutes. Continue Ujjayi breathing and then focus your attention on a single body part at a time. When the time is up, write in that journal again.

Try to keep this practice going for seven consecutive days, adding five minutes each day. If you can give it a fair shot, you will start to feel calm, in the moment, and comfortable with what meditation is all about. The experience you have inside will change what you see on the outside.

"The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive." — Thich Nhat Hanh (Photo by Tim Forkes)

“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
(Photo by Tim Forkes)

The Next Step

When your meditation practice is underway, you can use the time to set intentions, envision your life, and manifest all that you want. This is the true beauty and magnificence of meditation. There is nothing more spectacular and peaceful than connecting with the true you.

In a chaotic and stressed-out world, can you take some time for yourself? Can 2014 be the year you make your dreams a reality?
As Wayne Dyer says, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

About the author

K. Corrine Van Vliet

K. Corrine Van Vliet spends her time writing dramas and comedies for TV, writing informative articles helping addicts and their families seek appropriate treatment, and on encouraging the use of one's own brain. In her past lives, Corrine worked for an insurance broker (Bachelor's Degree in Business), counseled addicts as a substance abuse counselor (Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work and Addiction Counseling), and resided in the Midwest. Now she lives by the beach in California, explores her daily curiosities, and shares her findings in written form to inspire, educate, and encourage the personal growth of others. Corrine believes that a continued willingness to learn can make us all better people, and a better community at large. "Be the change that you wish to see in the world," spoken by Gandhi, perpetuated by K. Corrine Van Vliet. Oh, and the K. is for Kate, but Corrine is her core. Contact the author.

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