Fire Island Health EditorialMeditation at the Bay
By ANASTASIA DOROHOVA
Breathe deeply and tune in to the rhythm of your body. Feel the air, filling
your lungs. Note its release as you slowly exhale. Experience your body
right now, this very instant, from head to toe. Feel your body is calm and
awake. Breathe out into the world around you with union and peace. Note the
environment around you. Smell the air. Hear the sounds. Savor the moment.
A new study in the American Journal of Hypertension says patients who
practice Transcendental Meditation can keep their blood pressure in check
without medicine. The study tracked 150 people that participated in a
variety of non-medical treatments. After a year, the patients who kept up a
regular meditation regimen had blood pressures significantly lower than the
others. The drop led the researchers to conclude that meditation alone may
be a sufficient treatment for hypertension.
Meditation has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by
helping the blood vessels’ ability to relax, according to the study,
conducted by Dr Vernon A. Barnes, physiologist at the Medical College of
Georgia's Georgia Prevention Institute. Meditation has also been linked to
the reduction in stress levels, to helping insomnia, neurosis, to improving
concentration and to an overall sense of well-being.
"Stress is a worldwide epidemic and we all are affected by stress," said Dr.
Richard Brown, MD, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry from
There is no better place to get rid of the stress than the bay on Fire
Island with its glorious sunsets. If you’d like to try to meditate, pick a
quiet spot, without people talking and children playing. It’s better to
meditate around the same time daily, either in the morning or in the
evening, but you can try any time during the day. Gazing at the sunset prior
to mediating is not a bad idea, as it will probably bring you to that
peaceful state within quicker. Sit in a comfortable position that you can
hold for an extended period of time. Alternatively, you can lay down.
Relax and stay focused. Let go of your worries and try not to think about
anything that happened prior to this beautiful moment, or anything that
might transpire afterwards. Be present in the beautiful blissful now.
Closing the eyes and shifting your mental gaze towards the point in between
your eyebrows or towards the spiritual heart area in the middle of your
chest will probably help you in getting centered. Breathe and enjoy.
Meditation is a form of contemplation that's thousands of years old and is
rooted in the traditions of the world's great religions. In fact,
practically all religious groups practice meditation in one form or another,
even though Buddhism emphasizes meditation the most.
Meditation can help us experience our own inner wisdom and peace," says Dr.
Dean Ornish. Along with eating the right food and getting enough exercise,
he recommends meditation as a powerful way to stay healthy. "Meditation is
part of all cultures and religions," Ornish adds. "It's powerful because
when you focus your awareness, you gain power. Your mind quiets down, and
you experience inner sense of well-being."
It helps to have a kitchen alarm clock for meditation, because it allows you
to sit for a set period of time, without having to worry. If you have
nowhere to rush, just trust your inner clock. Fifteen- thirty minutes is
great, but if you only have a few minutes to sit still, it’s already
Feel your breathing. Sense the breath coming in and out of you. Whenever a
thought enters your mind, acknowledge it, but don’t go with it. “I have a
thought. Nice” is better than, “I am thinking about dinner. Should I make
chicken or fish? Do I have the vegetables for the salad?” Simply noting that
mind is in the constant state of thinking is a big step towards achieving
control of the mind, which is the ultimate goal of meditation.
If you have trouble concentrating, try to repeat a mantra, such as ah, om,
shalom, peace, love etc… Acknowledge how the mantra makes you feel inside
and go with that feeling. Whenever the mind begins to fluctuate, repeat your
chosen mantra over and over.
Finally, open your eyes and slowly awaken your senses. Move your body, shake
your arms and legs. See if you feel more relaxed and focused. Look at the
beautiful Fire Island bay and smile. There is still enough days of the
summer left to develop a new healthy habit.
Anastasia is a writer, a nutritional consultant and a yoga instructor. She
teaches private yoga classes on the island. You can buy her yoga and
mediation videos at www.steadybliss.com.
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