A Beginner's Intro to Meditation
Meditation can reduce stress and cause all kinds of awesome things to happen in our bodies. AND it's really EASY. Did you know it can increase the grey matter in our brains and change our DNA?! Pretty amazing stuff and it doesn't end there. But honestly, meditation felt super intimidating to me for years. I didn't get it, I avoided it and when I saw my mum doing it, I thought she was weird (sorry mum)*. Over the years I heard that more people were doing it and its "cool-factor" was going up, but it still felt strange and "woo-woo" to me. It was only when I read The Last Best Cure that it finally clicked.
* Note: Me thinking my mum was weird doesn't mean she is. My teenage brain just thought anything out of the ordinary, especially if it came from my parents!!! was weird. My mum's the one who got me to read the Last Best Cure!
It is not a book about meditation. It is a book about the author's healing journey, what worked for her and the medical research being done into how some of these "woo-woo" things actually create measurable, beneficial changes in our bodies and can help us heal and live healthier lives. Pretty rad, right?
I have a mind that always wants to know WHY? If I hear that such-and-such a thing 'is SO amazing, and you HAVE to try it!', I am often curious and interested, but skeptical. Making that kind of claim without anything to back it up always raises big red flags for me, or at least makes me want to get to the source and find out as much as I can about it. The journalist in me loves her primary sources of information, and since my accident, I'm really not into snake oil cures that waste my time, money and precious energy.
Reading The Last Best Cure filled in all the blanks for me and finally gave me the how and why that I craved about some healing practices. The author, Donna Jackson Nakazawa, is a science journalist and in her book, she delves into medical studies that have been done on meditation's effects, explaining exactly why and how it works. And then she describes, in an easy, accessible way, how she practices meditation in her own life. It was an epiphany as I ravenously read sentence after sentence thinking, "Oooooh.... oooooh! I get it now!"
The biggest revelation for me was how meditation can change our DNA. See, stress can change it too, in a bad way, but meditating can reverse those negative effects! We have these nifty little pieces of DNA on the ends of our chromosomes called telomeres. And basically, they protect the chromosome, but shorten as we age. Telomere shortening limits cells to a fixed number of divisions and is linked to aging and a higher risk of death! But telomere length seems to be malleable and by meditating, we may be able to lengthen those telomeres. Fascinating and hopeful stuff!
I wish I'd known how easy it is, and how it could benefit my health! It's also a simple thing I can do for myself that's free! You don't need a guru to teach you and there's no fancy equipment required. It was a huge missing piece in my recovery process, so I definitely want to share it with you! Check out my video below for my easy, introductory meditation how-to. I didn't say it in the video but you can totally meditate lying down if that's the most comfortable position for you. My way of doing it is just what works for me, so remember to make it your own and don't feel like you have to do it a specific way.
Here's is my non-woo-woo, calming, relaxing, easy meditation how-to, featuring Winnie the dog ;) Watch it through once to get a feel for it and then give it a go, or do whatever feels right to you! Happy meditating:
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