by Ron Shull, Instructor

Meditation is a simple, holistic technique that can be done anywhere at any time without any equipment or accessories. In addition, it is free and has no negative side effects.

As you may recall, meditation is a way of taking our brain to the “mind gym” for a beneficial workout. Just as we strengthen our muscles and cardiovascular system via routines of effort and rest, a similar pattern with meditation allows us to enhance and improve the function of our brain and mind, which positively affects our thoughts and emotions.

Remember…honoring your meditation practice with a disciplined, devoted routine will promote physical changes and anatomical balancing to your Limbic system. Meditation helps keep your brain calibrated and operating optimally. When the components of your brain that produce your thoughts and emotions are physically changed and not operating properly, their output is negatively altered. We want our brain to be strong and healthy not fragmented and weak.

Besides calming and strengthening the limbic system, meditation helps deactivate the sympathetic nervous system and activates our parasympathetic nervous system. This takes us out of that intense “fight-or-flight” mode and allows us to experience the calmer “rest-and-digest” mode.

Meditation also releases many beneficial calming hormones and endorphins like Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin. Likewise, meditation lowers the release of stress causing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. The human body and mind are complex, intricate, biologic machines, and we were designed to be resilient. We are quite capable of physical and emotional self-repair.

Science doesn’t lie. We live in a time where our technology allows us to prove that some of the best things we can do for our own health actually come from within. Having a daily, devoted meditation routine that you honor and fulfill is simple but not always easy. Be gentle to yourself when you feel frustrated with your ability to stay focused and undistracted. Remember that you are doing mental push-ups and actually strengthening your mind and brain!