Posts tagged meditation
Meditation for Instant Health

Get healthy, right now. No diet, no fitness plan, no nutritionist, no doctor.

I'm completely serious.

The things about health is that the biggest part of it, and the biggest obstacle preventing us from achieving it, is our thoughts.

The wonderful thing about thoughts, though, is that they are completely within our control.

Thought patterns and beliefs can be really hard to change and they love to dig in their heels and pull us back into old, comfortable ways of thinking. But YOU are not your thoughts. You do have the power to create new thought patterns that will invite wellness in. 

No matter your state of health in this moment, this meditation creates the space for your body to become perfectly healthy and whole. By repeating this mantra in the present tense as your truth, your body will respond by moving into that place and creating that truth for you.

If you are unable to watch the video for whatever reason, the meditation is written below.

MEDITATION FOR HEALTH

Find a comfortable seat or lie down if that is most comfortable.

Breathe in and bring your shoulders up towards your ears.

Breathe out and allow your shoulders to fall, feeling your shoulder blades drop down your back and your chest lift.

Breathe easily at whatever pace is comfortable for you without forcing anything.

Take 3 full breaths in and out. Just notice each breath. 

The feeling of the air entering your nostrils, traveling down your throat, filling your lungs. 

The feeling of your your belly tightening as you exhale, your ribs contracting, the air tickling your nostrils as you breathe out.

Inhale…

Exhale…

As you breathe in this next time, repeat silently or out loud:

My body is in its perfect natural state

As your breathe out:

I am healthy. I am whole.

My body is in its perfect natural state

I am healthy. I am whole.

My body is in its perfect natural state

I am healthy. I am whole.

Repeat this mantra as many times as feels right and as often as you need to.

Allow yourself to continuing noticing your breath and experiencing anything that surfaces.

You may feel relaxed. You may feel emotions surface that surprise you like frustration or anger. That's ok. Just notice without judgement and keep breathing while you repeat your mantra silently or out loud.

"The words you speak become the house you live in." - Hafez

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Meditation To Fall Asleep + 5 Tips to Sleep Better
Studies have shown that insufficient sleep can lead to serious medical conditions and if you're not getting enough shut-eye, over time it can lead to a shortened lifespan! But if you ARE getting enough, there are a lot of health benefits from simply getting a good night's rest. I don't know about you but I really need and value my sleep. Even since my TBI (traumatic brain injury), my brain just needs more rest. Even though it's been 7+ years since it happened, I still function best after about 10 hours of quality sleep, not the frequently recommended 7-8 hours. Sleep has a massive impact on our health, TBI or not! And this easy meditation can help you get the sleep your body craves.

If you follow me on Instagram, I know I posted about Pilates yesterday and maybe made it sound like today's blog would be about that. It's not, so sorry if there's some confusion, but this is an extremely beneficial tool to have if you struggle with sleep. You know how you can be lying in bed, desperately wanting to fall asleep after your turn out the light, or you wake suddenly in the night for no reason and then can't get back to sleep? Your thoughts start going a mile a minute, you stress over stuff that you hadn't thought about all day, your thoughts go in circles, you get a knot in your stomach, you're restless, you toss and turn...

ME TOO. It used to happen to me a LOT. I knew that sleep was vital to my brain healing and overall health, so I'd get stressed out when I couldn't fall asleep. Which made sleeping even harder.

Until I started doing this.

When I started, I didn't even realize it was meditation. It just helped me go back to sleep. That's what matters, right? And these 5 things could help you sleep better, too:

• Shut off all mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops) and the TV a half hour before you go to bed. Their use tends to rev up our brain for activity and the artificial light from these electronics has been shown to disrupt our natural sleep cycle. The blue light they emit in particular can interfere with the production of our sleep hormone, melatonin.

Dim the household lights before you head off to bed. Just like using electronic devices, our household lights are also sources of artificial light and they can mess with the production of melatonin as well.

• Never sleep with your phone next to your bed! Text messages and notifications during the night can disrupt sleep, and a 2008 study showed that the radiation emitted from the phone makes it more difficult to sleep and can cause headaches. 

• Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone. No TV, no mobile gadgets, no computers.  I even moved our digital alarm clock to the office and got my husband and I analog, battery-powered alarm clocks with a much gentler alarm.

• Move your body. Exercise has been shown to improve the duration and quality of sleep! If you suffer from insomnia, it may take longer for your body to adjust and for the exercise to mute the body's stress response, but it does help.

Sleep can be affected (and helped) by many different things, so you will find what affects you most if you become more mindful of your nighttime routines. Read more about the dangers and effects technology can have on sleep here.

What about you? Have you noticed how any of these things affect your sleep, and do you notice a difference in how you feel and function depending on the amount and quality of the sleep you get? Are you struggling with getting a good night's sleep? Let me know in the comments below!


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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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