I wrote recently about why meditation is a key component to the Ageless Diet™ Lifestyle. Meditation is one of the 4 parts of the Ageless Diet that balance and harmonize your mind, spirit, and body.
As I wrote in the earlier piece, “Meditation decreases the heart rate, calms the heart and the brain, slows the rate of breath, and it helps prevent cancer. Because cancer can be caused by inflammation, meditation can inhibit the expression of genes that activate inflammatory responses. It acts as an anti-inflammatory. This powerful anti-inflammatory increases creativity, helps you sleep better, brings you to a state of relaxation, and makes you more productive in your day. All of these things make you feel and look ageless. Given that a good deal of aches and pains are stress related, meditation mitigates these issues. Meditation gives you a brighter, fresher perspective on life, love, and work. Meditation makes you happier. Meditation won’t make you younger but it will help make you ageless.” It wouldn’t be overstating it to say that one of the most important things you could do in a day is meditate.
That’s all great but how to meditate? Here’s the short answer: sit back, relax, close your eyes, pay attention to your breath, the in and the out flow. As your mind wanders, go back to the breath. Do this for 20 minutes, everyday, 365 days a year, and reap the amazing benefits of meditation.
And now, here is a step by step breakdown on how to meditate:
1. Keeping your back straight, propped up on a pillow if you want, sit with your hands in your lap.
2. Relax your body, your shoulders, your neck, your face. Take a deep breath in and release it, and while you release this breath consciously relax your whole body.
3. Relax your gaze. You don’t want to stare intently at any object.
4. Take 5 conscious breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
5. On the last breath, close your eyes.
6. Find a comfortable seat. Do a quick scan on how your body feels, how your feet feel, your limbs, observe your posture. Observe how you feel. If you haven’t relaxed your shoulders, neck and head in step 2, do that now.
7. Turn your mind inward. Observe your thoughts. Let your mind go where it wants, get it out of your system so you can meditate with ease.
8. Draw your attention back to your body. Do another scan, observe your posture, notice which parts of your body have relaxed. Again, if you haven’t relaxed your body, take a deep breath and relax on the exhale.
9. Now you are ready to tune out and drop in…
10. Observe the rising and falling sensation of your breath. Focus on the quality of the breath. Anytime your mind starts to wander, go back to the breath and your body.
11. If you need to, count your breath. Count to ten and then start over. Once you’ve done this a few times, let go. Just breathe.
12. Continue meditating until your timer goes off – meditate for at least 20 minutes daily.
13. As you come out of your meditation, ask yourself calmly and with kindness, “what do I want to do now?” And sit for a moment as the answer bubbles up to the surface of your consciousness. Move from this place of calm.
My challenge to you, to me, to all of us, is to meditate everyday, for at least 20 minutes a day, for the next 6 weeks. Let’s keep track of how we feel in the beginning of our challenge and how we feel by the end of it. Hopefully, we will all recognize just how transformative meditation is to our well-being. And we will keep meditating for the rest of our lives.
About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.