There are many reasons to be thankful, but have you ever thought about the benefits of quiet time? These are the same quiet moments those who practice meditation seek out and commit to regularly, to find and live a happy and healthy life.
Have you ever wondered why meditation would be good for you?
I had the opportunity to sit down with Pez Owen, owner of Stillpoint Meditation as part of my research and practice, to talk about various aspects of meditation, including its benefits, how to begin a meditation practice and where to find a meditation practice in your community. As part of this blog I have included the three-part interview with Pez. My hope is that you will take the time to learn a little bit about meditation and how it can help you live your best life.
A Mile for Every Year is dedicated to sharing with readers and followers, information, techniques and tools to live their healthiest life.
Meditation for a Healthy Lifestyle
Meditation is a spiritual practice that without personal judgement, will allow you to connect with your inner voice and mindfully assist you take control of your thoughts, feelings, and even fears.
It was interesting to hear Pez speak of the different types of meditation techniques and how each focuses on different instruction sets, such as breathing and being mindful of your in breath and your out breath, or relaxing and watching your thoughts go by like clouds in the sky. What I found useful from my conversations with Pez is that while there might be infinite meditation techniques for people to choose from, regardless of the technique one chooses, all will lead you to the same place - to find your inner self as you connect to peaceful thoughts. In my first interview segment with Pez she explains the meditation system (mindfulness) she chose to practice and why - take a few minutes and watch the interview to learn more.
Incorporating A Meditation Practice into Your Life
The second segment of my interview with Pez focused on the differences between meditation and mindfulness, the benefits, and how meditation can help us better manage stress and live a healthier lifestyle.
The term mindfulness is widely used in our lives as it relates to our health, so I appreciate how Pez described mindfulness as an adjective and a way of "paying attention". It's important to understand that while there are different types of mediation systems, at the root of these systems is mindful attention (which is a way of paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, actions, etc.), and includes three elements, also described as skills. The first element of mindful attention is concentration and the ability to focus on, broad or specific, what we most want or need to focus on. The second skill we discussed was sensory clarity, which is clearly knowing what you are focusing on, for example, looking at a painting and not gazing off in the distance but instead concentrating on the beauty of the painting. The third element of mindful attention is equanimity, which is the ability to let whatever is happening inside us happen, without fighting it or trying to intervene. Allowing yourself to feel anxiety or fear without trying to control it, will allow you to focus your energy on calmness and finding a solution, as an alternative to creating more stress in your body.
What I found interesting about the elements (concentration, sensory clarity, and equanimity) of mindful attention is how those skills can assist us to become more mindful throughout different areas of lives, such as our breathing, actions, eating habits.
Through mindfulness we naturally become more aware of what is happening internally, helping us reduce stress and anxiety. Being mindful also has many health benefits including, controlling anxiety and stimulating our ability to manage pain.
The natural progression in learning about mindful meditation is how to incorporate a (meditation) practice into our lives to support a healthier lifestyle. This was an area I was most interested in sharing with readers, because I wanted to break down the barriers or stigma surrounding meditation, to encourage more people to begin a practice of their own. Pez did a great job of explaining that a meditation practice can be performed in a (traditional) setting where one will sit in silence for a desired period or meditation can happen in real time while we may be going through varied stressful situations. It was comforting to learn that all these years I have ventured into the forest for a walk to de-stress or think through different situations happening in my life, I was performing a type of mindful meditation of my own. This is important because it allows us the freedom to find and enjoy a mediation practice that best fits our distinctive personality or lifestyle. You can begin a meditation practice in a quiet room sitting by a window, walking in the woods, riding your bike, paddling in your canoe, or however you desire. A meditation practice can begin as a short 5-10-minute session and grow as you feel more comfortable.
I encourage you to view my interview with Pez to learn more about mindful meditation and creating a practice of your own.
A Community of Meditation
During the final segment of our interview Pez and I discussed resources for assisting readers and followers find meditation instruction in their own communities. While each community is different, we suggest looking for meditation classes through community centers or individual instructors who offer sessions in churches or other places within the community. There are also books and online resources you can use to find and learn more about mediation. If you are like me, you might appreciate taking your meditation practice into the woods while you are hiking or running. However you choose to practice meditation create an experience that gets you excited and works with your lifestyle.
Learn more about the benefits of mindful meditation with Pez Owen at www.stillpointmeditation.weebly.com or contact Pez at [email protected] Pez can assist you understand how to create your own meditation practice with her guidance or through your community, to enhance the healthy lifestyle you are seeking.
Candice Porten is the author of the Mile for Every Year book series, a health consultant, and speaker who has dedicated over 25 years to lifestyle wellness. Her love of life, good health, and the outdoors, combined with a passion to help others find their motivation to live a long healthy life are what genuinely connects Candice with her readers. Her series A Mile for Every Year has empowered readers to begin making positive changes to increase the value of their health. Candice holds a Master of Public Health and has been a certified fitness instructor for almost 20 years. Visit www.amileforeveryyear.com for more on A Mile for Every Year books and motivational greeting cards and follow Candice at @amile4everyyear.com, www.facebook.com/amile4everyyear.